Taraji P. Henson: I was very delicate with Cookie
Taraji P. Henson thinks her Empire alter ego is a “powerhouse” that had to be handled delicately.
The 44-year-old actress has been nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as Cookie Lyon in the hit Fox musical drama. The character’s ferocious attitude has been a big hit with fans, but Taraji admits she had to handle the role with care to get it right.
“She's such a powerhouse so I was very delicate with her," she told People magazine. "She can be really bigger than life so I took very good care into making her someone that people could identify with – a real person not just a caricature who could be sassy and roll her neck."
Taraji stars alongside Terrence Howard in the series, which features cameos from some of the music industry’s biggest names.
It was even more important for Taraji to nail the part, as she knows firsthand what it’s like to not identify with anyone on the TV.
“Growing up, it was rare for me to see a woman that looked like me that inspired me," she added. "So it was very important for me to portray Cookie. I didn't want to [screw] it up."
Taraji loves the fact her character is so outspoken, and never tires of delivering Cookie’s lines.
“I'm having the time of my life,” she gushed at the Television Critics Association recent press tour, according to USA Today. "Probably 80 per cent is Cookie, and 20 per cent is Taraji…I'm not as bold as she is. She can fly off the handle and say whatever she wants. I, however, can not. I'm just always blown away by the stories they come up with. It's always challenging me as an artist, to tell the truth and not be afraid."
- Cover Media