Taraji P. Henson Covers W Magazine

Taraji P. Henson Covers W Magazine

The Empire actress explains why fans love Cookie Lyon.

Published June 24, 2015

Taraji P. Henson recently landed a solo cover for Allure magazine, and now her face is gracing a second publication this month. Labeled as “one tough Cookie,” based off her breakout role in television’s hit drama Empire, the actress serves us her sexiest fashion shoot yet in W magazine’s new issue dedicated to pop culture.


Inside, Henson admits that she almost passed up on the role that would immediately propel her among Hollywood’s elite.

“I was like, 'This is stupid. Hip hop — dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.' But then I started to think, Cookie is going to piss so many people off! She hits her son with a broom; she talks back. Clearly, this was a challenge,” she said.

While her character might be tough as nails, fans cannot get enough of her antics.

“They want Cookie. They see her heart. They see her intentions. And they love her style — her style is 17 years behind the fashion curve, which makes the clothes a character on the show,” Henson said. “As Cookie grows, you’ll see her fashion grow. And people love that — she’s a work in progress. The only thing that never changes is her spirit: To me, Cookie is living, breathing, walking truth.”

But in true Cookie style, Henson also had some words for those who criticize Cookie as well as Henson herself for portraying such a poor representation of Black women.

“When I hear that Cookie is a bad representation of Black women, I don’t get involved. Maybe Cookie makes you uncomfortable because she reminds you of yourself. People miss the bigger picture when they start judging,” she said.

And just like her Empire character, Henson is all about putting family first and making sacrifices to be able to care for her child.

“It was a struggle, but my son grew as my career grew,” Henson said about being a working single mother. “I never had a nanny — I did TV so I could be home with him. I wasn’t making my millions, but I was able to fulfill my dreams and be a mother.”

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(Photo: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott / W Magazine)

Written by Dorkys Ramos


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