Viola Davis should be the one giving advice. After all, she is the only African American actor to achieve “The Triple Crown of Acting”: winning an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award.
From beginning her acting career on the small stage to landing gigs on Broadway and becoming a TV and film star, Davis could certainly teach a thing or two to other actors. However, the celebrity recently opened up about the best advice she ever received—and it came from Denzel Washington.
In a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, Davis shared several life lessons she has learned in her 57 years. The lessons range from beauty and style to confidence and her acting career. Turns out, some of the wisdom she has gained along the way came from other famous Hollywood celebrities.
‘You’re Making A Living, Not A Life’
As the actress talked about the lessons she’s learned in her career, Davis admitted that Denzel Washington “always gives the best advice.” In fact, Washington “constantly” gave Davis some advice that completely changed her attitude on acting.
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“He said, ‘Viola, what you’re doing, you’re making a living, not a life,’” remarked Davis. “And I thought that was very, very powerful. You need reminders like that. It’s very hard to do. I will admit that I’ve had a very successful career, so you feel like that’s your life. It’s not my life. My mom is my life. My husband is my life. My daughter is my life. The people who love me.”
Acing Is Davis’ ‘Way Of Healing’
As Davis reflected on her acting career, she also shared how she never thought acting would be something she would do long-term. “I did not know I was going to be an actor,” Davis admitted.
“I suffered from really bad social anxiety and shyness. I couldn’t even perform in rehearsal until I realized that wasn’t a prerequisite to being an actor.”
Thankfully the star got over her fear of being on stage. As it turned out, acting became a way of not just performing, but of healing.
“I realized I wanted to be an actor because it was my way of healing,” the How to Get Away with Murder star remarked.
“It was my way of channeling other human beings through me. You sort of become this human being whisperer. It seemed like a perfect profession cause listen, I could get attention. Maybe I can make some money. But also to be able to heal through your art, it’s pretty fantastic.”
You can watch Davis continue her journey of healing through acting in her latest movie, The Woman King. It’s clear the star shows no signs of slowing down, and has taken the advice of others in the industry to heart.