Viola Davis Talks Embracing Her Sexy Through Character Annalise Keating

January 30, 2015  |  

When I think of strong women who are comfortable in their own skin, Viola Davis is actually one of the first people who comes to mind. However, the Academy Award-nominated actress says getting to this place of seeing herself as sexy didn’t happen overnight.

“It feels awesome. It really does. I love it. I went to Julliard in New York and I always tried to be the 90-pound White girl,” she told Essence.

According the Davis, it wasn’t necessarily because she didn’t like herself, but during her time spent at Julliard, many of the women portrayed in classical works were White, small and dainty, which caused her to try to shrink herself.

“Only because we did a lot of classical training and all of the ingénues in Shakespeare were very small women. So I tried to make myself small. Literally. I don’t know how I did that. I was like thinking, ‘Small. Light.’ I would try to have a higher voice, which sounds ridiculous right?”

Because her definition of “sexy” was so narrow, the actress says that she felt she had to hide herself to be portrayed in this light and also, to fit into these roles.

“I felt like there’s only one way to be sexy. It’s almost like I felt like I had to disappear.”

Thankfully, there are folks like Shonda Rhimes and HTGAWM  creator Peter Nowalk, who are able to imagine sexy female heroines in various shapes and sizes.

“It feels really good to embrace exactly who I am and be my sexy or be my sexualized. To be my woman, you know? And it’s been the joy of my life. It really has and I think it found me at the right time of my life. When I really am very unapologetic for who I am. That helps other women, too. I think women want to see themselves on TV. I really do. I think we’re in the 21st century, I think we have to woman up. I think a lot of women have womaned up and we want to see ourselves and it feels great.”

“And Shonda Rhimes, too, is the one who is fearless with it,” Davis continued. “You see it with Chandra Wilson, with Sandra Oh, Kerry Washington. She does it. She walks the walk.”

Check out Viola’s full interview here.

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