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*With her right hand lifted like it’s about to smack Boo-Boo Kitty, Taraji P. Henson is channeling a bit of Cookie Lyon on the November cover of Essence magazine.

The 45-year-old “Empire” star is in a form-fitting, black Fausto Puglisi dress, complete with slits starting just below her waist.

Inside the magazine, Henson addresses her longevity in the game.

“I’m just gonna keep amassing an audience,” says the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actress. “Everything was strategically planned. This is what all my efforts are for.”

Also in the cover story, Henson talks about taking the business of acting seriously.

“These kids are thinking they can do reality TV and come and do this craft that I studied, sweated and grinded,” says Henson. “People forget it’s a craft because it’s so pop now…Can they make me believe the words coming out of their mouth?”

While many fans can’t imagine Cookie played by anyone other than Henson, the actress can’t imagine “Empire” being as successful as it is without the presence of Cookie and Lucious.

Listen below:

This November Essence with Henson on the cover hits newsstands on Friday, Oct. 16.