For PEOPLE’s 2020 Most Beautiful Issue, Taraji P. Henson opened up about finding moments of beauty and peace in a time of uncertainty. Just before the series finale of her hit show Empire, the star, 49 — who founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which is helping get free tele-therapy to African-Americans in underserved areas — wrote the below exclusive essay.
Little something you might not know about me: My second passion was cosmetology.
I missed the enrollment by a year, but when I was in college, that was my side hustle. I would do $20 rollers sets. I would do $20 acrylic nails. Now with all this time at home, it’s like, “Oh my God, I get to play hair and makeup.” Before they shut down the city, my girlfriend and I went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and bought all this stuff.
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It’s fun with my fiancé [Kelvin Hayden]. I’ll say, “Are you ready for your appointment? Because I am booked up today.” He looks at me like I’m crazy, and I’m like, “Just let me have my fun.” Right now it’s all just about caregiving and taking care of each other. It makes me feel good. There’s something empowering about that while we’re all at home and going through this together.
When I’m alone, the time of day I most find peace is first thing in the morning before the house is up, right before the sun breaks through the clouds. That’s when I do my meditation. I’ve been falling in love with watching the sunrises over Lake Michigan from our condo in Chicago. We’ve been having a lot of dense fog that you see approach the lake, and then it drifts off into the city in between the buildings. It’s like we were above the clouds in an airplane. I’d never seen anything like that before. Or maybe I never had time like this to stop and appreciate it so much. It was beautiful.
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As a world, I hope going through this doesn’t make us cold. I hope we don’t walk around in fear. When this is over, it is going to take a minute for us to adjust. And that’s okay.
My hope is that while we’re at home, people are getting closer to each other and themselves — to their souls. This is the time for all of us to come together and be powerful and just put love into the world so it can win over all.