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You can’t tell Cookie she’s not fly.

And that term “fly” goes right along with the Empire character’s dated ensembles, according to the actress who plays her.

“She’s caught in a time warp a bit; she’s kind of 17 years behind the curve in fashion sometimes,” Taraji P. Henson said in interviews this week. “She’s trying to find her way.”

Knowing Ms. Lyon’s fashion sense, Taraji says, helps her to nail the role.

“It’s definitely a part of the process for the actor. I wouldn’t know who Cookie was if I didn’t know what she liked to wear,” she says. “That’s a huge part of who she is. It tells a lot of her story.”

Empire has become the first program in the history of Nielsen’s People Meters (since 1991) to grow in total viewers with each of its six episodes following its premiere. Tonight, it looks to make it seven. Those kinds of ratings netted the show a quick Entertainment Weekly cover.

Empire star Terrence Howard told Entertainment Weekly that although he, like everyone else was surprised at the rapid growth of the show, he feel obligated to keep it going.

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“I thought it would take a couple years [to be a hit] and maybe get a little peak and then come back down,” Howard admits. “I didn’t know it would jump off from there. But now that such a huge audience has joined in to the dance and are following, I feel so responsible to keep them there.”

Below, Taraji gives us her take on why the numbers keep growing each week.

“Empire” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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