Taraji P.Henson is well known for her acting, but before she was on screen or the stage, she held many other jobs. In a recent appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Henson spoke about her past jobs.
When entering the show, Clarkson complimented Henson’s look and mentioned the salon inside Henson’s home.
“You love hair and makeup, and nails, all that right of stuff, right?” asked Clarkson.
Henson then revealed she almost enrolled in a cosmetology program after missing her opportunity at the performing arts high school she wanted to attend, but couldn’t due to missing the deadline.
Missing the enrollment deadline for the cosmetology program didn’t stop Henson’s interest in beauty.
“When I was in college I used to do $20 set acrylics,” said Henson. “I taught myself. I don’t have a license.”
Henson credited these interests for her creativity.
“I think I will credit that to me being a creative person,” she said. “I’m just very creative and I like to create.”
She also revealed that before acting, she worked at the Pentagon.
“Why? What were you doing?” asked Clarkson.
Henson then said she started working there in order to pay off a university in order to be able to enroll at Howard.
“I owed $1,000 before I could get my transcript, so I needed a job,” she said.
“I’m from DC, my entire family works with the government, so it’s really nepotism,” she said jokingly.
She told Clarkson that she was able to get into the Stay in School program and work at the Pentagon with the help of her stepmother.
Despite working the entire summer, she wasn’t able to make enough to pay off the $1,000, but with the help of Henry Smith she was able to get a position at her office and pay off the debt. It was through the help of Smith that Henson was finally able to enroll at Howard.
Once enrolled at Howard, it was through the help of a scholarship created by Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad that she was able to finish school and pursue acting.
Once she obtained her degree, she worked yet another job, this time in substitute teaching.
“Many many hats!” joked Henson.
She proceeded to tell Clarkson many of the things the children put her through while she was a substitute.
“I had a chair thrown at me by a fourth-grader who called me the B-word,” she said.
Now, Henson has made a name for herself as an actress and gets roles in many shows and films, including her most recent role as Miss Hannigan in “Annie Live!”
Henson revealed that she loves the live aspect of the show because she was trained in theater with a live audience.
“I actually feel more comfortable live on stage,” she said. “If you hit the mark you know if you need to put your foot on the gas to get them involved, you know, but when you’re on a set it’s stagnant.”
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