Viola Davis Discusses Historic Emmy Win In ‘Variety’


Newly-minted Emmy winner Viola Davis is opening up about her historic win at Sunday night’s award show (Sept. 20). Davis, who garnered the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in How to Get Away with Murder, spoke with Variety about the award’s personal significance, her turbulent journey to success, and how she has digested her groundbreaking win in the days that have followed.

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“It’s a mixture of disbelief and joy and acceptance,” she said. “It’s just beautiful.” Davis became the first African American woman to win in the category. But for the actress, this feat is bigger than an accolade.

“It’s not just the award. It’s what it’s going to mean to young girls — young brown girls, especially,” she said. “When they saw a physical manifestation of a dream, I felt like I had fulfilled a purpose.”

Davis, who was raised in Rhode Island with her mother (a maid), father (a horse trainer), and siblings, said that her Emmy win calls back the time that she lost the Miss Center Falls Recreation title at six years old. “I keep expecting to be that little girl who loses the contest,” she revealed.

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The actress is a veteran in the entertainment industry with over 35 years of experience and countless film and television credits under her belt. Additionally, she has racked up a multitude of award nominations, including two nods from the esteemed Academy Awards. Davis said getting to this point was no easy task. “I’m the journeyman actor that you saw in one scene here, two scenes there. I’ve been eking out a living doing theater — Broadway, Off Broadway — film supporting roles, that I’m just excited to be a part of the conversation.”

Davis returns to the small screen Thursday night (Sept. 24) with the season 2 premiere of ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder.