Viola Davis was already a beloved icon for Black women across the nation, but she breathed even more hope into them on Sunday, Sept. 20 when she became the first Black woman in history to take home the Emmy award for Lead Actress in a Drama for her role in “How To Get Away With Murder.” Now, Davis is opening up about what it meant to her to win the award.
In a new interview with Variety, Davis explains that she’s still in shock about winning the Emmy.
“I keep expecting to be that little girl who loses the contest,” Davis said, referencing when she lost the Miss Center Falls Recreation title at age 6. “It’s a mixture of disbelief and joy and acceptance. It’s just beautiful.”
Davis then shared what she felt after the she walked away with the historic Emmy
“What it meant for me to win the Emmy is I found it. It’s not just the award. It’s what it’s going to mean to young girls — young brown girls, especially. When they saw a physical manifestation of a dream, I felt like I had fulfilled a purpose,” Davis said.
Davis then opened up about the humble words she shared with reporters backstage at the Emmys after she accepted the award.
“You guys have to realize, I’ve been in this business 35 years, and 27 years professionally. 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,” she said.
Now, with a successful show on TV and an Emmy under her belt, Davis says she’s no longer struggling to find employment. In fact, she can now be picky about the roles she takes.
“I’ve learned the power of great narrative,” she said, “and I want to be able to have some semblance of control over that than to just be at the mercy of what’s out the there.”