There’s no denying it: Empire is our favorite TV show and Cookie Lyon is our glamour role model. She’s tough as nails, driven and gorgeous—everything we want in our TV drama heroines (or is she the villain? It can be hard to tell sometimes). And the world at large has fallen in love with Taraji P. Henson—and we say that it’s about damn time.
This Oscar nominee is talented, gorgeous and unafraid to speak out about issues she believes in. For all these reasons (and Cookie’s unfailing dedication to animal print), Taraji is this week’s #WCW. We couldn’t possibly love her more, so let’s revisit some of her best beauty looks.
There's no denying it: Empire is our favorite TV show and Cookie Lyon is our glamour role model. She's tough as nails, driven and gorgeous—everything we want in our TV drama heroines (or is she the villain? It can be hard to tell sometimes). And the world at large has fallen in love with Taraji P. Henson—and we say that it's about damn time.
This Oscar nominee is talented, gorgeous and unafraid to speak out about issues she believes in. For all these reasons (and Cookie's unfailing dedication to animal print), Taraji is this week's #WCW. We couldn't possibly love her more, so let's revisit some of her best beauty looks.
FOX / Empire
At the premiere of Baby Boy, 2001.
The early aughts were a rough time for beauty, but even sixteen tonnes of body glitter and some questionable braids couldn't make Taraji any less gorgeous.
Vince Bucci / Stringer
At the BET Awards, 2004.
Taraji's neutral brown makeup keeps the focus on her bold dress and striking short hair. The little flip in the back is oh-so-slightly retro, making us think of a far more chic Carol Brady.
SGranitz / WireImage
At the Hollywood Bag Ladies Lupus Luncheon, 2004.
Wo was cool enough to embrace the ombre trend before we even had a word for it? Taraji P. Henson, that's who. We also love her soft (but striking) violet eyeshadow—women of color, if anyone ever tells you you're limited to neutrals, show those fools this picture and tell them Taraji sent you.
At the Academy Awards, 2005.
Hustle & Flow was a huge hit, and Taraji was nominated for (and won) a boatload of awards for her sensitive portrayal of Shug. Her look at the Oscars was pure perfection, with her radiant peachy-pink makeup and perfect brows complimenting, not competing with, her sky-high beehive.
KMazur / WireImage
At the Multiculural Prism Awards, 2005.
We've mentioned that Taraji favors a retro look—and here she's serving us pure Dorothy Dandridge. We LOVE the curls cascading down her forehead. And the emerald eyeshadow paired with slightly unexpected coral lips? Forget it. We're done.
Michael Buckner / Stringer
At the premiere of Who's Your Caddy?, 2007.
A smoky take on cat eyes. Pink blush. The most perfect Bettie Page-esque bangs in the world. This look is definitely very 60s inspired, but doesn't feel costumey.
Noel Vasquez / Getty Images
At the premiere of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008.
2008 was a huge year for T, and her look evolved accordingly. This side swept fringe, slightly less severe brow situation and MAJOR lashes are classic move star glamour. Henson would later be nominated for an Oscar for her role as Queenie, Benjamin's mother, and the fact that she didn't win is still insane to us. You're the Oscar winner of our hearts, T!
Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage
At the MTV Movie Awards, 2009.
Because if you're going to rock the hell out of a choppy shag, the MTV Movie Awards are the place to do it. How does she look so amazing in every hairstyle?!
Gregg DeGuire / FilmMagic
Performing at the Soul Train Awards, 2009.
If you've been getting some Diana Ross vibes from Taraji's beauty choices, you're not alone. Here she is paying tribute to the Queen in baby pink lipstick and a totally killer wig at the Soul Train awards (which she and Terrence Howard hosted).
Rick Diamond / Getty Images
At the 'The Black Hollywood Experience: Our History... Our Future' panel, 2011.
Minimally made up and rocking natural curls pulled back in a half-up style, Henson was pure magic on this panel with Don Cheadle, John Singleton and Marla Gibbs.
Toby Canham / Getty Images
At We Will Always Love You: A GRAMMY Salute to Whitney Houston, 2012.
On anyone else, we might be tempted to say that dark eye makeup, a serious topknot, braid headband and bangs might be too much head decoration. On Taraji, though? We say NOT ENOUGH.
Jesse Grant / WireImage
At the screening of "Mud," 2013.
We love a woman with an unstoppable nail game, and oh man, this manicure is incredible. Neon yellow, glitter AND a blue ombre all on perfectly-shaped stilettos? Swoon.
Jennifer Graylock / Getty Images
At 106 & Park Live, 2014.
Blue-green eyeliner. Subtle highlights. Delicate braids on one side and Old Hollywood waves on the other. Elegant yet fun. This look perfectly encapsulates Taraji's retro-modern style and the fearlessness with which she approaches taking risks with her look.
Bennet Raglin / BET / Getty Images.
At the NAACP Image Awards, 2015. First, let us salute her supremely deserved Best Actress win for Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. Next, let us gaze upon her black red red glittery gradient manicure. Now, let us marvel at her spiky lashes and superhumanly perfect skin. Finally, the braid. THE BRAID. Could she be more perfect? Absolutely not.
Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic