Viola Davis gets red hot on the cover of The Wrap magazine’s Emmy Comedy-Drama Issue. Inside, she talks about bringing authenticity to her “How To Get Away With Murder” character where everyday women can relate, she tackles the “isms” of Hollywood and that iconic “wig scene.” Get it all inside….
The beautiful Viola Davis graces the cover of The Wrap magazine’s Emmy Comedy-Drama Issue, bringing the heat in a strapless red hot flowy dress. Photographed by Corina Marie Howell, the strikingly gorgeous ABC starlet poses it up in two looks that show off her style and grace. But aside from serving up some flawless flicks, the veteran actress gets candid about her role on the hit series, stereotypes in Hollywood, and much more.
In the cover story, the 49-year-old Emmy contender dishes on how she strives to portray the ruthless defense attorney/criminal law professor Annalise Keating in “HTGAWM” as a real person and not just a television character. She said, “I always say I hold it up for the regular people out there. There’s still something very human in each episode, and when I say ‘human,’ I mean flawed.”
Being a woman of color in Hollywood certainly comes with obstacles, but when you’re an African-American woman of a certain age in the industry, it definitely comes with even more challenges. But, Viola says she’s not deliberately trying to defy the odds. She’s just doing what she does best and just so happens to be breaking down barriers. She dished,
“I say that that makes me happy that you said that. I’m not trying to defy odds. I feel like I just move through life doing what I do and I think that, in doing that to the best of your ability, I think that’s the most progressive thing that you could do in your life.”
The Tony Award winning actress also talked about how the iconic “wig scene” came about. She said taking off all of her make up and pulling off her wig wasn’t an issue for her because she never wanted to “be the Vogue woman.” She revealed, “I want to present women as they really are.” And we love her for that.
The veteran actress also talks about possibly making history as the first African-American actress to win the outstanding actress in a drama Emmy, struggling with not feeling sexy enough for roles, and more.
Below are the highlights:
Annalise is such a flawed heroine, obviously it makes it interesting for an actress to play–but why do you think there’s still such rooting value for her?
Well I’m happy that you say that, but I just felt like in the midst of this fiction–which it is, it’s fiction, it’s a soap opera, it’s salacious, it’s tantalizing and all that–I felt like there should be something in each episode for women to look at and feel like it was familiar. To feel like Annalise is familiar. Taking her wig off, me not being a Size 2, me being obviously 49. I always say I hold it up for the regular people out there. There’s still something very human in each episode, and when I say “human,” I mean flawed. Things that we probably do in private that we don’t want anyone else to see. But when we see it in actors and when we see it onscreen, it makes us feel less alone. And I felt like which each episode I tried to at least achieve that in the midst of this kind of pop fiction. And I think that’s why people root for her.
As we were talking about challenges in the industry, I mean, you must obviously see online reports with statistics of lack of roles for women or anemic amounts of female directors, writers etc. in Hollywood year after year. Yet you are an actress that is defying every single sort of stereotype or issue that Hollywood is facing: ageism, sexism, racism. What do you say to that?
I say that that makes me happy that you said that. I’m not trying to defy odds. I feel like I just move through life doing what I do and I think that, in doing that to the best of your ability, I think that’s the most progressive thing that you could do in your life. I think that when you stifle your voice in any way to kind of meet the status quo is when you stifle your voice and that part of you that can make a difference.
The wig scene is iconic. I mean it will be one of those scenes like “Melrose Place” when Kimberly took off her wig — that we will be talking about 20 years from now and it’ll be on “Top 50 TV Moments” lists. Was that written already even before you stepped into the role? Or did you collaborate with Pete and Shonda and sort of talk that through? Or was the scene something that you said “I want to do this?”
Well, I didn’t want to be the Vogue woman. I didn’t want to be the woman who came in with the sexualized–I say sexualized, not sexy, because sexy is a certain self-consciousness to sexuality–I say that Annalise is sexual. Every time you see that sexual, mysterious, kind of cold woman, she always looks like she has that blow-dried hair and that dewy skin and, you know, those Double-Zero clothes. I did not want to be that woman because I don’t know that woman. And I’ve been watching that woman in movies for several years. And I felt like this was my chance to woman up. Because I think that how we are as women, just in real life, is very interesting. And I think that in the hands of a woman–and I’d like to think that, in my professional life anyway, I have a certain braveness and boldness–I want to present women as they really are.
I remember one woman wrote me after that scene when I take the wig off, “That’s me except I still …read more