Taraji P. Henson is sexily slaying the latest cover of HelloBeautiful for a special “Muva’s Day” issue.
One of the actress’s breakthrough roles was back in 2001, when she played a mother named Yvette in John Singleton’s Baby Boy. Now, more than two decades later, she’s playing a mother once again, this time, joining the cast of Abbott Elementary to take on the role of Janine Teague’s (Quinta Brunson) mother.
In her interview with HelloBeautiful, Henson talks all about her transition into playing more mature roles and how it feels being a mother figure to other Black women in the industry. She also delves into her own personal journey off-camera, changing her diet after realizing that just because she was small didn’t mean she was healthy.
On playing Quinta Brunson’s mother on Abbott Elementary:
“At first it was like, ah, mom? Why can’t I be her sister?,” Henson says. “Then I looked at her age and I said, ‘B***h, because you old enough to be her mother. Like, stop playing,’” she says with a laugh. “I’m not going to fight age. I’m going to age gracefully.”
On Being A Mother Figure To Other Black Women In The Industry:
“We need each other,” she says. “We ain’t s**t without each other. This world is against us. We are at the bottom of every pay grade, everywhere you go, the Black woman is the last to be thought about. We don’t have time to compete with each other, to go against each other, to fight with each other.”
On Being Prepared For Motherhood:
“No one can prepare you for that. I don’t care who talks to you, no one can prepare you, You just got to jump in and get your feet and your hands dirty. You learn as you go, because there is no book that can teach you. There is no book that can prepare you, really, because everybody’s story and circumstances are different.”
On Changing Her Lifestyle and Diet:
“That’s something that I kind of fall on and off the wagon, but for me, the biggest transition was diet. I hadn’t really leaned on and cleaned up my diet, as well as I had in the past. Understanding that food can heal, [and] it can also hurt.”
“I think we are under the misconception that just because someone is small that means they’re healthy,” she says. “Or just because someone is on the heavier side, that they’re not healthy, and that couldn’t be furthest from the truth. I was small, I was within my weight from my height and my age, and I was unhealthy.” Untangling fact from fiction is essential to the future of Black women’s wellness. Maybe one day society, and by proxy, the entertainment world, will deprioritize aesthetics and embrace vitality. I’ll bow my head, but should I hold my breath?”
You can read Taraji P. Henson’s entire cover story for HelloBeautiful here.
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