Viola Davis Chats About Beauty and Acceptance With Essence

The actress admits to being called ugly as a child and why she wants her daughter to love her hair.

Posted: 09/06/2013 09:18 AM EDT
Viola Davis, Essence Magazine

(Photo: Essence Magazine, October 2013)

It's hard to imagine that Viola Davis spent her childhood being called ugly because if those bullies saw her gracing the October issue of Essence, "beautiful" and "radiant" would be the words that would come to mind instead. The 48-year-old actress shines as she opens up about natural beauty, struggling with her mom's own insecurities and what she hopes to instill in her two-year-old daughter.

When it comes to motherhood, Davis is fairly new to the game having adopted her newborn daughter Genesis in 2011 with husband Julius Tennon (the pair also co-parent Tennon's two sons from previous relationships). And parenting is not a role she takes lightly, no matter how hard it can get, saying it is "five hundred million joys and a hundred million heartbreaks every single day."

Davis admits that her mother suffered from self-esteem issues and so the actress struggled with accepting her own beauty.

"My image of myself [as a youth] was in the mouths of young White kids calling me…ugly…and then going home to a mother who did not fully embrace her own beauty."

This is why she's keen on nurturing that sense of empowerment in Genesis starting with a love for her hair.

"There's not one woman in America who does not care about her hair," Davis says. "But we give it way too much value. We deprive ourselves of things, we use it to destroy each other, we'll look at a child and judge a mother and her sense of motherhood by the way the child's hair looks. I am not going to traumatize my child about her hair. I want her to love her hair."


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