SHE HAS ARRIVED: TARAJI REMIXED BY BRUCE WEBER

I wear wigs a lot, especially for photo shoots. 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.” 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.

You want to talk about real? You want to talk about the truth? I am 45 this year, and look at my career. Maybe I wasn’t here to be hot and young, but I still look hot and young. Early on, I prayed for longevity. I had to plant my feet into the earth and pray to God and say, “This is what I want.” I thought, Brace yourself, this is a man-made world. Calm your tits, this is just the ride.

My dad was my champion. He’s the reason I’m an actress. I remember calling him one day, so frustrated. I was like, “I’m not getting anything.” And he said, “You asked for LONGEVITY!” and I was like, Uh, yeah Dad, I didn’t think it would take this long. After my first big role, I said, “Oh my God, Daddy, this is it.” He was like, “Do you understand that is nothing compared to what is coming for you? That sun is going to crack open and shine so bright.” He looked off in the distance and said, “You are going to be a sensation.” And I was like, “What the fuck do you see? I want to see what you see.”

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