Which Taraji P. Henson Role Is Your Spirit Animal?

Find out which of her characters is basically you.

In 2015, Taraji P. Henson stole hearts everywhere as the smart-mouthed, fabulous, and powerful Cookie Lyon on the first season of Empire, but she’s no newcomer to the game. Since the late ’90s, and especially since Hustle & Flow (2005), Taraji has been killing film and television roles. In honor of her 45th birthday, we’re looking back on the roles she brought an extra serving of slay to. And if you dare compare yourself to the queen that she is, you’ll find out which of her characters is your spirit animal.

  • 1 Shug in Hustle & Flow (2005)
    Paramount Pictures
    With “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” stuck in our heads, let’s revisit the amazing slay that was Taraji as Terrance Howard’s love interest 1.0. From her endearing vocals to her triumphant growth from a life of prostitution, Shug won over our hearts. If you’ve got a hidden talent and a big heart but you often feel misinterpreted, you’re the Shug version of Taraji!

  • 2 Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
    Paramount Pictures
    The Academy nominated Taraji for her performance as Queenie, adoptive mother of reverse-aging Benjamin Button. Filled with unconditional love, Queen works in a nursing home but decides to raise Benjamin when he’s left with her. Are you unconditionally supportive, loving, and caring? If so, Queenie is you, even if you’re slightly less saintly.

  • 3 Jocelyn “Joss” Carter in Person of Interest (2011–13, 2015)
    Right before finding her way onto Empire, Taraji was ruling the streets as Agent Carter, a lawyer-turned-cop who worked to stop crimes throughout NYC with the help of “The Machine.” Are you strict, rule abiding, and always looking out for everyone else? You are definitely Agent Carter.

  • 4 Terri Granger in No Good Deed (2014)
    Sony Pictures
    This thriller wasn’t a masterpiece, but anything that pairs sexy-eyes Idris Elba and our girl Taraji has to get a mention in our book. In it, she proves that you do not mess with a mother’s children. Are you a welcoming person with one hell of a bite? Yeah, so is Terri Granger.

  • 5 April Jones in I Can Do Bad All by Myself (2009)
    Tyler Perry generally does a great job of creating multi-layered female protagonists filled with struggle and triumph, and this film is no different. The film centers around April, an alcoholic singer who’s discovering her faith and left to raise three children. If you feel like it’s time in your life for a major change—whether or not that change looks like Adam Rodriguez—then April is your girl.

  • 6 Lauren Harris in Think Like a Man (2012) and Think Like a Man Too (2014)
    Sony Pictures
    Michael Ealy and Taraji were…OK, they were the most f’ing beautiful couple to ever grace the cinema. Described as the “woman who is her own man,” if you’ve ever tried to balance your career, the love of your life, and your independence, Lauren Harris is your spirit animal.

  • 7 Cookie Lyon in Empire (2015–present)
    Chuck Hodes/FOX
    There’s so much more to Taraji than her larger-than-life Cookie persona, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it. She’s badass, emotionally charged, and someone who you do not want to cross with a broomstick. Now that Lucious is out of her way, Cookie is stopping at nothing in her quest for the throne. Are you a little bit fabulous, and a lotta bit badass? Then you are Ms. Cookie Lyon and we are gonna let you have your moment.

I'm either at Taco Bell, watching the Kardashians, or writing about Love & Hip Hop.