Hollywood kicked off awards season last night with the Critics’ Choice Awards where Viola Davis was nominated for her roles in How to Get Away With Murder and Fences, and received the first-ever #SeeHer Award in recognition of bringing more three-dimensional women to the screen.
Upon receiving the award, Davis jokingly stated, “It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight.”
After laughter from the audience, she continued, “I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters by asking, ‘Why?’ You know, when I was handed [the role of] Annalise Keating, I said, ‘She’s sexy, she’s mysterious.’ 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 how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. I gotta lose my belly.’ And then I asked myself, ‘Well, why do I have to do all that?’”
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51,” Davis added. “I think my strongest power is that at 10 o’clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I am 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 as an artist, so I thank you for this award., and I DO see her, just like I see me.”
Davis also took home an award for best supporting actress for her role in the movie Fences.
Check out the entire speech above!