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Viola Davis Opens Up About Constantly Being Told That She Wasn’t Beautiful and the Effects Words Can Have: ‘I Don’t Think That People Understand How Hurtful It Is’

Viola Davis recently disclosed in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK how she was constantly told how unattractive she was and how words can affect a person’s self-worth.

The actress told of this experience in the publication’s YouTube series titled “Life Lessons.” In the episode released on Nov. 22, Davis opened up about the many lessons she’s learned throughout her life about her career, style and beauty.

Viola Davis Opens Up About Constantly Being Told That She Wasn't Beautiful and the Effects Words Can Have: 'I Don't Think That People Understand How Hurtful It Is'
Viola Davis opens up to Harper’s Bazaar UK about the life lessons she’s learned. Photo:@harper’sbazaaruk/YouTube

At the 0:14 mark, the 47-year-old shared that the worst anyone ever told her was how she wasn’t considered beautiful. Davis said, “I would say the worst thing anyone has ever said to me is constantly telling me that I’m not pretty.”

Davis continued the conversation by saying that although she is “very confident” in herself that people don’t understand how detrimental words can be.

While raising her hands, the “How to Get Away with Murder” star said, “Even though I’m good. I really am. I’m good. I feel very confident in myself. But when you say that I don’t think that people understand how hurtful it is, and how not important it is.”

She added, ” When you say that to someone, the unspoken word is that you are not worthy because people put a value on prettiness and beauty. So if you don’t have it, it’s like ‘I have no value …. no one wants to love me. No one will accept me. I have no power.’ When you say that to other women, they don’t feel there’s anything in their life that has any value. You’ve stripped them from everything.”

Davis’ remarks come one month after the actress revealed she was fearful of missing out on specific roles because of her physical appearance.

During an October interview with The Guardian, Davis, who described herself as “too big” and “too Black,” said she felt like an outsider while attending New York’s prestigious performing arts school, Julliard. 

She told the publication, “I felt I came in with a wrong palette. I was too big. I was too Black. My voice was too deep.” Davis would ultimately conquer those fears after going to Africa in the 1990s. 

Davis said after watching a Kañeleng’s, a term used to describe women who can’t bear children, performance in Gambia, she finally accepted herself as both a person and an actress. 

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