When I sit down with actor, filmmaker, and mental health advocate Taraji P. Henson, I’m prepared to talk about changes. This series, after all, is meant to highlight how beauty icons have evolved over the years and what they’ve learned along the way. And we certainly talk about the shifting beauty landscape, the skin and hair care tips she’s learned, and the memories that stand out (like her affinity for blue eyeshadow).
But to Henson, beauty surrounds not only what matures but what actually remains constant in her life—namely, her 40-year friendship with Tracie Jade Jenkins, who serves as the executive director of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation.
“I think we were married in a past life,” Henson jokes during a fireside chat at the recent Women’s Mental Health & Empowerment Summit hosted by Kate Spade New York. As the two creatives recount how they met—and remained “soul mates”—throughout the years, they represent just how high true friendship can lift you up. (And on a beauty-related note, social connection can even facilitate faster wound healing.)
“All humans want to be seen,” Henson tells me after the summit. “We want to be seen, we want to be heard, and we want to be loved.” And when you have someone who truly sees you through all the natural shifts that life brings? Well, that’s a beautiful thing.
So if you take one piece of advice from Henson (in addition to her healthy aging tips below), it’s to call a friend today. If anything, your skin will glow for it.