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Viola Davis On Learning To Embrace Her Glow Up & The Woman She's Become

"Sometimes you have to give yourself permission."

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This year, we'll be forced to say goodbye to one of the most iconic characters in television's history. Never have we ever seen a woman rip off her wig, expose her underlying Meek Mill braids, and cry her heart out as beautifully as Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder, and sadly after this season, we'll probably never see it again.

Annalise Keating has made us laugh, cry, and curse at the TV, but underneath that fierce lace front and banging body is a woman born in St. Matthews, South Carolina who never knew just how much greatness she was destined for. In an intimate conversation about the bittersweet ending of the show, Viola Davis told People that her role in HTGAWM was not only transformative for her career but triggered a major evolution in her personal life as well. She explained:

"I'll miss Annalise Keating. I don't know if I'm going to meet someone like her again."

To Viola, her role as Annalise was not just a role, but a wakeup call. In the interview, the now 54-year-old actress revealed that as a child who grew up in poverty, she often felt that her options for the future were slim. After growing up believing that she would never be anything more than a poor, "ugly" girl that other people convinced her she was, Viola says that her role as Annalise offered her an opportunity to develop a new, healthier self-image.

"Sometimes people have to give you permission to see yourself as better or more than what you think you are. That job gave me permission to see all my womanhood. I am a product of a culture that has dictated who I am, a dark-skinned black woman with lips and a nose and a deep voice. So all of a sudden this character, Annalise, comes in like a whirling dervish, and she's all of it. She's messy, almost sociopathic, sexual, mysterious, highly intelligent, a big personality. She's all of those adjectives that are not associated with me, and I've got to play her."

Viola Davis says that even today, the 13-year-old girl who she was follows her around and reminds her just how far she's come. When asked what advice she would give her teenaged-self, Viola had this to say:

"I would tell her that she was enough. I wasted so much time listening to the naysayers. And I just wish I had listened to the other voices of people saying that I was beautiful and talented."

Along with reminding herself that she's the sh*t, Viola said another gift she would give her younger self is the power of confirmation. Today, the HTGAWM actress has the confidence of 1000 Beyonce's, but first, she had to give herself permission to embrace her own glow-up:

"I always thought when you listen to that [strong inner voice] you're conceited. But I wish I had listened to that more. I wish I had pranced through the world with just hoity-toity confidence and over-exuberance."

To read Viola's full interview, click below!

Featured image by Film Magic/Getty Images.

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