5 Things We Learned About Taraji P. Henson from Her ESSENCE Cover Story
Dennis Leupold

In our November cover story, Taraji P. Henson talks about her newfound fame and why her current success is right on time. Here are five things we learned about the Empire actress.

1. She hates bad acting
“I hate to see actors who dry cry or actors who don’t use props,” says Taraji. “I was always good and had personality and could make people laugh but my coaches would force me to go deeper. “What did that person say to you? Where is your moment before? Where are you coming from when you come to the door?”

2. She resorted to 21-day raw cleanse to rejuvenate after working so hard on Empire, but she might eat chicken, if tempted
“If one day I get the urge to go to Popeyes and get me a two-piece with a biscuit, I’m going to do it.”

3. She is clear about not wanting more children
“At 45, What I’ma do? That baby would come out looking like Benjamin Button! [The doctor] said I had a lot of eggs left. He was all happy like he was giving me good news. He was like, ‘Do you want to have any more? You have plenty of eggs.’ I said, ‘Do you want them because I’m done. Done.’ I’m not starting over with a grown son. I couldn’t imagine doing it at this age. My career wouldn’t allow for it.”

4. She’s not a fan of overnight stardom
“These kids are thinking they can do reality TV and come and do this craft that I studied, sweated and grinded. People forget it’s a craft because it’s so pop now. [The whole] “it’s so fun to play so and so in a movie because they have so many followers on Twitter…” F that. Can they make me believe the words coming out their mouth?”

5. She’s not one to believe the hype
“I didn’t compare myself to people. People said, ‘This is gonna change everything for you,'” she said, referencing her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. “I’m glad I didn’t believe that hype. I never got caught up in that stuff. I just stayed the course and worked hard and every role I did, I put my everything into it. Everything that I did got me here, and I wouldn’t change it or trade it for the world.”

Pick up the latest issue of ESSENCE to learn more about our cover star!