Empire star Taraji P. Henson is well-known for acting chops and fun appearances on red carpets and talk shows. But she also has a serious side. With InStyle, she opened up about anxiety, equal pay and always being strong.


She told InStyle that some days, the struggle is real: “I have a therapist, so she gives me exercises and things that I can do, and then there's some days when I just be like, I want to be dark, I don't give a s**t. I'mma stay on a sofa. I'mma drink my wine, and I'mma eat my Cheetos.”

Especially during the ongoing lockdown. She wants others to give themselves a break too. Henson said: “I know that it's energy that I'm just letting run through me, because I know that's not going to be me tomorrow,” she tells Brown. “I just have to be honest with myself. Very honest. 'How do you feel today? Don't force yourself to do something if you don't feel like it.'”


She also opened up over her frustration over pay for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. While Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett received millions, the less-established (at that point in 2008) Henson made $40K.

Henson said: “I felt like what I was asking, at that time of my career, was fair to the ticket sales that I would contribute to this big film. The studio wouldn't do it… and then I was gutted.”


She also pushed back against the “strong Black woman” stereotype: “I understand why we took that on, Black women being the bottom of the totem pole, never being seen. I understand, but it's when others go, 'Yes, strong Black woman!' and then it dismisses us … Then if my child or somebody I know is gunned down in the streets, I'm supposed to be strong through that? I'm not allowed to be angry? I'm not allowed to be pissed off?” It's dehumanizing, she says; “I can't say anything back because you've taken everything from me. I'm not allowed to feel that? I'm just supposed to be strong?”