Viola Davis, an Oscar-nominated actress, has undoubtedly had a very successful television and movie career, but before finding fortune and fame, she lived in poverty as a child and was forced to steal and rummage through garbage bins for food.
During an emotional new interview with Glamour magazine, the 49-year-old actress opened up about her turbulent youth, growing up in near-poverty and her battle with childhood hunger on a regular basis.
“I was always so hungry and ashamed; I couldn’t tap into my potential. I couldn’t get at the business of being me,” she told the magazine about her sad days at school wanting food.
Davis was raised on her grandmother’s farm, a former slave plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina, with the rest of her five siblings. The ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ star revealed her mother had an eighth-grade education, whereas her father only made it to fifth grade.
After becoming a successful actress, Davis wanted to help children similar to herself, who are also experiencing an extremely poor upbringing, and she has already raised a staggering $4.5 million for the new campaign, Hunger Is.
“Friends like Shonda Rhimes and Meryl Streep are supporters, and yes, I’m going to hit up more of my friends,” she explained. “This is the richest country in the world. There’s no reason kids should be going to school hungry. Food is something that everyone should have. It just is.”
Although Davis has overcome an extremely large amount of adversity in her life, she was only able to come to terms with her success and downfalls after years of therapy, the love from her husband of 11 years, Julius Tennon, and the adoption of their daughter, Genesis.
“Your ability to adapt to failure, and navigate your way out of it, absolutely 100 percent makes you who you are.” She added, “I tell my daughter every morning, ‘Now, what are the two most important parts of you?’ And she says, ‘My head and my heart.’ Because that’s what I’ve learned in the foxhole: What gets you through life is strength of character and strength of spirit and love.”