SAG Awards 2017: Nominee Viola Davis' Most Inspiring Quotes
ON REFUSING TO WASTE HER TIME
"I don't have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn't love me has to say about me."
— during an interview with Oprah Winfrey
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ON EMBRACING FAILURE
"I own my story. I own my failures. I'm not interested in being perfect. That's how I deal [with stress]. I don't put on a mask. I think that the effort to put on the mask is probably more detrimental than just being able to step up and admit your vulnerability in front of people who have enough empathy for you."
— to Vibe
ON HER EVOLUTION
"The only picture I have of myself as a kid in kindergarten is with a little seersucker and an expression that’s not really a smile, not really a frown, just something. But every time I look at the little girl, I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s a cute outfit.’ But she was always hungry, she was always shy, she was always kind of in the background, but inside she had big dreams bursting. And the only thing I could think about is that saying, 'What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.'"
— at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony
ON LEARNING TO GO EASY ON HERSELF
"I got to a place of self-acceptance because I had no choice. I cornered myself. I got to the point where I was tired of beating myself up. I could not trade myself in for anyone else."
— to Yahoo Style
ON WHAT SHE WISHES SHE HAD KNOWN AS A TEEN
"I just look at women sometimes and I just want to ask them, 'Do you know how fabulous you are?' I look back at pictures of myself and I remember thinking, 'I was so fat when I was growing up. I was 165 pounds when I graduated from high school. I was a mess.' And then I look back at pictures of myself, and I'm like, 'You were fabulous.' I wish I would have known that then."
— to Elle
ON THE PEOPLE CHANGING THE FACE OF HOLLYWOOD
"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black."
— while accepting the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama
ON OWNING HER SEXUALITY ON TV
"I saw [How to Get Away With Murder] as an opportunity way bigger than doing good work — I saw it as an opportunity for a dark-skinned actress of 50 to be in a role that’s sexualized, not sexy. There’s a difference between sexualized and sexy."
— to Tom Hanks during a Variety Actors on Actors discussion
ON APPRECIATING WHAT SHE HAS
"All of the hardships I've gone through in life — I can appreciate life so much more because of that. To me, it was almost God's gift, to give me the kind of life I was given. I mean, I appreciate love, I appreciate friendships, I appreciate having a home. I remember not having food — so to me the joys of life are a lot simpler than other people would assume they would be."
—during an interview with Oprah Winfrey
"[Do] not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is you. Womanhood is everything that's inside of you."
ON HER WORK WITH THE 'HUNGER IS' INITIATIVE
"They say, to serve is to love. I think to serve is to heal, too."
—at Variety's Power of Women luncheon
ON WANTING TO SEE REPRESENTATIONS OF HERSELF
"I want to be in the story. I think I deserve to be in that story, and I believe my story deserves to be told."
ON BEING HER TRUE SELF
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are and I just recently embraced that at 51.”
— while accepting her Critics' Choice award for best supporting actress
ON LEAVING A LEGACY
“Living out loud is not playing Annalise Keating on How To Get Away With Murder, it’s not being Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad, it’s not getting an Oscar. Living out loud is living a life that’s bigger than yourself. Living out loud is long after you’re gone — and trust me, everyone in this room, you’re going to be dead a lot longer than you’re alive, even if you live to be 100 years old — you leave something on this Earth that’s bigger than yourself. And that’s a big message in this town.”
— at the Rape Foundation's Annual Brunch
ON HER ADVICE FOR OTHER MOTHERS
"Forgive yourself — every minute of the day, every day, that would be No. 1. You always focus on your mistakes as a mom, and you just have to know that you're doing the best you can with what you know."
– on Ellen
ON PRACTICING HER ART NO MATTER WHAT
"I see myself as an actor. No matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art. And all of the actors of color that I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless of what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will."
— while speaking backstage at the Screen Actors Guild awards