Taraji P. Henson has conquered a lot to get to where she is now.
Henson's role as Cookie Lyon on Fox's "Empire" has cemented her as a household name, but it was a long journey for the actress to get to where she is now. And, for as many fans as Henson has around the world, she has had no bigger cheerleader than the one she has in herself, which is a quality that she credits for a lot of her success.
"I'm in an industry where all you do is compare and get compared," she told AOL Entertainment on a recent phone call. "You feel yourself being looked at in every room. I had to get that in control for myself, though, because if I let those voices run around in my head, I probably wouldn't be as successful as I am."
Of course, in 2017 when life can oftentimes seem like one all-encompassing Instagram filter, that's easier said than done. "Instagram doesn't help," Henson admitted, though she notes that there are things she makes sure that she does in her everyday life that combat that pressure to compare oneself to others.
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"I'm a good person with a pure heart, so if I'm coming from a place like that, there is no fear," she explained. "Like Lauryn Hill said, 'How you gonna win if you ain't right within?' It's about treating others the way you'd want them to treat you. It's that simple, and that's how I live my life."
"It's very important for us to support each other," she added.
Henson is also keen on helping people make smarter choices in an effort to better themselves. After all, in the social media era where an oversaturation of options can create anxiety, panic and, ultimately, people making the wrong decisions for themselves, it's important to know what choices are out there.
"Women spend 61 minutes a day thinking about food," Henson revealed. "Why are we doing that? Why are we wasting that time?"
To lower that number and combat women's anxiety around eating, Henson partnered with Special K to raise awareness about the issue, which she insists is all about awareness.
"Once you know better, you do better," she told us. "When you don't know you have better options, you pick the wrong ones. I don't think you should walk around with guilt just because you ate. You need to eat! You literally need nourishment. But why are we feeling guilty about that?"
"I like to look good," she continued. "I don't have to, but I want to; it makes me feel more confident about myself. Instead of picking up a candy bar, I'll go to Special K protein bites. It's about not consuming empty calories and knowing what's good for you."
After all, she said, "God made me perfect, and he made you perfect, too. If the universe didn't need you, you would not be here.
Amen to that.
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