By Jennifer Ochieng8 October 2019
It’s Taraji P Henson’s moment – and she’s grabbing it
A multi-award-winning actress. A style icon. A queen. The epitome of #blackexcellence in Hollywood, Taraji P Henson has captured the hearts of many, whether she’s playing your favourite character on screen or strutting the red carpet in designs that have wowed the fashion world and put her on best-dressed lists.
In a span of only three years, Taraji has become one of the most powerful actresses in Hollywood: she’s amassed an army of loyal #cookiemonsters with her award-winning role in the drama series Empire; portrayed a NASA legend in the Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures, and even transformed into a mind-reader in the 2019 rom-com What Men Want. Not forgetting that she also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the beginning of the year.
Whether she’s creating a character in a long-running series or capturing our hearts in a movie, she’s equally awesome. Let some of that Taraji magic rub off on you with these titles.
In 2015, the whole world stood still when Taraji P Henson walked into our lives as Cookie Lyon, a woman released from prison trying to reclaim her place in Lee Daniel’s hip-hop drama Empire about a family fighting for control of a multi-million dollar company.
It was a career-defining role for the actress who had previously received an Academy Award nomination, and one that earned Taraji’s Cookie Lyon a cult following from fans all around the world. Because who wouldn’t love a character who’s blunt, unapologetic and the all-round badass queen of clapbacks and shade, dishing quotes like “The streets ain’t made for everybody. That’s why they made sidewalks.” All while being sassy and showing us how to perfectly layer fur on print.
So good was her performance that in 2015 Taraji became the first black woman to win a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Taraji also won a Golden Globe for the role and nominated for an Emmy twice – in 2015 and 2016.
Binge all of Cookie’s antics in Empire S1-5 now »
Taraji P Henson and Tyler Perry have had a great working relationship over the years since he first cast her in his movie The Family That Preys in 2008. At the height of the gender pay gap debate in Hollywood, the actress revealed in an interview that Perry was the first producer to pay her half a million dollars.
In 2018, the duo reunited yet again in the psychological thriller Acrimony. Taraji plays Melinda Gayle, a wife who emerges from a bad marriage with a cheating husband as the embodiment of the old saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.