Taraji P. Henson Chats BTS Details & Her Bond with the Cast of ‘The Color Purple’

taraji p henson shug
Warner Bros.

We've always known that Taraji P. Henson is one of the hardest-working people in Hollywood. But when we bore witness to her singing and dancing chops in The Color Purple, we were blown away by her raw talent and her layered depiction of Shug Avery.

PureWow recently chatted with the 53-year-old star, who's now partnering with Always Discreet as an ambassador for their “I Wish I Knew” campaign. While discussing The Color Purple, Henson opened up about her experience behind the scenes, her relationship with the cast and how she identifies with her character.

When asked about her experience working with Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks, the actress praised her cast mates and described how quickly everyone bonded on the set.

"It was amazing," Henson told us. "They are so incredibly talented, and we live in between takes. You've probably seen some of the videos that have gone viral with everybody singing and dancing, you know, that set was very lively. Actually, Blitz [Bazawule] needs to do a documentary behind the scenes. That's another whole movie."

She continued, "I just love those people so much. They will always be family to me." (FYI, you can check out some of that BTS footage here.)

the color purple cast
Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

As it turns out, the cast still keeps in touch to this day. Henson said, "We have created such a bond. We have a thread, we check in on each other every day, we send funny memes and funny videos, we're always laughing, even though we're not in each other's presence. I mean, Cory [Hawkins] is in a different country right now, but we check in on each other when we're not around each other."

Although Henson totally nailed her performance in the Golden Globe-nominated film, she revealed that this role was out of her comfort zone. She said, "That's how I pick my roles, if they don't scare me, then I don't do them because fear is something you have to overcome. If I'm transformed and overcoming my fear, then hopefully, the audience will transform in some ways. I love a good challenge, and [Shug] challenged the hell out of me."

taraji p henson shug 1
Warner Bros.

When asked about her similarities to Shug, Henson said that she related to her emotional struggles. She told us, "I felt connected to her as a woman, for sure. I felt connected to her as a woman who has pain. I connected to her blues. You know, that emptiness that she was chasing, looking for love. I connected with her on a lot of things."

As for how they differ, Henson insists that she's not as graceful in real life. She added, "A lot of things were new to me. I'm a klutz. I'm not as elegant as she is, I'd be tripping and falling over myself. I got all kinds of nicks and bumps and things from falling."

taraji red carpet
Getty Images

With regards to her Always Discreet partnership, Henson chatted about the importance of mental wellness and advocating for open discussions about perimenopause.

She said, "I love this campaign because it's really what my brand is all about: mental wellness, self-care, educating yourself about things and de-stigmatizing things that make us self-isolate or prevent us from getting the help that we need."

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...