Taraji P. Henson was born on September 11, 1970, in Washington, D.C. As a teenager, Taraji Henson applied to a performing-arts high school but didn’t get in. Instead, she attended Oxon Hill High School, graduating in 1988.She landed her first professional acting gig on Smart Guy. In 2001, she got her big break in the film Baby Boy. Her performance led to the role of Shug in Hustle and Flow and in 2008 she earned an Oscar nomination for her part in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Henson went on to appear in such films as Think Like a Man (2012). She also starred in the television drama Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013. In 2015, Henson took on the role of Cookie Lyon in the hit series Empire, earning a Golden Globe for the part.