Taraji P. Henson Gets Vulnerable In Her Latest Photo Shoot

Photo: Courtesy of Bruce Weber/ CR Fashion Book.
Taraji P. Henson has a thing for weaves and hairpieces. "I wear wigs a lot, especially for photo shoots," she recently told CR Fashion Book. Her character on the hit show Empire, Cookie, has an arsenal of them on hand for a variety of dramatic moments. But the actress has chosen to let down her guard — and take off her wig — for her latest photo shoot. "He's photographing me in my most vulnerable state; women will never let you see them like this," Taraji says in the black-and-white behind-the-scenes video that accompanies the shoot. "Weave hair [as] fashion? Fashion people are crazy." You see, the plan wasn't for Taraji to be photographed in the protective cornrowed braids that many women wear under their weaves, but famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber had other plans once he saw the actress in her natural element. She describes, in her interview: I have this girl Kendra who braids my hair. She braids so intricately, so beautifully. So I’m trying on the clothes and the silk scarf I have on my head slips off, and I say, “Hey, look at my cornrows, aren’t they beautiful?” Bruce Weber is standing there and he goes, “We’ll shoot that.” And I go, “What? We’ll shoot what?” And he says, “We’ll shoot your hair just like that, it’s beautiful.”
Photo: Courtesy of Bruce Weber/ CR Fashion Book.
But Cookie — I mean, Taraji — wasn't having it at first. Being stripped of the armor you put on each morning — be it hair, makeup, or clothes — is scary. Especially during a photo shoot. And part of me was like, No, no, no, NO! This is the hair no one is supposed to see. This is like behind-closed-doors hair. I feel naked. I feel like a plucked chicken. Or a wet one. A baby chicken! But Bruce says to me, “It’s not about the hair, it’s your face.” So I just decided to trust the artist’s vision. As an actress, that’s what we do. We are vulnerable every time we put our art out there. Underneath that hair is my soul, and it’s me, it’s mine.

We're so glad she allowed herself to open up — if only for a couple of hours — for these timeless images. The results are as gorgeous and intimate as the story itself. Click over to CR Fashion Book to read and see more.

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