Taraji P. Henson is not Cookie Lyon, but sometimes her Empire character gets her tables in restaurants. Henson revealed to Seth Meyers this week that she doesn’t mind the fame that comes with the show’s extraordinary success. But she has discovered she can’t shake the character that has made such an impact on audiences.
“I hate that b—-. She’s stolen my identity — nobody calls me by my name anymore.”
Taraji was born Taraji Penda Henson. Her first and middle names mean “hope” and “love,” respectively, in Swahili. Her early life in Washington, D.C. had its disadvantages, and Henson became a single mother while in college. She eventually earned her degree and worked her way up the Hollywood ranks, getting an Oscar nomination in 2008.
It’s a compelling story that Henson will explore in an upcoming personal memoir, due out in 2016. The New York Times reported that her book will be published by 37 INK. Publisher Dawn Davis praised Henson in a press release.
“I know Taraji Henson will bring the same magnetism and dynamism to the page that she brings to the screen. Beyond the glamour, beyond the larger-than-life persona, Taraji Henson exudes an every-woman quality that her audience, which grew with each episode of ‘Empire,’ can relate to.”
Before Henson gets to work on composing her life story, she’ll be stopping by Studio 8H to host Saturday Night Live. The sketch show posted a video of Taraji ostensibly answering a fan question about whether Cookie Lyon will make an appearance during the program. Her response harks back to her conversation with Meyers.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) April 11, 2015
In the official promos for the episode, Henson appears alongside Taran Killam and gives him some tips of how to get what he wants, with a little help from Cookie.
As for the upcoming season of Empire, Taraji revealed what part of her character’s history she wants the show to explore.
“I think for the next season I want to see what went on the 17 years she was locked up. That’s what I really want to dive into cause 17 years is a long time. We kind of get the family, we have done lots of flashbacks with the family life how they got to where they are, but I think people really want to know what happened those 17 years she was locked up.”
SNL airs 11:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC. Mumford & Sons is the musical guest.
[Taraji P. Henson image courtesy of Getty]