Taraji P. Henson was named USA Today’s Entertainer Of The Year Saturday (December 26) and the publication profiled the Washington, D.C. native yesterday (December 28).

The actress portrays Cookie Lyon on Empire, which debuted in January on Fox and focuses on the workings of a fictitious Rap label.

“Life has changed for me dramatically,” Henson says. “Who thought Cookie would bring me this kind of notoriety? This is the type of character that people judge. She went to jail. She sold drugs. But what happens? [People] run to her? Blows me away every time. That goes to show people like real.”

Henson says that the forthcoming third season of Empire will not feature as many guests as it predecessor.

“We don’t need outside cast,” she says of the program, which returns March 30. “It’s nice every now and then. That’s what made the first season work. You always learn.”

Henson posted about the recognition:

WOOOOOOOW!!!! Thank you @usatoday so honored!!! #WhatAYear #MoreToCome cause #GodIs and that is all that I know! ???

A photo posted by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on

For additional Empire coverage, for which Taraji P. Henson was named USA Today’s Entertainer Of The Year, watch the following DX Daily: