She’s a Golden Globe Award winning actress and stars on the mega hit show Empire.
But in 1988, Taraji P. Henson was just an aspiring actress with a dream.
The 46-year-old shared her senior picture to Instagram on throwback Thursday, captioning it: ‘You couldn’t tell her ISH!!!!’
Taraji added: ‘She knew she belonged in #Hollywood right here, she just didn’t know how she was getting there but she DREAMED BIG AF!!!!’
The actress finished off the sassy caption with: ‘#DidntKnowIn91BetchaKnowMeNow *Diddy voice*.’
The TV star graduated in 1988 from Oxon Hill High School in Maryland.
For her senior picture, Taraji wore a white blouse with layers of gold jewelry, including chunky hoops; she also rocked glasses and red lipstick.
Even though it was about 26 years before she landed the role on Empire, the star was giving off Cookie vibes in her senior portrait.
Following her high school graduation, Taraji went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and studied electrical engineering.
She switched to a drama major after transferring to Howard University soon after.
In 1994, at the age of 24, she gave birth to her son Marcel with her high school sweetheart William Lamar Johnson; William was murdered in 2003.
Her breakthrough role was in the 2001 film Baby Boy, where she played the lead character Yvette with Tyrese Gibson.
Taraji first played Cookie in January 2015 alongside co-star Terrence Howard. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work as the character in January 2016.
In a 2008 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she revealed that she auditioned for a performing arts school in her hometown of Washington D.C. but didn’t get in – although her best friend did.
The Hidden Figures star recalled: ‘I auditioned, but I didn’t make it. I thought that meant I couldn’t act, so I was crushed.’
She was so devastated that she said she ‘wanted to throw myself under a bus; I wanted to slit my wrists because my best friend got accepted. I didn’t.’
Because of that, she ‘had to go to a regular school, and I never toyed with the idea again.’
She told THR that she quit the engineering route while in college because she failed a class.
Taraji explained: ‘I get to college and I failed precalc. No calculus. Precalc! The class that preps you for all the math you have to do.’
After she failed, she called her dad and told him she wanted to leave; Taraji said: ‘He knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So he said “Come back home. I always knew you were an actor.'”
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