Why Cookie Lyon is the Best Character from the Show Empire

Not long after its debut in 2015, Empire became one of the most popular shows on TV. Full of drama, excitement, and good music, Empire was one of those shows that were really easy to get hooked on. In addition to interesting storylines, the show was also full of characters that made you want to know more about them. At the forefront was the matriarch of the Lyon family, Cookie. Portrayed by Taraji P. Henson, Cookie was street smart, feisty, and hardworking. Even though she wasn’t a musician like some of the other members of the Lyon family, her business IG was a large part of the family’s success. Keep reading to find out why we think Cookie Lyon is the best character from Empire.

Cookie’s Backstory

When viewers were introduced to Cookie in the series premiere, she had just been released from prison after serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence due to drug-related charges. During her time behind bars, her husband, Lucious, built a wildly successful record label that he started with money Cookie made from selling drugs. Upon her release, she is determined to get her stake in the company, but it quickly becomes obvious that Lucious was not going to let her have access to the company without a fight. On top of that, the entire Lyon family wasn’t really interested in having her around. Her three sons were hurt by the fact that she spent so much time in prison and didn’t really have a relationship with them. Throughout the series, we saw Cookie’s character go through lots of changes, but she remained solid throughout it all. By the final season, she and Lucious had rekindled their romantic feelings and they were ready to run the Empire dynasty together.

Cookie’s Inspiration

Cookie’s character was created by Empire’s executive producer, Lee Daniels. During an interview with E Online, Daniels shared that the inspiration for Cookie primarily came from the British actress Joan Collins who is well known for her role in the TV series Dynasty. When Lee thought of the character, he knew that Taraji was the person he wanted to have bring her to life. Most people who have seen the show would probably agree that there couldn’t have possibly been a better person for the job. Taraji’s portrayal of Cookie was authentic and entertaining. We weren’t able to find any information on what Taraji did to prepare for the role, but it was clear that she really enjoyed playing Cookie.

Although the actress and the character didn’t necessarily have a lot in common, there are some things about Cookie that Taraji could relate to. During an interview with Buzzfeed News, Taraji said, “I understand that mentality. I am from the ‘hood. It wasn’t upper middle class; it was lower middle class.” Cookie’s fashion sense was another thing about her character that really stood out to viewers. No matter the occasion, she always showed up looking stunning. The show’s stylist, Rita McGhee, drew heavily from former First Lady, Michelle Obama,  for Cookie’s fashion.

Why Cookie Is The Best

One of the reasons why Empire was such a successful show was because it had lots of great characters. However, we believe that Cookie easily stood above the rest. For starters, she started the show as somewhat of an underdog which instantly made her likable.  Sure, the fact that she missed out on so much of her sons’ lives was a bummer, but it was also clear that family was her number one priority. As soon she got out of prison her first goal was to reconnect with her children. She managed to put them first no matter what was going on and she also had no problem acknowledging the times she fell short.

Additionally, Cookie’s personality was the perfect combination of down-to-earth and no-nonsense.  It was obvious that she was the kind of person who would do anything for the people she loved, but she also didn’t take any foolishness. Over the course of the series, viewers watched her character go through lots of ups and downs, but no matter what came her way she always managed to keep moving forward. Cookie’s sense of humor was also one of the things that made her character so great. She was full of witty one-liners was often funny without trying to be. Even though Taraji has had a lot of great roles in her career, there’s no doubt that Cookie Lyon will go down as one of the most memorable.

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