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WATCH: Taraji, Viola and TV's Grandest Dames Bring the DRAMA

WATCH: Taraji, Viola and TV's Grandest Dames Bring the DRAMA

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Empire's Cookie Lyon is based on a man and other tantalizing tidbits from THR's Drama Actresses Roundtable.

TV's new golden age is shining brighter than ever, thanks in large part to complex and compelling performances by dramatic actresses this past season -- also making for one of the most anticipated TV awards seasons in recent memory.

Related | Taraji P. Henson Wins Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama

The Hollywood Reporter got some of the baddest gals in the game for their Drama Actresses Roundtable, including Empire's Taraji P. Henson, How to Get Away with Murder's Viola Davis and American Horror Story's Jessica Lange.

Here are a few highlights from their thespian kiki.

Cookie was based on a man

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Henson: A lot of people think those came from a woman I know, but actually Cookie is based on my dad. You either loved him or you hated him because he was always speaking truth. The one line I said in the show about someone's hair smelling like "goat ass" was his. Once I didn't wash my hair for two weeks because it kept the curl better when it was dirty. We were on a public bus, and he grabbed my head and asked, "Why does your head smell like goat ass?" in front of everybody. I learned the lesson. I washed my hair. Thanks, Dad. See, everything happens in life for a reason.

Viola was just waiting for Hollywood to catch up with her sexy


Davis: There was absolutely no precedent for it. I had never seen a 49-year-old, dark-skinned woman who is not a size 2 be a sexualized role in TV or film. I'm a sexual woman, but nothing in my career has ever identified me as a sexualized woman. I was the prototype of the "mommified" role. Then all of a sudden, this part came, and fear would be an understatement. When I saw myself for the first time in the pilot episode, I was mortified. I saw the fake eyelashes and, "Are you kidding me? Who is going to believe this?" And then I thought: "OK, this is your moment to not typecast yourself, to play a woman who is sexualized and do your investigative work to find out who this woman is and put a real woman on TV who's smack-dab in the midst of this pop fiction.

Jessica Lange, future falconer

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Lange: I've been in the process of retiring for the last 30 years...I've only done two things in my life -- be a waitress and an actress. So I'd probably do something far afield. I've even thought, "What if I studied to be a falconer?"

Taraji is ready for anything

Cookie Gay

Henson: I want to play a superhero. I want to be a Bond girl. I want to play a man. I want to play a white woman. (Laughter)

Check out the other leading ladies discussing their craft below:

Les Fabian Brathwaite -- How to Get Away with Killing It

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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