No one does an awards show acceptance quite like Viola Davis. When the How to Get Away With Murder actress won the first-ever #SeeHer Award recognizing her work in portraying three-dimensional women on screen at last night’s Critics’ Choice Awards, she got a standing ovation–and that was before she even said a word.
After a glowing intro from her Doubt co-star Amy Adams, Davis took the stage to talk about self-love. She first joked (“It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight”) then opened up about her own struggles to fit into Hollywood’s expectations for women to lose weight and “walk like Kerry Washington in heels.”
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. And, I just recently embraced that at 51,” she told the crowd.
Read her full speech below.
“Thank you. It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight. But, I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters, I guess, by asking: why? You know, when I was handed Annalise Keating I said, she’s sexy, she’s mysterious, you know, I’m used to playing women who gotta gain 40 pounds and wear an apron so I said oh god, I gotta lose weight. I gotta learn to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. You know? I gotta lose my belly. And then I ask myself, well, why do I have to do all of that? I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. And, I just recently embraced that at 51. I think my strongest power is that at 10 o’ clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I’m not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me. My size. My hue. My age. And you sit. And you experience. And I think that’s the only power I have an artist so I thank you for this award and I do see her. Just like I see me. ”