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Viola Davis admits luck played a part in her success

Viola Davis during a premiere for the television series ‘The First Lady’ in Los Angeles, California, US. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Viola Davis during a premiere for the television series ‘The First Lady’ in Los Angeles, California, US. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Published Apr 28, 2022

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Viola Davis thinks “luck” has played a big part in her success.

The 56-year-old actress has managed to claw her way out of poverty and become one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood – but she still struggles to explain her own success.

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Asked how she managed to transform her life, Viola said: “A huge part of it is that unexplained phenomena which is luck and blessings.

“But I found something that I really, really loved to do and I did it constantly. I did it to the best of my ability. I rode that horse. What I had, when I didn’t have confidence even when I didn’t have self love, what I had was drive.

“You find the joy, and the joy stomps out all the pain.”

Viola Davis, winner of the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’, in the press room during the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, US. EPA/Paul Buck

Viola has won a host of accolades during her career, including a Tony Award, Academy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.

But the acclaimed actress insists she won't be defined by her gongs.

She told the BBC: “I have the awards on my mantelpiece but I have to tell you that when I’m going through anything in my life, that don't help me.

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“The awards, I’m extremely grateful for them. I am literally in shock I was able to achieve what I have achieved, knowing my beginnings. But that's where it begins and ends.”

Despite her success, Viola recently confessed to being terrified of playing Michelle Obama in ‘The First Lady’.

The Hollywood star admitted that starring in the TV drama was a nerve-racking experience.

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She said: “You’re terrified whenever you start a job because you are afraid you are going to be found out – that’s big imposter syndrome. But with Michelle Obama, it’s like everyone has ownership over Michelle Obama.

“I mean, her book came out and it was (on every) best-seller list, everyone knows what she looks like what she sounds like, what her hair (is like), you know?”

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