Reaching any goal is much more difficult when you don’t even have references to emulate. Perhaps for this reason, she says on the other side of the video call Viola Davis (South Carolina, United States), if she had been able to see the 56-year-old version of her as a child, she “would have burst with happiness.” Today on her shelf rest, among others, an Oscar for best supporting actress for Fences, an Emmy for her role in the series How to Get Away with Murder and a Tony for King Hedley II. She is the first African-American performer to hold all three awards. She is also the black woman who has received the most Academy nominations, four, the last being last year for The Mother of Blues. She is still able to evoke the shocks she experienced when she stepped on stage for the first time: “I remember feeling on top of the world and never wanting it to end. That’s why I decided I wanted to be an actress. When you start you hardly even get paid, but I became addicted to that feeling. She dopamines to escape a childhood in poverty, witnessing her father abuse her mother. “I always thought that I deserved some kind of happiness,” she confesses, “that whatever it was had to be worth it. I think I got out of there because I fought a lot, I was always fighting, but also because I had a lot of people around me who loved me. I think that love contributes a lot when it comes to making a human being grow”. Viola Davis with Denzel Washington in a still from ‘Fences’, a film for which Davis won the Oscar in 2017. Photo: CORDON PRESS Since 2019 Davis has pronounced the famous “because I’m worth it” from L’Oréal Paris. An especially revealing statement in her mouth, until not so long ago completely oblivious to the imposed canon of beauty. But the demand for inclusivity has pushed the industry towards a much more open ideal in which the performer becomes a visible role model for new generations. “I think beauty from within is really promoted now and the importance of women understanding their worth. That has to be the most beautiful accessory. True beauty comes from understanding your value, your place in the world and connecting with yourself”. Viola Davis in the role of Michelle Obama in the miniseries ‘The First Lady’ (2022). Photo: CORDON PRESS In April she premiered the miniseries The First Lady, in which she plays Michelle Obama, she has several projects pending and has just finished filming Ben Affleck’s latest film as director, still unnamed, which will expose the story of the creator of Nike. The artist wants to tell new stories: acting and as a producer. “I like to give life to complicated and disastrous women. We should allow ourselves to be disastrous, ”she defends. In May, she made a stop to go to the Cannes Festival, where L’Oréal Paris presented its Lights on Women award, intended to make visible the work of women in directing and which in this edition has gone to the hands of the Vietnamese Mai wow. “The award seeks to honor emerging filmmakers. Also giving them the opportunity for the world to see them, I think this is very important. Giving opportunities is fundamental because talent without visibility goes unnoticed”. It is necessary to open the focus and claim inequalities, but also, maintains the actress, take the initiative: “This is a business that is very difficult to enter, especially if you do not know anyone, but women have to start feeling comfortable in leadership roles. They have to walk into the room and demand what they want, believe that they deserve it and that they will be rewarded.” In that Viola Davis is already an expert and also a reference for those who come after.
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