It's not often you get to share a room with Viola Davis, but when you do, you know something big is happening. This week, I got to watch in awe—standing just a few steps away from the 54-year-old Oscar-winning actress—as I learned she had been named the new face of L’Oréal Paris. Davis is joining the ranks of women like Celine Dion, Aja Naomi King, and Helen Mirren.
L’Oréal is devoted to encouraging self-worth and inclusivity, and Davis' incredible career on the big screen and as a humanitarian is an extension of that message.
You've seen Davis star in award-winning films like Fences and The Help, and stun us all in her bone-chilling role in ABC's How To Get Away with Murder. She does not take her responsibility as an actress lightly, and uses her platform to be a force for representation. “Power concedes nothing without a demand," Davis told the room, with conviction in her voice. "What we have found in history culturally is that women, but especially women of color, have been considered less-than and not as beautiful. This has permeated in every aspect of our culture, including the entertainment industry. In the past, there’s been limitations on how we’re seen. I see myself as a person who can be an instrument of change."
Like many women, growing up, Davis did not feel seen in the limiting images of the media. As L’Oréal's latest spokesperson, she is revolutionizing what the world once deemed as "beautiful" and creating a new standard we all should embody: one of self-worth.
"There are so many obstacles and roadblocks that tell you you aren’t enough," Davis shared with the audience. "We’re constantly bombarded by images in the media of perfection, and when we can’t achieve that perfection we crawl into the space of shame. If we’re not thin or so-called 'classically beautiful.' I have spent the greater portion of my life looking at so many images of women who did not see their worth. So, I mirrored their behavior until I hit a wall and realized that I lived half of my life like I didn’t have value."
That's why Davis is so proud to join a brand that champions for women's worth and amplifies diverse perspectives. "You were born worthy, and there’s nothing you have to earn to be worthy," Davis reassured the room.
After being asked what this big step into the beauty world means to her, the actress said: "I feel like my life has come full circle. Before turning 54, I didn’t know that I had the power to reject everything that the culture has dictated about me. At 54, I feel like I’ve been reborn. I fought and survived a really dramatic childhood. And I’m still able to inject the world with a semblance of love, kindness, and philanthropy. I have a daughter who I’m now teaching about worth, and a husband who I know loves me. I’m getting better and better."
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