With August's W Magazine cover headline reading, "Taraji P. Henson: The Empire Star is One Tough Cookie," one most likely expects the inimitable star of Fox's breakout hit to resemble her on camera persona: curled up somewhere in a signature fur with a broomstick gripped between her fist.
But captured poured into one of those perfect-but-always-elusive white tees and a pair of vintage-cut stone-wash mid-rise jeans, the 44-year old actress looks like a dead ringer for Diana Ross.
Channeling the Franceso Scavullo-photographed album artwork of the songstress' acclaimed 1980 album, Diana, W's Creative Director Edward Enninful styled Henson for this sensual array of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot photos. Henson is masterfully dodging a nip slip in one photograph while sweat beads artfully roll down her damp features in another.
While a completely different look for Henson, it's hardly a surprise Diana Ross was a muse for the shoot: As Empire's costume designer Rita McGhee revealed to us here at Fusion, Miss Ross' legendary closet is the only one Cookie would love to raid, with McGhee taking style cues from the diva often.
It's even more interesting to consider that the Diana album, Ross' tenth studio production, was the singer's most successful album to date, spawning the hits "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out." It was a musical rebirth for the R&B legend, as she reportedly wanted "a fresher, more modern sound," and was gravitating towards disco music.
In a way, Henson's impressive but wildly underrated acting career is having a similar rebirth: the staggering success of her portrayal of Empire's wise-cracking heroine has been garnering her unprecedented attention and accolades. Just as Ross sings on "I"m Coming Out" — "There's a new me coming out/And I just had to live/And I wanna give/I'm completely positive/I think this time around/I am gonna do it" — here Taraji is having a second coming in a lot of ways. Click here to see more images from W magazine.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.