"This campaign with this face and this hair at this age — and to be out there uttering words like, 'You're worth it,' it's everything to me," says Viola Davis

By Jackie Fields
April 12, 2021 04:03 PM
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Viola Davis is celebrating a major beauty milestone. 

The L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman, 55, is the newest face of the brand's hugely-popular Voluminous Mascara, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Davis, who will appear in a new campaign for the OG product, says fronting the campaign is so much more than skin-deep. Speaking to PEOPLE, the Oscar-winning star shared her words of wisdom on self-worth, as well as the lessons she's passing onto daughter 10-year-old Genesis and finding joy in keto ice cream. 

"I'm a little late to the makeup game," admits Davis, when trying to recall the first time she tried Voluminous Mascara. Having first road-tested the makeup artist-loved formula in her late 30s, she says, "I remember [the moment] because from the first time you try it, you don't want to use anything else. And if you somehow can't find [your tube], when you use something else, you're like, 'Oh, no.'"

For nearly 20 years, the formula has worked wonders for her. "I always want to see my eyelashes, and that just does the job," she says. And lately it's become a must-have in her family. "My niece is always coming [to my house] and there are times when I'm like, 'You can't have my mascara Annabelle.'"

Viola Davis; Courtesy L’Oréal Paris
Credit: Courtesy L’Oréal Paris

Davis goes on to explain why fronting this campaign is important to her.

"One of the reasons why it means so much to me is because I am aware of what my presence means to other people. And not just women of color, women of a certain age. I'm very shy and introverted by nature. I can really shrink sometimes. But when I hear so many people say how much just my presence means to them, I'm really humbled. I always think, 'Okay, so what is it that I'm doing?' [But], what I've done in the last year is I've accepted it."

Davis adds that "this campaign with this face and this hair at this age – and to be out there uttering words like, 'You're worth it,' it's everything to me because I know how it lands on people. There are some who've lived their whole lives and have never heard that."

"And it being in the context of a beauty campaign, that seems right to me, and brings me a great deal of joy. I feel like, no matter what you decide to do in life, the one reason why you were born is because you're worth it. And that for me is why I love being a part of this campaign."

The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom actress, who also appears in a L'Oréal Paris commercial celebrating the 50th anniversary of iconic tagline "Because You're Worth It" (above), also opened up about the values she's instilling in Genesis.

For instance, she and husband Julius Tennon are encouraging the 10-year-old to "be honest about what she's feeling and knowing that she don't have to keep anything in. To start sort of that practice right now of sharing with people that you know have your back, like mommy and daddy. And if you don't share, if you don't tell us then we can't help you."

Character traits are also important in the household. "The whole idea also of finding meaning and finding purpose in your life is not just limited to what you do. I really push her being a great friend to people, she has that down."

"And [we discuss] the notion of setting boundaries for herself. There's a famous saying: don't throw your pearls before swine. I tell her that all the time that not everybody is worthy of her presence. But listen, all of these lessons are hard, and daughter's 10. I let her know, 'You're still growing, you're still changing. You're still exploring. You don't have to arrive at anything yet.'"

Viola Davis; courtesy of L’Oréal Paris
Credit: Courtesy L’Oréal Paris

In between projects and Zooms, Davis is prioritizing self-care.

"The Revitalift Derm Intensives 3.5% Glycolic Acid Cleanser is in my shower — I use that every day, along with the Age Perfect Cell Renewal Midnight Serum. When she needs to feel "refreshed", she uses the Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Peel Pads.

"I will do anything right now to bring me joy, and to bring my family joy," she says.

"Joy is in short supply in this life. So if you know where you enjoy lies, even if it's in a pint of coffee chip keto ice cream, and that's where your joy lies."