Empire’s Jussie Smollett is on the cover BLEU Magazine and he’s spilling all his secrets.
On his Hollywood success: “It’s been a lesson in patience and hard work. I never had a plan B. I know how to do other things. I always held down a job. I always made sure, as a Black man, that I was responsible for mine. That was always something super important to me and was something instilled in me by my mother–to be a hard working man, a hard working human being.”
On his relationship with Terrance Howard: “I have such a wonderful brotherhood with Terrence. The scenes with Terrence and I are most intense; they’re also draining. But at the same time, I trust him with my soul. I feel like our chemistry is great. He’s dope. And I have such a love and respect for him that I feel comes across in the show.”
On the famous “You’re so beautiful” performance scene: “Every time I did that scene it was like coming out again and again and again. Right before shooting that scene I felt very nervous, as if somehow things would never be the same–and they weren’t, yet they were. It’s the same feeling that I had when I did Ellen. It was a little bit scary, but it was freeing. The fan response that I’ve gotten from that scene has been next level to me.”
On playing Jamal on Empire:
My life kind of prepared me for Jamal, because I am the middle son in real life. I am a singer. I have experienced the same issues that Jamal has dealt with in his life except my Momma wasn’t in jail for 17 years and my Daddy wasn’t a billionaire. [Laughs] That’s the great thing about playing Jamal.