Empire's Taraji P. Henson Says She Didn't Think Cookie Would Be The Role That Made Her World Famous

Empire Cookie Lyon Taraji P. Henson FOX
(Image credit: Chuck Hodes / FOX)

Taraji P. Henson did not think her role as Empire’s Cookie would be the one to make her world famous. Along with her television roles, Henson has had a super successful career in film and received an Oscar nomination in 2009 for her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson continues to lead major movies.

Despite all of her movie success, it is her role in Empire that Taraji P. Henson credits for giving her recognition all over the world. Henson shared the insight as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Asked by Colbert what she got to do on Empire that she never thought she would able too, Henson responded:

Travel the world. I never thought a television show would take me global. I thought a movie would do it. Who knew that Cookie, with her loud mouth and her craziness, would go overseas. I never saw that.

Empire has been a well-documented hit in the United States, and the show’s success does not end there. The Fox hit’s popularity has reached across the world with Taraji P. Henson acknowledging that Cookie’s popularity has gone international. But, the film and TV star revealed that television was not where she was expecting to find that level of global recognition.

Empire premiered in 2015 and quickly became a mega-hit for Fox. Taraji P. Henson has been Emmy nominated twice for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Cookie Lyon, which is a sign of the series’ success with fans and critics alike. Speaking of fans, Henson was asked where has been the most surprising location she has heard “Hello, Cookie,” to which Henson told Stephen Colbert:

I’ve never been to Russia, but I saw in their paper Cookie with her fur hat on and Lucious. I was like, ‘Wait, they know Cookie in Russia.’ And they wanted to send me to Berlin, but I got busy and I couldn’t go. But it was just like, the place where Cookie was a hit, it blew my mind.

Cookie Lyon’s popularity will undoubtedly continue. Sadly, Empire fans only have one new season of the beloved character's journey left to watch. The show is set to end with its sixth season. As of today (September 20), the drama will return to begin its final installment in less than a week on Fox.

Empire’s final season will feature a Lethal Weapon star. Not set to star is Jussie Smollett, who played Cookie’s son, Jamal Lyon. According to series creator, Lee Daniels, Smollett will not be returning for Season 6. Daniels subsequently explained how the series would explain Jamal’s absence next season.

As for what the final season has in store for Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie, there have been some hints. Among the teases is that Cookie will have exited Empire and started a career as a TV personality. Empire executive producer, Brett Mahoney, has teased where Season 6 finds Cookie and how her life is going as she tries to move on from Lucious.

There were some major twists in last season’s finale. It turns out another Empire character was under consideration to be in the casket before the show settled on someone else. As for Cookie, who kept a significant secret in Season 5, she is heading into what is destined to be another eventful season.

You can check out Taraji P. Henson discussing Cookie being the role to make her world famous in this clip from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert below:

Empire returns for its sixth and final season as one this fall’s premieres. Season 6 premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.