Viola Davis got the opportunity of a lifetime when she got to portray the first FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, in Showtime’s The First Lady. But any praise she is getting for her performance is being overshadowed by the criticism she is getting over her facial expressions. Many are poking fun at the way the Emmy-winning actress pursed her lips throughout the show in efforts to emulate Obama.
When speaking to BBC, Davis said it is “incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work.”
She went on to put the critics in their place.
“Critics absolutely serve no purpose,” she added. “And I’m not saying that to be nasty either. They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know. Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth’. So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you. But ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail it is my duty to do that.”
The How To Get Away With Murder star understands that criticism does come with the territory and called it an “occupational hazard” of acting.
“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” she asked. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.”
While the internet has given their unsolicited opinions, the person she may want to hear from the most, Mrs. Obama herself, has not said anything publicly about Davis’ performance in The First Lady.
“I don’t have any personal contact with Michelle Obama,” she said.
The First Lady, which was created by Aaron Cooley, offers a “revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of the First Ladies, delving deep into their personal and political lives,” according to Showtime.