Scan this QR Code to follow PureWow on Snapchat!

In case you missed it, we've fallen hard for Empire, Fox's smash hit hip-hop soap opera. The music's great, the drama's great, but our favorite part is without a doubt Cookie Lyon, the tough-as-nails matriarch portrayed by the insanely talented Taraji P. Henson. Here's what you need to know about our current girl crush, as fabulously told by her alter ego.

cookie know things gif

She’s smart

Before deciding to pursue acting, Henson planned on majoring in electrical engineering.  

cookie get whats mine gif1

She’s driven

She put herself through college by working two jobs--as a secretary at the Pentagon in the morning and a waitress on a cruise ship at night.

cookie move gif

She’s persistent

Even though she was working as a substitute teacher in L.A., she kept up with acting classes, where she was discovered by director John Singleton, who gave her her big break in 2001's Baby Boy.

cookie coat gif

She’s bold

Initially hesitant to accept the role of Cookie for fear of tackling controversial topics, Henson relented, saying, "The fear is here for a reason. And if I'm feeling like this, other people are feeling like this, and if we don't talk about it, then we're gonna be a world full of scared people."

cookie got you gif

She’s accepting

Unfailingly supportive of her character's gay son on the show, Henson has fronted a NOH8 campaign for LGBT rights offscreen. 

cookie whats mine gif

She’s deserving

She was nominated for, but didn't win, an Oscar for her role in Benjamin Button. We're counting down the days until she gets her due. 

cookie hallelujah gif

So cheers to you, Taraji. May you keep making us laugh, cry and envy your ability to pull off fur and leopard like no other. 

From Around The Web