Taraji P. Henson has solidified herself as a force to be reckoned with. The 47-year-old star is an experienced actress with countless credits under her belt, entertaining audiences for over 20 years.

Still, some of the best things about the thespian have little to do with her acting. Sure, she’s phenomenal on screen, but her off-screen persona has us just as smitten.

Check out these 10 reasons we adore Henson.

  1. She’s a hustler — To pay for her Howard University education, the DMV native worked mornings as a secretary at the Pentagon and evenings as a dinner-cruise ship supervisor.

2. She’s persistent — The star moved to Los Angeles with her infant son and $700 to her name, determined to make it as an actress, and she did!

3. She’s in love with her craft — Upon her arrival, the star refused to waste any time, telling People, “I wasn’t in California to party and go to clubs. I just kept myself immersed in the craft of acting so that when opportunity struck, I would be ready.”

4. She’s the clap back queen – Don’t come for Taraji unless she comes for you!

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5. She can do it all – The seasoned actress is known for both Oscar-worthy dramatic roles (Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow) and hilarious comedies (Think Like a Man, Date Night)

6. She’s a kick-ass single mom – The father of Taraji’s 23-year-old son, Marcel, was murdered in 2003. The star told Redbook, “I think we try to do our best. And yes, we can do it all, but I wouldn’t wish being a single parent on my worst enemy. It’s not easy.”

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7. She’s a red-carpet killer — There’s no doubt that the timeless beauty stuns whenever she hits the scene.

8. She’s always down to try something new — From purple weaves to close cuts, the experimental star is never afraid to switch up her style.

9. She’s as real as it gets — Whether it’s responding to an internet troll or addressing nonsense in the media, the star never shies away from the truth.

10. Cookie Lyon gives us LIFE! – Henson’s portrayal of the formerly incarcerated music exec out to save her family has kept audiences on the edge of their seats since Empire’s 2015 premiere.

Season Four of Empire premieres Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.