Actress Viola Davis was the recipient of The Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the 2018 Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 annual Women in Entertainment event, held at the Milk Studios in Los Angeles. And against the backdrop of an ongoing national debate on gender and racial inequality, Davis challenged her audience to strive for a more parity in the industry, one that does not demand a higher standard for blacks, or tell them they are not enough.
“Don’t let anyone tell you who you are,” was one of the final admonishment she gave for women interested in walking her career path.
Davis’ mandate comes on the heels of her gracing this month’s edition of Hollywood Reporter Magazine’s cover, accompanied with a powerful interview with best-selling author and leadership guru Brené Brown in a raw exchange about trauma, healing, politics and how Time’s Up is changing Hollywood.
“I had the Oscar, I have two Tonys, I have the Emmy, I have a big house, and still — bam — unfulfilling. Then I realized it’s because I’m not living for significance and legacy,” said Davis in her magazine interview. “And this is a big one, and this sort of hurts a little bit: I’m finally admitting to myself that a lot of the jobs I’ve taken in the past because I knew that they would further my career have been things that I have not been proud of. They put more money in the bank, they raised my status, but at night they keep me up.”
Watch her full speech at the Power 100 event:
Photo credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images
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