Sep 23, 2019 0
September 23, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
(Check out her shoes!)
Sep 23, 2019 0
September 23, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
Last night Viola and Julius walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards. Viola’s black and white gown was designed by Alberta Ferretti.
Viola Davis Online > 2019 > September 22 | Emmy Awards
Sep 21, 2019 0
September 21, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
This Sunday the new L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman will vie for her second Emmy, a repeat nomination for her role on How to Get Away With Murder—what the actor has called “the ride of my career.”
Viola Davis has a way of holding a room. No airs, no ego—there’s nothing inflated about her because she can’t possibly deflate. At least that’s the feeling she cast on a recent afternoon, inside a sunlit hotel suite floating above the Times Square scrum. One needs a kind of regal fortitude to take on her slate of upcoming roles, including the blues pioneer Ma Rainey and Michelle Obama. Davis is solid, anchored. The velvet voice is just window dressing.
But let me tell you, as the Los Angeles actor unspooled her morning routine in a drawn-out coo, she could have sold a Jacuzzi, steam shower, and massage chair to someone living in a sliver of a Brooklyn apartment. “I’m a spa–bathroom girl. I’m not a closet–clothes girl,” she says, qualifying her indulgences. “I spend all of my time in my bathroom.”
Since the early days of her career, definitions of movie-star glamour have evolved. “We’re moving into a new era,” she says. Her appointment as a L’Oréal global ambassador—”at 54, being dark-skinned, being someone who is very specific in terms of how I look”—itself marks a shift. The days of mismatched foundation on set are thankfully over for her. “I’m on the big-‘fro idea—I’ve stayed on that for the last couple of years,” she says, referring to the airborne curls that have lately defined her silhouette on the red carpet, and might accompany her again on Sunday. In the meantime, Davis talks about Cicely Tyson as an inspiration, her “heaven-sent” wellness gadget, and the anticipation of playing the former first lady.
Vanity Fair: You’re nominated for another Emmy this year. How do you prepare for the day? Are there mental jitters, or are you cool as a cucumber?
Viola Davis: It depends on if I even think I’m going to win—because it gets to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the internet or whatever. The nerves are higher when you feel like you could win. But still I always follow my routine. Usually with a day like the Emmys, the glam squad comes at 11. I’m an early riser. First thing, I get in the Jacuzzi with my husband, and we melt. We have a ton of water and we melt and we talk. We work out. I have something that I call a heaven-sent gift, which is a Kahuna massage chair. It has about 20 different settings—my favorite is the deep-tissue massage—and it massages from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. I’ll get in there anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. I fall asleep and drool, mouth gaping open. And then I get in my steam shower. Now that’s a woman-of-privilege preparation! But I love the steam shower because I like detoxing my skin. When I walk out I feel like [big inhale, big exhale]. And then I run around with my daughter, Genesis.
Do you get a facial as well, or is that enough to prep your skin?
I would like to sell you a bill of goods and say I do, but I do my own facials. I have my routine stuff: I do overnight masks and red-carpet facial kits. [I like] that honey balm from L’Oréal and the eye stuff. I do all that every day. Every once in a while I’ll get an idea [for hair and makeup], but for the most part with my glam squad, I like people who I can give myself over to. Whatever they come up with is going to be better than I could ever imagine.
For so long what qualified as Hollywood glamour was narrowly defined. How are you seeing things shift on the red carpet? I think about Tracee Ellis Ross’s turbans or the time that Zendaya wore locs.
You mention two really great examples of it. As the world is changing, I think that people want to be more authentic. They don’t want to assimilate anymore. They don’t want to be filtered. Here’s the thing about a red carpet that people don’t know, unless you’ve been on it: You’re trying to find a balance between belonging there—not feeling like a square peg in a round hole—but at the same time being your authentic self. I think that’s the key to Zendaya and Tracee Ellis Ross. They’re feeling like, Okay, I’m going to get on this red carpet, and I’m going to make all those photographers click, click, click away, but I’m going to be me. As we’re moving into all of it—the #MeToo era, the diversity–inclusivity era, the LGBTQ community—people don’t want to be in a box anymore. With Billy Porter, certainly you see that. A lot of natural hairstyles, too, with black women. We don’t want the culture to define us in that way.
You’ve spoken about how Hollywood has dictated the storytelling for people of color. What about the beauty industry?
The beauty industry has absolutely historically done that. They’ve literally been at the forefront of that—putting images out there where women of color have been excluded. But I think that we’re seeing a shift now. It’s just more diverse, and so beauty, art, TV, entertainment—everything has to reflect that. The days of Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island—they’re relics now.
I was backstage at fashion label Pyer Moss’s show earlier this month, with an all-black cast, and the narrative was very much about reclaiming the cultural contributions of people of color. By having the storytellers change, the story changes.
Absolutely. We have to realize that we are our history. There’s a reason why we have been excluded in the narratives for so long. Historically we have been negated; we have been told that we are less than. Now we are fighting for our space. We’re not waiting for other people to get it.
Growing up, did you have any particularly frustrating experiences at the makeup counter?
I have so many makeup-counter memories. They’re just too numerous to name. Getting a job in another city and forgetting foundation—especially foundation—and not being able to find anything at any drugstore. I remember doing plays, or even some TV shows, where there has been a makeup artist who absolutely said they knew how to put makeup on me, and we’ve had to cancel makeup consultations. We’ve had to redo my hair. For a lot of the [hair and makeup artists], especially back in the day, that just wasn’t their past.
What about icons who helped shape your conception of beauty?
Melba Moore, who I was like, Oh, my God, this is beauty. And Ms. Tyson. Ms. Cicely Tyson. I mean, her short hair, those beautiful lips, and the earrings and the bone structure. I thought that she was just beautiful. And [the makeup] was never too caked on. I still felt like I saw her natural beauty underneath everything that she wore.
What sorts of beauty lessons were you exposed to at home?
It’s a hard one because my mom never really wore makeup. There was some lipstick, and she wore wigs—and they were beautiful wigs, by the way. And she always loved to show her legs. She had awesome legs, so she wore sort of miniskirts and heels, and she would go to the Salvation Army to get really flamboyant faux-fur coats. And my aunt Joyce. She was a larger-size woman, and oh, my God, me and my sisters thought she was beautiful. She always wore the latest styles: the flare-leg pants and big hooped earrings, the Afro back in the day, and the shimmery makeup on her cheeks. She never felt restricted by her size. She dressed very beautifully.
News of the future Michelle Obama project is buzzing for you. Is there a different set of nerves to step into a character who’s a public figure—and who also might watch?
I haven’t really started because I’m still doing my TV show. But I have all those fears, and the reason why I have all those fears is because people feel like Michelle Obama belongs to them. They’re going to scrutinize it in a way that they wouldn’t scrutinize [other performances]. I just finished Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Ma Rainey was the mother of the blues—but most people don’t know who she is, so they’re not going to scrutinize it as much, even though I did enormous research. I do want to honor [Obama]. I would never make her feel uncomfortable with anything. But as an actor, the ultimate goal is just to take a risk, and to dare to fail. You’ve got to do it. If that is the scariest thing that I’m facing, at least I know, at 54, that I’ll survive it. What’s more important is that I honor her essence, the character of what she exudes. There’s not one woman that has not felt inspired by her.
You mentioned the research you did for Ma Rainey. What sort of physical and mental transformations did that role entail?
Well, I wore a fat suit for Ma Rainey, which I thought was extraordinary. It’s something called the ‘given circumstances’ in acting: What did she look like? What did her teeth look like? How big was she? What did her hair look like? Was she gay or straight, bisexual? And whatever it says she is, is who she is. If they say she wore a horsehair wig, then she wore a horsehair wig.
How did it feel to slip into a different body?
Fantastic. I loved it. There’s a sense of confidence with her because she owned her sexuality—she was a bisexual woman—and she was a leader. She had her own band that she paid, and she was an entrepreneur in 1927, Jim Crow America. And there’s a certain confidence that comes in being a performer in front of people. You have to own a room. I am a stage actor, of course, but that was a whole different sort of confidence that I had to embody, just coming onstage and being that flamboyant with the makeup and the hair. Transformation is exciting in acting. It’s great being in somebody else’s skin—it just is. Walking through life as an actor, I feel like I notice everything about people. I see people as beautiful. The things that you probably would look away from—someone’s nose dripping, or someone feeling really geeky and awkward, or someone having bad skin, or someone crying and having a breakdown and putting themselves together with their compact—all of that I find interesting. Everything that makes us human, I love.
Sep 10, 2019 0
September 10, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
Such exciting news! Thank you to People.com for sharing it!
The actress joins Céline Dion, Eva Longoria and Helen Mirren as a face of L’Oréal Paris
Viola Davis is the newest face of L’Oréal Paris!
The 54-year-old How to Get Away With Murder actress says she never associated herself with “beauty and femininity” when she was growing up, so to team with one of the beauty industry’s most iconic brands is a monumental moment for the star.
“It feels surreal,” Davis tells PEOPLE. “First of all, and you can take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, I never thought that I could be an international spokesperson for L’Oréal. The fact that I am, it feels like my life has come full circle.”
As a young girl, the actress says she never thought she had the attributes of a beauty spokesperson, since she didn’t see women that looked like her represented in advertisements or the media.
“When I thought of beauty and femininity when I was a young scrappy girl growing up in Central Falls, Rhode Island, I didn’t associate it with myself,” Davis says. “I didn’t think that I had all those attributes that women who are seen like that should have.”
But now, she’s proud to “reject so much of those notions.” Davis says: “It feels right to me. And I feel like L’Oréal found me at a perfect time, I sort of found them at a perfect time, sort of like how I found my husband, you know?”
Starting next month, Davis will from all TV, print and digital campaigns for L’Oréal Paris’ Age Perfect line. She’s joining a crew of other A-list L’Oréal Paris ambassadors, including Eva Longoria, Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Céline Dion, Aja Naomi King and Camila Cabello.
“The whole L’Oréal moniker, ‘I’m worth it,’ always gives me chills,” Davis says. “I think that statement is everything. It’s the sort of mantra we should tell all our little girls.”
Sep 10, 2019 0
September 10, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
Oscar winner Viola Davis stops by TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to discuss a new Showtime series about influential first ladies in which she’ll portray Michelle Obama. She also talks about a new project with L’Oreal Paris that centers around beauty, empowerment and representation.
Aug 26, 2019 0
August 26, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
Variety shares the exciting news that Viola will be portraying former first lady Michelle Obama.
It’s fair to say that Viola Davis’ potential next TV role will come with a lot of pressure.
The actress has signed on to play former First Lady Michelle Obama in a series titled “First Ladies” which is in the works at Showtime. The network has given the prospective one-hour drama a three-script commitment, with novelist Aaron Cooley on board to write and executive produce.
The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of First Ladies from throughout history, with season one focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama. “First Ladies” will turn it lens on the East Wing of the White House, as opposed to the West, where many of history’s most impactful and world changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies.
Davis and her partner Julius Tennon serve as non-writing executive producers on the project via their JuVee Productions banner, alongside Cathy Schulman via Welle Entertainment, Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media, and Brad Kaplan via LINK Entertainment. The series hails from Showtime and Lionsgate Television.
Michelle Obama has been portrayed on film before, but never on television. She was notably played by Tika Sumpter in the 2016 picture “Southside With You.”
The Obamas are making the leap into content production themselves via their recently launched Higher Ground Productions. So far, the company’s originals slate is staying away from anything directly involving politics, with “Bloom,” an upstairs/downstairs drama series set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City, and a feature film adaptation of author David W. Blight’s “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” high up on the list.
Davis’ TV schedule is set to clear up in early 2020 as her five-year, six-season stint on “How to Get Away with Murder” comes to an end. Speaking at Variety’s Inclusion Summit earlier this year, Davis discussed some of her upcoming projects with JuVee and how to stop Hollywood from “dictating the storytelling” for people of color.
“If you look to the past and look at storytelling where there’s a huge deficit in terms of our voice and our presence, that’s not a good place to start,” she said. “What we have to fight for, and this is what I’m proud about with JuVee, is autonomy in storytelling and production and all of it. Don’t just tell me that the only way Viola can exist in the story is if a white person is leading the charge and I’m in the background.”
Aug 02, 2019 0
August 2, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
A giant thank you to Claudia from Never Enough Design for our beautiful new header and theme. I love how this beautiful shoot shows a softer side of Viola’s personality.
Jul 16, 2019 0
July 16, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
CONGRATULATIONS VIOLA! So deserved!
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Mandy Moore (“This Is Us”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Jul 11, 2019 0
July 11, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
For 5 seasons they’ve gotten away with it. Now it’s the beginning of the end. The killer final season of How to Get Away with Murder premieres Thursday September 26th on ABC.
Jun 25, 2019 0
June 25, 2019 • Ali • Leave a Comment
When Viola Davis started her production company nearly a decade ago, she was determined to bring about change in Hollywood with a strategic mandate: Normalize people of color on screen.
“We’re not social statements. We’re not mythical creatures all the time … you can literally put pen to paper and write a great story that includes people of color, and it could actually sell,” the Oscar winner said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Now, in the era of Time’s Up and #MeToo, the call for diversity on all levels has been amplified. Some actors and directors have publicly called for 50-50 inclusion riders, contractual stipulations for the diversity of a film’s cast and crew. But Davis says she doesn’t need a piece of paper to do the right thing, and her projects don’t try to replicate diversity simply based on statistics.
“Maybe that’s narcissistic of me, but I don’t want to tell my daughter that because she’s 12 percent of the population, she only deserves 12 percent of the pie,” Davis said.
She calls her JuVee Productions a “walking metaphor” of inclusion, noting that she has people of color and members of the LGBTQ community on staff at every level.
“Women are at the forefront of just about every project,” she adds.
She started JuVee Productions with her husband, Julius Tennon, in 2011 so she could have more of a voice in her own career, as well as provide more diversity on set. Before that, Davis says, she often felt left out of the conversation.
Davis spoke to the AP while promoting a documentary on diabetes, “A Touch of Sugar.” The actress, who has an early form of the disease and has lost family members to it, wants to use her celebrity to help raise awareness.
“That’s what I can do. I’m not a politician. I’m not a senator. I’m not in the House of Representatives. I’m not in Congress. What I am is an artist. That’s how I provoke change,” Davis said.
Earlier this month, she signed on to Netflix’s adaptation of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” to be produced by Denzel Washington and co-starring Chadwick Boseman.
And JuVee has a slate of films on the horizon, including “Emanuel,” a documentary released this month that explores life in a Charleston, South Carolina, community after a self-avowed white supremacist killed nine African Americans at a church there in 2015. The story focuses on the victims’ family members, friends and community, and their efforts to heal through faith and forgiveness after the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Church. Dylann Roof was convicted of federal hate-crime and obstruction-of-religion charges and sentenced to death.
Davis also has a feature film in development, “The Personal History of Rachel Dupree,” in which she stars. It is based on the Ann Weisgarber novel about a pregnant woman struggling to survive with her homesteading family in the early 1900s.