Taraji Dishes On Her Style Evolution: I Was Coming From The Ghetto Fabulous Era

August 13, 2015  |  

Taraji P. Henson has become a household name since “Empire” made its FOX debut, and of course, the surge in popularity has earned the actress quite a few fair-weather friends. In the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Henson opens up about how her father prepared her to deal with insincere hangers-on, her style evolution and where she finds inspiration.

On life before “Empire”:

“It was quiet, it was a quiet success. I could still live. Now it’s like … ”

On drawing inspiration from Bette Davis:

“I always studied Bette Davis. When I did my first film, Baby Boy, [director] John Singleton’s mother called me ‘Bette Davis Eyes.’ So I bought Bette’s entire collection. She can say so much with her eyes. It all bubbles under the surface.”

“The best actors I’ve worked with in life said, ‘If you’re going to steal, steal from the best.'”

On Terrence Howard calling her an icon two weeks after the “Empire” premiere:

“I was like, ‘Huh?’ “Then I got on Twitter and was like, ‘You’re right.’ I’ve seen babies dressed up like Cookie, men dressed up like Cookie, dogs dressed up like Cookie.”

“But you have to be into drag. If you’re not, it may not come off right.”

On her style evolution:

“It took me a minute to get on the chic bus. I was coming from the era of Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige, you know, ghetto fabulous. I came from nothing, was deprived all my life, so when you get money, you go big!”

On getting fashion advice from her publicist:

“You should do black. You should see my closet now—black, black, black.”

On keeping all of her clothing:

“One day I’ll be famous enough or important enough where people will want my shit like Elizabeth Taylor’s.”

On fair-weather friends showing up:

“Oh, they are coming out of the woodwork.… My son is very in tune with that. My dad said to him, ‘People are going to try to be your friend because of what your mother does.’ That stuck.”

On her ideal man:

“He is funny, has personality, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He needs to be confident in who he is, confident to let me be who I am. And let me shine, you know? My light is only going to enhance his light.”

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