Actress Viola Davis sat down with journalist Tina Brown for the Women in the World Salon event in Los Angeles Tuesday night and discussed the accomplishments and setbacks of her 30-year-career.
After Hollywood critics likened Viola Davis and her work to that of Meryl Streep, who she co-starred alongside in the 2008 film, Doubt, the Academy Award winner says she is still being underpaid in comparison to her white acting contemporaries.
“People say, ‘You’re a black Meryl Streep … We love you. There is no one like you,” she said. “OK, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth.”
“I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver,” the Juilliard graduate continued. “They all came out of Yale, they came out of Juilliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them. Not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, no where close to it.”
Though she stars as the lead in Shonda Rhimes’ hit ABC show, How to Get Away With Murder, Davis lamented the types of disappointing roles Hollywood continues to offer her. “As an artist I want to build the most complicated human being but what I get is the third girl from the left.”
“I’m not hustling for my worth,” Davis said. “I’m worthy. When I came out of my mom’s womb, I came in worthy.”
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