All Time Famous Viola Davis Quotes

Viola Davis Quotes

Viola Davis is a highly acclaimed American actress and producer, born on August 11, 1965. With a background from the Juilliard School, she initially made a name in theater, earning a Tony Award for her role in “Fences.” Davis gained widespread recognition for her film work, notably receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Fences” (2016). She made history as the first African American actress to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting” – an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy. Her television contributions include starring in “How to Get Away with Murder,” winning a Primetime Emmy. Davis, along with her husband, Julius Tennon, established JuVee Productions to promote inclusivity in the entertainment industry. A trailblazer and advocate for diversity, Viola Davis continues to leave an indelible mark on Hollywood.

Viola Davis Quotes

1. “They say the two most important days in a persons life were the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.”
— Viola Davis

2. “You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny.”
— Viola Davis

3. “When you pray, God puts people in your life to lead you when you cannot lead yourself.”
— Viola Davis

4. “You can’t be hesitant about who you are.”
— Viola Davis

5. “When your passion and drive are bigger than your fears, you just dive.”
— Viola Davis

6. “Anything can be achieved with a good, healthy dose of courage.”
— Viola Davis

7. “They say, ‘To serve is to love,’ and I think to serve is to heal, too.”
— Viola Davis

8. “I had several teachers who inspired me, in both the public school system and the Upward Bound program. I needed several, because I lived in such abject poverty and dysfunction. And they’re still in my life today, because I consider them to be friends, actually.”
— Viola Davis

9. “I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.”
— Viola Davis

10. “All you really need to do is shift people just a tiny bit for change to happen. It doesn’t have to be huge and humongous.”
— Viola Davis

11. “Do not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is you. Womanhood is everything that’s inside of you.”
— Viola Davis

12. “Sometimes you see how humanity can rise above any kind of cultural ills and hate that a person’s capacity to love and communicate and forgive can be bigger than anything else.”
— Viola Davis

13. “In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful, white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”
— Viola Davis

14. “Tyler Perry’s ‘Madea Goes to Jail!’ Which, I have to tell you, of everything that I’ve ever done in my career, that’s the only thing that’s perked up the ears of my nieces and nephews. That is it, that’s done it for them. That made me a bona fide star in their eyes!”
— Viola Davis

15. “Let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
— Viola Davis

16. “I don’t want anyone putting any limits on me.”
— Viola Davis

17. “When you’re really passionate, you’re going to grab hold of every rope you see, and wrap them around your arms and legs to claw your way out. And that’s the way I’ve felt in my life.”
— Viola Davis

18. “I would love to be remembered as a person who used her life to inspire others in any way, shape or form.”
— Viola Davis

19. “Motherhood is 50 million heartbreaking moments, and 100 million joyous ones.”
— Viola Davis

20. “Ordinary people who are just kind of just going about their lives are transformed into heroes because they have the courage to put their voices out there. I think that’s a powerful message in this time of political strife.”
— Viola Davis

21. “And that’s what people want to see when they go to the theater. I believe at the end of the day, they want to see themselves – parts of their lives they can recognize. And I feel if I can achieve that, it’s pretty spectacular.”
— Viola Davis

22. “At the end of the day, nobody can tell you how to tackle failure or how to handle change. The world is very good at encouraging you to go along with the status quo and at basking in your successes.”
— Viola Davis

23. “No matter what, people don’t think of me for glamorous parts. I’ll go to an audition or a meeting in a pretty dress, and they still think of me as depressed or embattled. Hopefully, that will change.”
— Viola Davis

24. “I can be busy for three years and you may not even know what I’m busy doing because you only see me in a few scenes here or there, but I’ve been working my tail off because there’s just not a lot.”
— Viola Davis

25. “The world is very good at encouraging you to go along with the status quo and at basking in your successes. But when you hit a wall in your personal life, and you screw up, people don’t give you a chance to navigate your way through it and tap into what’s extraordinary about you.”
— Viola Davis

26. “Creativity only resonates if you infuse real life into the work.”
— Viola Davis

27. “You don’t get the pay-off when you’re playing a quiet character, so sometimes you want to just throw out all your work and say, “Okay, let me do something really funny or gimmicky, just so that I can get some attention in this scene.””
— Viola Davis

28. “We grew up in abject poverty. Acting, writing scripts and skits were a way of escaping our environment at a very young age.”
— Viola Davis

29. “I guess they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention” because you have two stark choices when you find yourself in a really desperate situation. You can either fold and cave-in to it or you can become really passionate about getting out of it.”
— Viola Davis

30. “I think that you always want to gravitate towards people who absolutely are great at what they do and go for authenticity.”
— Viola Davis

31. “I want my work to reflect my level of gifts and talent.”
— Viola Davis

32. “Relationships change us and make us grow.”
— Viola Davis

33. “Sometimes you take a job for the money, sometimes you take it for the location, sometimes you take it for the script; there are just a number of reasons, and ultimately what you see is the whole landscape of it. But I can tell you from behind the scenes – that’s what it is, as an actor.”
— Viola Davis

34. “My biggest discovery was that you can literally re-create your life. You can redefine it. You don’t have to live in the past. I found that not only did I have fight in me, I had love.”
— Viola Davis

35. “And I sit in my jacuzzi with my script.”
— Viola Davis

36. “As an artist, you’ve got to see the mess. That’s what we do. We get a human being, and it’s like putting together a puzzle. And the puzzle has got to be a mixture, a multifaceted mixture of human emotions, and not all of it is going to be pretty.”
— Viola Davis

37. “If the opportunity is not out there for you to play it, then you don’t see it.”
— Viola Davis

38. “We as artists cannot be politicians. We as artists can only be truth-tellers.”
— Viola Davis

39. “Your internal dialogue has got to be different from what you say. And, you know, in film, hopefully that registers and speaks volumes. It’s always the unspoken word and what’s happening behind someone’s eyes that makes it so rich.”
— Viola Davis

40. “It would be great to bust through and make history. But what’s more important is the opportunity to continue to get roles that are complicated and wonderful, to be a part of the narrative and to get to do what our counterparts are able to do. It doesn’t just stop at holding an award.”
— Viola Davis

41. “It’s harder to work with people who are not as dedicated to their craft. It also leaves you a better actor when you finish the project, since you always feel like you’ve learned something.”
— Viola Davis

42. “I love Wal-Mart. You can put that down. I love Wal-Mart. My husband and I hang out there.”
— Viola Davis

43. “I’ve always just simply seen myself as an actor. And I believe that it serves me well to just think in terms of my craft. If hypothetically, I saw myself only as a sex symbol, or as some other limited stereotype, I think I would feel like a complete failure.”
— Viola Davis

44. “May you live long enough to know why you were born.”
— Viola Davis

45. “We know the road of lack of recognition, of people telling us that we can’t headline a movie because black women don’t translate overseas, that every time we try to break the glass ceiling, people say no, people push back. And it’s everything that people don’t see out there.”
— Viola Davis

46. “Cicely Tyson was my inspiration to become an actor.”
— Viola Davis

47. “It’s always hard to be private in public, which is what acting is because you have to do thing really emotionally naked.”
— Viola Davis

48. “I do believe that there are African Americans who have thick accents. My mom has a thick accent; my relatives have thick accents. But sometimes you have to adjust when you go into the world of film, TV, theatre, in order to make it accessible to people.”
— Viola Davis

49. “I’ve been to acting school and I think that at the end of the day, when you just focus on the work and you’re comfortable with who you are, that at some point someone’s going to recognize your talent and give you an opportunity.”
— Viola Davis

50. “You absolutely feel, as a black actress, that you’ve got to ride the wave because there’s just so few roles. I hate to play that card, but it’s the truth. There’s not a lot of roles.”
— Viola Davis

51. “I would love to star in a remake of Thelma and Louise. Yep, that’s the one I’d be interested in redoing.”
— Viola Davis

52. “And ‘classically not beautiful’ is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you.”
— Viola Davis

53. “Ultimately, it’s not your job, as an actress, to satisfy people’s expectations or image of who you should be. Even in your life, you are just who you are.”
— Viola Davis

54. “I want to span different genres. I want to be able to transform. I want to be able to be sexy, and funny, and quirky, and all the other things that I am. And I feel that the best way that I can achieve that is by producing.”
— Viola Davis

55. “I am not a writer, but I feel that when our production company is successful, we’ll be able to give some young writers with fresh voices an opportunity to put their work out there.”
— Viola Davis

56. “Your only job as an artist is to put the truth out there into the world.”
— Viola Davis

57. “I’ve always seen myself for who I am, which is a lot of things.”
— Viola Davis

58. “To me, it’s always a luxury to be able to work with the best of the best because they make it easier for you to do what you do.”
— Viola Davis

59. “It feels really good to embrace exactly who I am and be my sexy, to be my sexualized, to be my woman.”
— Viola Davis

60. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
— Viola Davis

61. “I think that’s something that people feel that I do really well; I don’t mind it, because ultimately I think the characters I play move people, and who wouldn’t want to move people?”
— Viola Davis

62. “One of the people I’ve always wanted to emulate in pursuing that dream was Meryl Streep, in terms of the different types of roles she’s been able to play and the number of different stories she’s been able to tell.”
— Viola Davis

63. “It’s harder to play a quiet character because everything happens in their stream of consciousness. They’re thinking and feeling the world, but they’re saying very little, so then you have to communicate it through your behavior.”
— Viola Davis

64. “I am not a glam woman – this definitely is a mask I put on for the public.”
— Viola Davis

65. “When you see what the deficit is, then you have to do something about it.”
— Viola Davis

66. “I started a production company out of necessity, the need for great narratives for actors of color.”
— Viola Davis

67. “People are just not impressed by me at home.”
— Viola Davis

68. “When you’re working as an actor, you don’t think that when you get out of school, it’s going to be so hard to get a job. Just to get a job. Any job. Whatsoever. You don’t think that people are going to see you in a certain way.”
— Viola Davis

69. “I can’t speak for the Kathryn Stockett, but I would guess that she feels proud of the progress the South has made because, growing up, she experienced a very different Mississippi than the one that exists today.”
— Viola Davis

70. “That’s how I digest it, ’cause I can press the fast-forward button and I know that I’m gonna have to continue to be an actor, continue to make choices, continue to perform in a show every week.”
— Viola Davis

71. “I think that I’m coming off as the biggest alcoholic in the world.”
— Viola Davis

72. “It’s time for people to see us, people of colour, for what we really are: complicated.”
— Viola Davis

73. “It’s not anything that is just perpetuated by White America or just perpetuated by Black America. It’s just a cultural understanding that you’re just not a part of the equation when it comes to sexuality and I think that people mistake your lack of opportunity with the level of your talent.”
— Viola Davis

74. “I needed to make my wig ogg because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am.”
— Viola Davis

75. “For a whole generation of Black people we were the dream. We were their hope. We were the baton they were passing as they were sinking into the quicksand of racism, poverty, Jim Crow, segregation, injustice, family trauma, and dysfunction.”
— Viola Davis

76. “I now understand that life, and living it, is more about being present. I’m now aware that the not-so-happy memories lie in wait; but the hope and the joy also lie in wait.”
— Viola Davis

77. “Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye says that “a person’s love is only as good as the person; a stupid person loves stupidly, a violent man loves violently.”
— Viola Davis

78. “We were “po.” That’s a level lower than poor. I’ve heard some of my friends say, “We were poor, too, but I just didn’t know it until I got older.” We were poor and we knew it.”
— Viola Davis

79. “The sentiment that I had a little trouble with was the idea that, “You change the school, you change the community.” I couldn’t wrap my mind around that.”
— Viola Davis

80. “And whereas I can’t live inside yesterday’s pain, I can’t live without it.”
— Viola Davis

81. “Memories are immortal. They’re deathless and precise.”
— Viola Davis

82. “It’s futile to ask why. Instead ask yourself, ‘What did I learn from this?’” What have I learned from all of it? There is absolutely no way whatsoever to get through this life without scars.”
— Viola Davis

83. “Eating bread in Hollywood is a no-no!”
— Viola Davis

84. “Everything had been hard for me. I mastered hard. Now, I wanted joy.”
— Viola Davis

85. “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a different past.”
— Viola Davis

86. “As soon as he came into my life, my life got better because I created a family with him, with someone who loved me. I was no longer solely defined by the family that raised me and my childhood memories.”
— Viola Davis

87. “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a different past. They tell you successful therapy is when you have the big discovery that your parents did the best they could with what they were given.”
— Viola Davis

88. “There was an expectation of perfectionism without the knowledge of emotional well-being.”
— Viola Davis

89. “Courage is the cure.”
— Viola Davis

90. “When you’re poor, you live in an alternate reality. It’s not that we have problems different from everyone else, but we don’t have the resources to mask them. We’ve been stripped clean of social protocol.”
— Viola Davis

91. “I could create my own family and I could create it intentionally with what I had learned.”
— Viola Davis

92. “When my dad passed, part of my heart went with him that’s never coming back. I feel the same way about Julius. I feel the same way about my child, my mom, sisters. It’s one heart. They are completely entwined in my spirit.”
— Viola Davis

93. “I knew my life would be a fight, and I realized this: I had it in me.”
— Viola Davis

94. “I’m no longer ashamed of me. I own everything that has ever happened to me. The parts that were a source of shame are actually my warrior fuel. I see people – the way they walk, talk, laugh, and grieve, and their silence – in a way that is hyperfocused because of my past. I’m an artist because there’s no separation from me and every human being that has passed through the world including my mom.”
— Viola Davis

95. “I answered the call to adventure…”
— Viola Davis

96. “They have the power of giving you joy and perspective in hard times. Or, they can strangle you. Define you in a way that’s based more in other people’s tucked-up perceptions than truth.”
— Viola Davis

97. “We are after all observers of life. We are after all a conduit, a channeler of people. What you haven’t resolved in your life can absolutely become an obstacle in the work that you do.”
— Viola Davis

98. “It is a widely held belief that dark-skinned women just don’t do it for a lot of Black men. It’s a mentality rooted in both racism and misogyny, that you have no value as a woman if you do not turn them on, if you are not desirable to them. It’s ingrained thinking, dictated by oppression.”
— Viola Davis

99. “Being with that group of women who so easily gave up their vanity and just went for it was a huge learning curve for me.”
— Viola Davis

100. “Taking off the wig in HTGAWM was my duty to honor Black women by not showing an image that is palatable to the oppressor, to people who have tarnished, punished the image of Black womanhood for so long. It said all of who we are is beautiful. Even our imperfections.”
— Viola Davis

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