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Taraji P. Henson began her acting career by guest starring on TV, but has become known for her role as Cookie Lyon on the show "Empire" and movies like "Hidden Figures." Henson went on to make history when she became the first African American woman to win the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Cookie.
When she's not acting, Henson partners with companies, such as Target, for the release of her affordable hair care line, TPH by Taraji. And recently, she partnered with American Express to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day and kick-off its #ExpressThanks campaign for its Corporate Card Program in NYC.
CNBC Select spoke with Taraji P. Henson to get the scoop on what she carries in her wallet, the best financial advice she's received and her advice for managing money.
The contents of Henson's wallet are fairly simple: her credit card, insurance card, Soho House membership card and driver's license. She also keeps a little sample packet of So Slick, one of her TPH by Taraji products, for any hair issues that may arise.
Though her wallet is simple, the life of an actor and entrepreneur has its demands. Luckily, a high-profile schedule brings many ways to redeem credit card rewards. When asked how she uses her rewards, Henson told CNBC Select it's all about adding to her quality of life.
"It all depends on what I'm doing at the time, but I'll typically redeem my rewards for flights," she says. This helps "bring peace of mind, ease travel and make my entrepreneurial journey even more rewarding" when traveling between meetings, sets and family.
If you use the right credit card, you can maximize travel rewards based on any lifestyle. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can benefit from The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers a wide range of travel rewards, starting with a $200 airline fee credit to airport lounge access. (Check out the largest Amex Centurion Lounge in LAX airport.)
The Business Platinum card does come with a steep $595 annual fee, but if you take advantage of all the card's perks, it can be offset (see rates and fees). If you're looking for a no annual fee alternative, consider The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers a competitive 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar (see rates and fees).
"Don't sell yourself short and fight for what you deserve," Henson says.
"I'm a strong advocate of equal pay and [it's] something I am mindful of as I take on new roles and grow in my career."
When it comes to starting a business, Henson says that comes with "a whole new set of challenges and [it] exposed me to a different mindset." She explains that her role as a business owner taught her "it's not only important to take care of myself, but everyone who touches my business."
"Save, budget, and be aware of benefits," Henson says. "If you do your research and know what you're signing up for, you can find some really great benefits on credit cards, from savings to rewards."
Some credit cards offer generous welcome bonuses worth up to $750 or cash-back rates at upwards of 5% that can add up to significant savings. While rewards are tempting and can be beneficial, make sure you spend within your means and always pay on time and in full.
Henson has an additional piece of advice for people that may not know how to handle money — don't be afraid to take advice from others.
"I always used to think I had to do everything on my own, but I'm learning to accept help and advice from the people around me who are having similar experiences," Henson says. "As an entrepreneur, I'm turning to my fellow business owners to get some tricks and tips."
This story is part of CNBC Select's What's in Your Wallet series, which profiles celebrities and media personalities on the contents of their wallet and the best financial advice they've received. For interview recommendations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
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