Viola Davis has become the face of Black girl realness, using every opportunity she has to speak on the reality of being a Black woman in Hollywood who doesn’t fall into the “conventional” ideal of beauty.
Just last night Davis was honored at the Critics’ Choice Awards with the first-ever #SeeHer award, “an honor that recognized her work furthering the portrayal of three-dimensional women onscreen,” USA Today noted. And in receiving the feminist honor, Davis nervously told the crowd: “It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight.”
While the crowd may have thought that was just a joke, Davis told the crowd, “It’s true,” between laughter as she added:
“I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters, I guess, by asking ‘Why?’ When I was handed Annalise Keating I said, ‘She’s sexy, she’s mysterious.’
“I’m used to playing women where I’ve got to gain 40 pounds and wear an apron. So I said, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to lose weight. I’ve got to learn how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. I gotta lose my belly.’ And then I asked myself, ‘Well, why do I have to do all of that?’”
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51,” Davis shared confidently. “I think my strongest power is that at 10 o’clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you sit and you experience. And I think that’s the only power I have as an artist, so I thank you for this award.”
Watch Viola Davis’ acceptance speech for the #SeeHer award below. Last night she also won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences.