Taraji P. Henson Explains What She Loves About Cookie

We can’t imagine anyone other than Taraji P. Henson playing Cookie on Empire.

Taraji talked to Bella magazine about how she knew playing Cookie was her breakout role. “I kept thinking with each part or film this would be it, but it wasn’t. Every time I thought I was the ‘It Girl’, it didn’t happen,” she says.

“I knew it was going to be a hit if it was handled properly. Fox Network marketed the show right and from there I knew it was going to be a runaway train,” she said. “Cookie took Taraji overseas to do press. Other big movies like Karate Kid and Benjamin Button didn’t do that for me. It’s crazy what Cookie has done for me; I feel like all of my work has not been in vain.”

Taraji loves how the show gets people talking. “We ruffle feathers,” she says. “We make people uncomfortable and we’re going to piss a lot of people off but we show the truth.”

Taraji P. Henson Bella Magazine
CREDIT: John Russo/Bella magazine

As for the rumored feud between herself and Terrence Howard, Taraji says it couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Where did that rumor come from that Terrance and I are feuding? I fought to have him on the show. We’ve known each other for 10 years and worked together before. Why would I fight with someone I fought for?”

In fact, Taraji says the cast couldn’t be closer. “Off-screen we literally are a family,” she said. “The cast was important. I fought for Terrance and we were an integral part in hiring the family. We both loved Jussie [Smollett] right away and knew he was Jamal. We bonded; it was just natural with that kid.”

What does Taraji love most about playing Cookie? “The boldness she posses and her ability to bounce back. Seventeen years in jail and it didn’t break her spirit, she was just on pause.”