In an interview with People that surfaced a little over a week ago, Viola Davis talked about becoming an international spokeswoman for L’Oréal Paris. She also talked about how she found the whole thing ironic, because she never thought of herself as a conventional beauty.
And during a new interview with People, Davis talked about her childhood once more, but this time she discussed growing up in extreme poverty.
Viola Davis talked about growing up in poverty during a new interview. (Photo: Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images)
Davis grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island, with five siblings, and the actress said she was fully aware that her family struggled financially. But she used her hopes and dreams as a coping mechanism.
“I was making my way through it,” she explained. “You either hope or you don’t. And it was hope and dreams that made me put my feet on the floor every morning and just approach every day with a sense of enthusiasm. It was my fight or flight that kicked in.”
The 54-year-old then said there were a slew of people who helped her back then, like a school principal who would have a paper bag full of clothes for her. “They were hand-me-downs, but they were so cute, the little purses, the A-line skirts,” Davis described.
There was also a teacher who referred to her as “an all-American girl,” which really took her aback.
“I was like, ‘Me? But I don’t have blond hair and blue eyes,’” a young Davis replied. “He said, ‘No, you’re an all-American girl. You’re smart, you have all these attributes.’”
Of course, these days Davis is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood and considered by many to be the very best.
She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the 2016 film “Fences” and won an Emmy Award for “How to Get Away with Murder” one year prior. She also has two Tonys, one for “Fences,” and the other for “King Hedley II.” Not to mention she received a number of award nominations.
And it’s safe to assume that Davis’ bank account isn’t hurting either, which she said isn’t lost on her. Because she still thinks about those days of poverty.
“That’s the little girl who follows me all the time,” Davis explained. “I see her every single day I open my big sub-zero refrigerator or sit in my Jacuzzi, she’s just standing there squealing. And I always feel like I have to go back and heal that little girl who grew up in poverty, who was called names and ugly all the time.”
Later in the interview, Davis, revealed what advice she would’ve given herself as a 13-year-old, who thought she was less than wonderful.
“I would tell her that she was enough,” she stated. “I wasted so much time listening to the naysayers. And I just wish I had listened to the other voices of people saying that I was beautiful and talented.”
“I always thought when you listen to that you’re conceited, but I wish I had listened to that more,” added Davis. “I wish I had pranced through the world with just hoity-toity confidence and overexuberance.”