‘Empire’ Breakout Cookie Lyon is a Stronger Female Character Than Olivia Pope

-Jasmine Grant

On Empire, Taraji P. Henson plays Cookie Lyon, hard-nosed matriarch of the Lyon family and betrayed co-founder of Empire Entertainment out to get her slice of the pie. Cookie has given Scandal’s Gladiators a breath of fresh air with her approach as a leading lady — serving up beauty, street-smarts, and braun. At a time when Scandal’s love triangle has gotten stale with viewers, Cookie burst into our living rooms in style, and stole the show.

Here’s why Cookie could trump Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) as the new It Girl of the small screen.

She’s got a mission

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As of late, Gladiators have been a tad bit confused about what Olivia Pope really wants — keep her firm afloat, ride off into the sunset with Jake, or make jam in Vermont with Fitz? Cookie has a clear-cut goal in mind, and that’s to get what’s hers. Believe it or not, this is the edge we didn’t even know we needed in a female lead. Also, who but Cookie could walk away from doing a 17-year prison stint this snatched?

She makes one hell of an entrance

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Olivia is known to call ahead of her visits with Fitz. Count on Cookie to burst in and fearlessly interrupt any important meeting to talk business and add her two cents. Cookie pulls up to the scene with her filter missing, daring anyone in the room to try and silence her.

She’s no sucker for love

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Like Olivia and Fitz, Cookie and Lucious share a great deal of history. But unlike Olivia, Cookie has no rose-colored glasses clouding her judgement. There’s no chance we’ll catch her making out in broom closets and having scandalous affairs with her ex any time soon. She’s not a woman scorned, nor the hopeful mistress looking to ride off with her lover in the sunset — she’s simply here to handle business.

Taraji P. Henson lets us know how she feels about life’s greatest pleasures (chocolate, dancing, and Idris Elba) with emojis.

She’s the underdog

[Photo: FOX]


We were first introduced to Olivia Pope as a White House power player with a pristine reputation. In Cookie’s world, she’s the underdog, having sacrificed her best years in prison to launch an empire that was ripped out from underneath her. As an ex-con, Cookie doesn’t have many resources at her disposal like her powerful ex-husband. But she still manages to one-up him every time.

Fur and animal print never looked so good

[Photo: FOX]

Cookie’s flamboyant and delightfully hood-glam style is a sharp contrast from the buttoned up Olivia Pope, and we’re not mad. Cookie’s presence emerges both in her fashion sense and her no-nonsense demeanor. We just can’t get enough.

She’s got the one-liners for days

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No lip quivering and overly-worded monologues are needed for Cookie to get you together. Never mess with a lady that can so effortlessly tell you to piss off in one, quick-witted breath.

She’s unafraid to fight dirty

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If I were in a PR crisis, no doubt I’d call on the political strategy of Olivia Pope. But every woman needs a friend like Cookie — one who’s not afraid to take it to the streets if someone steps out of line. One of the best qualities about Cookie is that she’s not too prim and proper to open a well-deserved can of whoop ass.

She embodies the essence of being “unbothered”

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As strong of a woman as Olivia Pope is, there are a few people in her world that are her Achilles heel (saved for her dad and Fitz). Cookie holds no such weakness. Not even her ex-husband, sons, nor former cohorts will get in the way of her regaining control of her Empire.

Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’s Joseline Hernandez is also a fan of Cookie.

[Photo Credit: FOX]