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Jussie Smollett Opens Up About ‘Empire’ Success & His Love For Taraji

Jussie Smollett is one of Empire‘s breakout stars and the Emmy contender admits the show’s success has drastically changed his life.

“It’s probably easier to say what has not changed.The great side of this is that I have a platform to show people what I can do, what I love to do and what I have been doing for so long,” he told TheWrap.

“What has not changed about my life? It’s probably easier to say what has not changed. My family and friends have not changed at all. But what has changed, the great side of it is that I have a platform to show people what I can do, what I love to do and what I’ve been doing for so long. And a couple people are listening now. So that’s a good thing for any artist. Any person period,” he said.

READ MORE: Empire Star Jussie Smollett Speaks on Being Gay and Why He’s Never Been in the Closet

“The other side of it is the scrutiny that comes along with it. And people all up in your business, but again that goes with the territory –I guess. The great, not even the good, so outweighs the bad because it’s been such a phenomenal way to not only show my art and my creative side but also show, bigger than that, the side of me that really cares and people listening to what I’m saying about social issues as well. That to me is more important than anything. And I’ve said this a million times before. I don’t believe you need a hit TV show or a hit record to make an impact, but I’m glad that what I was saying years ago is now, you know, can now somehow affect people’s lives in the way that my life has been affected by people I looked up to.”

One of the best things about his newfound fame is the impact it has had on fans.

“I don’t believe you need a big hit TV show or a hit record to make an impact, but I’m glad that I can affect lives in the way my life was affected by people I looked up to,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘Empire’ Creators Explain Why TV Isn’t Ready For The N-Word

The actor admits his favorite part of is job is working with Taraji P. Henson.

“I really have to think about this because she’s so much fun to film with. One of my favorite scenes that I ever shot with Taraji was cut from the pilot. And it was the very first scene that I ever shot on “Empire” on the first day of filming. It was this whole scene inside of an SUV and we were joking and it was just such a great scene and it was an emotional scene as well. For time, it got cut, but it was truly one of my favorite scenes,” he explained.

“As far as the scenes that did not get cut, probably I loved the scene when I did “Up All Night” for the family and then gave that whole read to Terrence. I love doing scenes where it’s the whole family also, because we have such a good time shooting those. And honestly, my favorite scene also–how the hell could I forget this?! Jamal’s coming out scene. Obviously.”

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