By// Kyra Kyles
Hustle. Hard. Those two words summarize the lifelong philosophy of Taraji P. Henson, the age-defying, acclaimed actress whose career kicked off in 2001 after depicting a shrill, unwed mother in the urban classic Baby Boy. In over a decade, she has evolved into everything from an Academy Award nominated performer appearing alongside Brad Pitt, to a lead character on a successful CBS drama, Person of Interest.
No matter the fame or the accolades, the commanding performer says it pays to stay hungry. “Oh, my God, if I’m idle, I’m calling my manager and publicist,” Henson confides to JET from New York City, where she is filming the second season of her J.J. Abrams-backed TV series. “Even if it’s just for five minutes that I’m sitting, I’m asking: ‘what’s next?’”
Luckily, there is almost always a swift answer to the question for Henson, including her turn in Think Like a Man, the refreshingly urbane romantic comedy that stunned the box office with a $91 million take this spring. Still, based on the nature of her industry, the star often finds herself focused on another number: 42. “You know Hollywood is all about age,” she offers. “That goes for all women, Chinese, White, but especially Black. I think a part of why I feel like I have to keep working is my fear that my phone will stop ringing.”
TO READ MORE ABOUT TARAJI P. HENSON’S CONSTANT HUSTLE, PICK UP THE NEW ISSUE OF JET MAGAZINE, ON SALE TODAY.