The TV Series Empire has made a huge splash, and actress Taraji P. Henson is one of the main stars on the show who can relate to the character as her college name was Cookie just like in the show. She has earned a lot of success in her recent years, but she certainly worked hard for it, made huge sacrifices and came from humble beginnings. Here are her 7 VERY inspiring facts!
1.) Taraji P. Henson’s parents divorced while she was just 2 and although she lived with her mother, her father was always present and there for her. He was unemployed after losing his job as a metal fabricator and according to Washington Post, he lived out of his van. The unselfish motives of her dad taught her a lot, as she claims “if he had 50 cents, he would give me a quarter.”
“I was never ashamed; he was never ashamed, he was always there. He would come pick me up in the same van he was living in and we’d go for a ride.”
2.) She won the Best Supporting Actress alongside Brad Pitt in her role on The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
3.) Prior to her on screen success, she was studying electrical engineering and then failed her pre-calculus class. This moment served as a twist in her life’s plot, for the best. She decided to get out of something she was not so passionate about and decided to pursue what she claims was always in her heart – performing. Taraji P. Henson made a daunting bold decision and enrolled at Howard University where she would eventually graduate in Theatre Arts.
4.) Taraji P. Henson made big sacrifices. While she was pregnant, she was pursuing her degree, and working 2 jobs to make ends meet. She would work in the mornings at the Pentagon as a secretary, and then as a waitress in the evening. Apparently she was even on welfare at one point.
“I don’t harp on the negative because if you do, then there’s no progression. There’s no forward movement. You got to always look on the bright side of things, and we are in control. Like, you have control over the choices you make.”
5.) Taraji had asked her drama teacher in school to have a role in The Dreamgirls. Unfortunately, she was not given any real parts, however she took what she could get and was the one who had to carry a rack of clothes on stage from one end to the other. She gained some theatrical experience, with her positive mindframe.
6.) She is a big advocate of Animal Rights. She has stated “I don’t think a living being should suffer for the sake of fashion, period. End of story… You don’t have to kill an animal just because you want to be hot and fly. And I really stand by that,”.
7.) Taraji’s son’s father, her ex, was brutally murdered, according to theurbandaily.com and a few other sites. He was also her high school sweetheart. “When [my son’s] father passed away, I had only $900 to my name. And getting nominated, I blew it all on a pair of Louboutin shoes. I figured I deserved it.”
“I’m always interested in challenging myself and pushing and seeing how far I can go.”
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