Wednesday, January 18, 2023

3 Secrets Of Viola Davis From Her Memoir Finding Me

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On screens and in magazines, we see celebrities in their scripted, sovereign form. They’re promoting their latest projects, selling a new book, or expanding their brand on social media. However, books remain a more vulnerable medium for many of Hollywood’s best and brightest. In their memoir, they reveal the things they overcame to become famous and the challenges they may still face.

A Triple Crown winner of two Tony Awards, an Oscar and an Emmy Award, Viola Davis is just one Grammy away from coveted EGOT status. She could seal the deal at the 2023 Grammys in February for the audio narration of her 2022 memoir. Find me. Davis is vulnerable in the book, opening up about trials in her childhood to the ‘career change’ casting in Shonda Rhimes’ How to get away with murder. Here’s more of what Davis shared with readers.

Davis was a household name long before he played Amanda Waller in 2016 The Suicide Squad. In fact, she already had her Emmy Award and two Tonys under her belt at this point. However, that didn’t mean she was immune to people questioning her right to belong in Hollywood — especially when it came from Will Smith.

“Eight or nine white boys in my class made it their daily ritual at the end of school to chase me like dogs chasing prey,” she wrote, according to an excerpt on Buzzfeed, adding that it felt like she would they run for their lives . Decades later during the suicide squad Smith reportedly asked who she was. “Viola, who are you?”

Davis says she asked him what he meant, according to USA Today. “Look, I’ll always be that 15-year-old boy whose girlfriend broke up with him,” Smith told her. “It will always be me. So who are you?”

“There I was, a working actress with a regular gig, Broadway credits, multiple industry awards, and a reputation for bringing professionalism and excellence to every project. Heck, Oprah knew who I was,” Davis wrote. “But as I sat there talking to Will Smith, I was still this little, scared, third-grade black girl.”

Davis is revered for her acting skills, which come into their own in projects such as The help and Fences. She was the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Female Actress in a Drama Series (eg How to get away with murder in 2015). In 2022 she was the main actress The Woman Kingtakes on grueling stunts and trains to play a convincing Nanisca.

Though she’s earned the right to win top prizes on an action movie (and pretty much every project she thinks about taking on these days), Davis admitted in her memoir that she’s still prone to it, at times getting hit by the stars. At the top of the list was none other than George Clooney. The two played together in 2002 Solaris, so had rapport. Later, at Davis’ premiere for Far from heavenClooney learned that Davis had married her longtime partner Julius Tennon and invited her to his spectacular Italian villa.

Clooney let the couple stay for free and sent a car to pick them up from Milan. They ate gourmet meals overlooking Lake Como in one of the most memorable vacations of their lives. “I felt like I was there The Great Gatsby‘ Davis wrote of the experience.

Eating out in Italy is a far cry from the home of Rhode Island, where Davis grew up. She is the fifth of six children, and her family was often without gas, electricity or other utilities. Their homes often smelled foul from a lack of clean linen and were infested with bugs. “In fact, the rats were so bad they ate my doll’s faces,” she wrote.

Davis’ father was an alcoholic and often physically abused her mother, Davis shared. She also opened up about her own history of sexual abuse: she and her sisters were at times molested by their brother. “My three sisters and I … were often left unattended in our apartment with my brother — sexual curiosity would cross the line,” Davis wrote. “He would hunt us. we would lose. Eventually, other inappropriate behavior emerged that had profound repercussions.”

Despite the significant injury, Davis struck a forgiving tone in her book. According to her, family members “made the best of what they were given.”

“There’s an emotional abandonment that comes with poverty and being black,” she explained. “The weight of generational trauma and the struggle for basic needs leave no room for anything else. You just think you’re the leftovers.”

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