Want to get the best scoop out of the Empire cast? Task one of their own to get it from them, duh. Ta'Rhonda Jones—everybody's favorite assistant Porsha Taylor on the hit Fox series—was E! News' special reporter for the Empire premiere in New York City and she did not disappoint.
Did you know Trai Byers, AKA Andre Lyon, cried because of a very special birthday gift? Do you know which Empire cast member loves cookies (that's the sweet treat, not Taraji P. Henson's character)? Who's the best Empire assistant? You will know all that and more once you watch the video above.
And to think the world almost never had Ta'Rhonda on TV. During a cast question and answer at the Empire premiere, the newcomer said she was between jobs when she went out for Empire, and thought she was auditioning for Terrence Howard's record label, not a TV show. That idea lingered even after she met with producers for the role. "I was like, 'What? Where's Terrence Howard? I'm trying to get on his label," she said at the Empire season two premiere event. "I didn't know what was going on...I'm telling y'all, I didn't know nothing." She had gotten another job and was deciding between her hospital gig and Empire, and was looking for a sign.
"I said, 'Lord Jesus, I've never acted before, but if this role is for me, I need a sign and I need it now.' Now what people don't know is my brother was killed in April; he was shot down. I keep a watch of his and when I said, 'I need a sign and I need it now,' the watch went off and I'm here today because I went with that sign...I kept saying what is that noise...It never dawned on me that it was that sign because I just broke down in tears and then maybe 10 minutes later I'm like, 'Um, Jesus I'm waiting on my sign,' and then it dawned on me that was my sign and so I took the role and the rest is history," she said.
Empire returns tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.