Taraji P. Henson Talks Fame, Childhood

The actress discusses her TV show and tumultuous upbringing in Southeast D.C.

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The Washington Post

By Neely Tucker

Things had gotten so bleak that Taraji P. Henson was reluctant to go to a Saturday-morning audition for the role that would change her career, the Oscar-nominated part of Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The garage sale she had scheduled seemed more promising.

"I had wig heads with hats, jewelry -- it was a serious garage sale. I was very annoyed I had to cancel it to go to an audition."

She was thinking about this on a cloudless day in early June, lingering over a lazy lunch at a sidewalk table at Le Clafoutis on Sunset Strip. Though this is one of the most celebrity-dense stretches on the planet, she sits completely unnoticed for two hours. The only person who approaches her is a vagrant who asks for a couple of bucks.

"It never really occurred to me that I wouldn't make it out here; it was just surviving in the interim," she says, giving the guy a couple of bucks and a smile. "Now, did the interim seem rreeeeaaalllly long?" She laughs. "Yeah. Yes. Sure."

The rest of the summer seemed like a blur:

Two weeks before the Crowne premiere, she popped into Washington to give the graduation speech at Anacostia High School. A week after, she was in New Orleans to promote a 2012 film in which she stars, From the Rough, at the Essence Music Festival. She also filmed Think Like a Man, based on the Steve Harvey book; turned up at Comic-Con in San Diego to promote POI; and shot the video for "Stay," the latest single from her friend and onetime co-star Tyrese Gibson. She picked up an Emmy nomination for her lead role in Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story, on Lifetime last year.

In between was real life: Seeing after Marcel, her now-17-year-old son, who is entering his senior year at a private school in Los Angeles, and making sure that, among other chores, he doesn't forget to pick up behind Willie, their silky terrier. Getting an apartment in New York while shooting the new show. Getting some wiring done in her Moroccan-style house in the Hollywood Hills. Throwing out the trash. (Yes, really. She hauls her own trash cans out to her narrow, hillside street.)

Read more at the Washington Post.

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