Henson, who plays lead mathematician Katherine Johnson, told the magazine what it meant to her to portray her character.
“When I was growing up, people told me out of their mouths math and science are for boys. I was told that over and over,” she told Essence. “Like, no one showed me how to fall in love with numbers. If I had a teacher like Mrs. Johnson, who knows, I might be on the moon.”
Spencer, who has various nominations (and is on some people’s lists for an Oscar nod) for her role as NASA’s first black supervisor Dorothy Vaughan, called her character “the genesis of Black Girls Code.”
Monáe, who plays NASA’s first black aerospace engineer Mary Jackson, shared how passionate she was to show the three women’s sisterhood as a part of their successful mission.
“Hidden Figures” premieres nationally on January 6. Essence magazine’s February issue will be available January 13.