Viola Davis gets real about representation in media, the changing beauty industry, and her top self-care rituals

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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 03: Viola Davis joins LOréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics on March 03, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for L'Oréal Paris )
Viola Davis celebrates the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics on March 03, 2020. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for L'Oréal Paris )

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At 55, Viola Davis has racked up an impressive list of credentials throughout her 33 years in film.

A lot has changed since she began acting, but the Oscar, Emmy and Tony-winning actor is one of many stars still working to change the face of the industry in order to transform it into a more diverse and inclusive space.

Alongside her husband Julius Tennon, Davis launched her own production company JuVee Productions in 2011, which recently announced a partnership with Amazon Studios to develop and produce exclusive content for Amazon Prime in more than 200 countries.

But Davis makes it known that launching her own production company was never about the power or money, but about creating space for herself in an industry that otherwise might not embrace everything that she has to offer.

Image courtesy of L'Oréal Paris.
Image courtesy of L'Oréal Paris.

“I became a producer out of necessity. I became a producer because I felt that there’s nothing out there for me if I don’t create it myself,” Davis said in an interview with Yahoo Canada Lifestyle.

“I wake up and I see myself in a lot of different ways, more so than what sometimes the white, male-driven Hollywood machine will see me as,” she continued. “The people who are on the periphery, and that’s African-American, Asian, Hispanic, the transgender community — if you’re not driving the ship, if you’re not fighting for it yourself, it’s just not going to be done.”

In addition to chatting about representation in the media, Davis also shared her thoughts on the changing beauty industry, how she’s been dealing with the current coronavirus pandemic, and her must-haves for finding moments of self-care.

The changing face of beauty

(L-R) Dr. Rocio Rivera, Viola Davis, Helen Mirren, Cara Kamenev and Lisa Ling join LOréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for L'Oréal Paris)
(L-R) Dr. Rocio Rivera, Viola Davis, Helen Mirren, Cara Kamenev and Lisa Ling join LOréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for L'Oréal Paris)

On top of her work in film on both the small and large screens, Davis’s partnership as a L’Oréal Paris spokesperson is highlighting how brands can help change the face of the industry beyond its often narrow definition of beauty.

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“In 33 years, I’ve had so many jobs where I’ll be in a small town somewhere in America and can’t find any makeup. When I was younger, if I couldn’t find the makeup, or somehow left my makeup at home, then that was it! I was like, ‘I’m not going to find it at the local drugstore, the lip shades are not going to be available, the foundation - absolutely not,” she said.To look at L’Oréal Paris as a brand and who they choose to represent them globally, it’s such a wide array of colours and ages. I never saw that growing up.”

On her quarantine beauty routine

“I’ve had a few days of indulging, and might I say I did very well with my makeup. Thank you L’Oréal Paris! But now I find that [I focus] more on what kind of moisturizers I use, the serums I use on my skin and how it makes my skin feel, like the Age Perfect Serum. But the serums that I use, how my skin tingles, it’s placed in self-care. Now it’s, ‘How do you feel Viola?’ Not how do you look, necessarily, but how does it make you feel?”

Family comes first

The importance of spending time with loved ones has never been more relevant than during difficult days of isolation and social distancing. Davis admits that “the anxiety and the stress level of COVID can be overwhelming,” but spending time with her husband and daughter Genesis is one way to take the edge off.

“I kiss [my daughter] all the time, and lately she’s really, really allowed me to kiss her as much as possible. It’s just the feeling of being in love! It makes me so happy. I just can kiss her and say, ‘I love you Genesis,’ and she says, ‘I love you Mommy.’ That is everything, and you know in the time of COVID how much a kiss means.”

Time to relax and unwind

When it comes to her favourite way to destress?

“Baths! Epsom salt baths! With Dr. Teal’s - a ton of it. All of them are my favourite [but] the eucalyptus is amazing. And nothing is better than a really good bathrobe, I cannot tell you. I’m a bathrobe girl, and I’m also an essential oil girl. ”

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