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How to Be a Boss: Life Lessons from "Empire" HBIC Cookie Lyon!

Written by Sarah Osman. Published: March 18 2015


It’s undeniable that the best part of Fox’s hit musical drama “Empire” is the queen of the Empire herself, Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson). From the second she stepped on screen, Cookie has hit us with witty one-liners, fabulous outfits, and her overall fierceness. It’s no wonder that Cookie is everyone’s favorite character!


As I have watched the show, I have began to observe Cookie’s behavior for tips on how I too can run the world like a boss. From my studies, I have picked up four life lessons from Cookie Lyon that we should all implement in order to become queens of our own empires:


1. When it comes to fashion, be fearless.

Cookie easily has the best wardrobe of any character on TV. Previous outfits (and accessories) have included: a purple furry stole, cheetah print pumps, a silver zebra-print cocktail dress, and her endless fur coats. No matter the occassion, Cookie always come dressed to kill. The lesson we can learn here is to rock our own style, whether that’s cheetah prints or modern blazers.


2. Don’t be afraid to go after what’s yours.

Despite having a rough background (Cookie went to jail for 17 years after selling heroin to support her husband’s music career), Cookie has literally no shame. After her stint in prison, she came back with a vengeance -- she wanted her half of the company that she founded. Cookie could have returned in humility, but instead she accepted her mistakes and went after what she wanted. We can all take a cue from Cookie’s tenacity; no matter what problems we face, we should just keep going on after our goals.


3. Making a grand entrance is everything.

Whether it’s a dinner party or a board meeting, Cookie always knows how to make an entrance. I love the fact that at least once an episode Cookie bursts into a room with some sort of amazing announcement. Cookie never skulks or creeps into a room -- she explodes into a room. When it comes to entrances, don’t just walk in with confidence -- strut in with passion! (Or, if you really want to make an impression, reveal that you are wearing skimpy lingerie underneath a purple fur coat).


4. Always remember to love your family.

No matter how busy Cookie gets, she always makes sure to make time for her three sons: Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem. Even though Cookie was separated from her sons for most of their childhoods, she tried her best to be there for them, and she truly is now. When she learned that her eldest son Andre is Bipolar, she decided to educate herself about this condition and do whatever she could to help him. She has supported her son Jamal, who is gay, from when he was just a boy, and defended him against her husband. While we can sometimes let our work control us, it’s important to spend time with our family and let them know that we do love them.


What are some lessons you’ve learned from Cookie?


Don’t forget to catch the 2-part “Empire” season finale tonight at 9pm on Fox!




And be sure to check out our interview with Cookie's boy, Jamal, AKA Jussie Smollett, below!




(Screenshot via YouTube)


- Sarah Osman, YH Staff