Taraji P HensonTaraji P. Henson has a spread in the September issue of Harper’s BAZAAR’s magazine and it has such a sizziling vintage vibe we just had to share it.

Taraji is at the top of her game these days and in the issue she talks about just that. Here is a snippet:

“Leopard is hot when you make it hot,” Taraji P. Henson is saying, sipping champagne in a New York photo studio. As with everything Henson says, you are prone to agree. It’s all in the delivery—complete with her huge, hyper-expressive eyes, widening and narrowing, each word arrives like she’s announcing the winner of a prize.

But with her role as the leopard-print-loving Cookie Lyon in Fox’s wildly populist hit Empire, it is Henson, 44, who has won. The soapy, tongue-in-cheek drama, and Cookie, the ballsy ex-con matriarch of the Lyon family, have catapulted Henson further in one short season than her 20-year acting career (and Best Supporting Actress nomination for 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) had previously. “It was quiet, it was a quiet success,” she says of her pre-Empire career. “I could still live. Now it’s like … ” When it comes to television in 2015, Henson is queen of the jungle.

Taraji P Henson

While she feels a whoosh of sudden fame, Henson has also done her homework. “I always studied Bette Davis,” she explains. “When I did my first film, Baby Boy, [director] John Singleton’s mother called me ‘Bette Davis Eyes.’

So I bought Bette’s entire collection. She can say so much with her eyes. It all bubbles under the surface.” On cue, Henson opens hers like blinds from a window. “The best actors I’ve worked with in life said, ‘If you’re going to steal, steal from the best.’”

Taraji P Henson

Henson has eyes, but the cultish Cookie has quotes, enough to fill an urban dictionary. Like the insta-classic “The streets ain’t made for everybody, that’s why they made sidewalks.” She has memes: Cookie plus Cookie Monster. And she has gifs: “You’re messing with the wrong bitch.” Cookie is the gif that keeps on giving.

Catch the rest of her interview here.