Viola Davis is opening up about her career journey in Hollywood as a Black actress.
In an interview with Variety, during the Kering Women In Motion conversation at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the Oscar and Emmy-winning actress revealed that a male director once called her by his housekeeper’s name.
“He said, ‘Louise!’ I knew him for 10 years and he called me Louise and I find out that it’s because his maid’s name is Louise,” Davis told Variety. “I was maybe around 30 at the time, so it was a while ago. But what you have to realize is that those micro-aggressions happen all the time.”
Davis, 56, recently played former first lady Michelle Obama in Showtime’s The First Lady. She went on to discuss how Black actresses are expected to play stereotypical roles, making it more difficult to land other parts.
“If I wanted to play a mother whose family lives in a low-income neighborhood and my son was a gang member who died in a drive-by shooting, I could get that made. If I played a woman who was looking to recreate herself by flying to Nice and sleeping with five men at the age of 56 — looking like me, I’m going to have a hard time pushing that one, even as Viola Davis,” she said.
The actress and producer previously discussed some of the challenges she’s faced in Hollywood, when she sat down with Oprah Winfrey in April for an interview about her life and her memoir, “Finding Me.”
In the book, the How to Get Away with Murder actress shares details about her impoverished past and the progress that still needs to be made in Hollywood.