As part of Variety Studio’s Actors On Actors series, actresses Taraji P. Henson and Queen Latifah engaged in a one-on-one conversation, which touched on their recent acting roles.

Henson kicked off the conversation by speaking on her role of Cookie Lyon on the Fox television show, “Empire.” The actress recalled being scared of the role of Cookie after reading the show’s script.

She explained that both the role of Cookie, and “Empire” itself seemed like a bold choice for national network television.

“I picked up the script and it scared me,” Taraji P. Henson said. “She scared me. The subject matter scared me. I just—I never seen anything like this on national network television. And I was like ‘Are they even going to pick this up? Are you sure this is Fox and not HBO?’ And Cookie has totally stolen my life. My girlfriends they only want to talk to me about Cookie. Thank God the season is over cause I think I have some of my friends back…Sharing a little bit of Cookie’s pain or sharing a little bit of Yvette’s [Baby Boy] pain might be a little window to my pain or my joy.”

Queen Latifah, who recently starred as the role of jazz singer Bessie Smith in the HBO movie Bessie, spoke on why it was a role she could not have played earlier in her life.

According to the rapper-turned-actress, at the age of 22 she didn’t have the life experience to properly play the role of someone who had gone through so much in their life at the same age.

“I could have played that role at 22, but I did not have the life experience that she had at 22,” Queen Latifah said. “I have lived. And I can relate to so many of the things she went through. To drinking yourself to sleep. To losing love. To having to fight racism or sexism. To being on the road. All those things I was able to bring. I don’t think I was able to bring half of what I was then, that I brought now…I listened to her music and I was like ‘This woman has an amazing voice. She has a powerful voice. She has a painful voice. Uplifting voice’…I could hear her story in her music a bit.”

For additional Empire coverage, watch the following DX Daily:

Please enable Javascript to watch this video