Viola Davis: I Didn’t Want to Be the Vogue Woman

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Photo: ACE/INFPhoto.com/Corbis

The now-iconic wig scene of How to Get Away With Murder — the one where Viola Davis removes her makeup and her wig to reveal her totally bare, eyebrowless face and close-cropped hair — aired in October, and here we are in June still discussing its importance. In an interview with The Wrap, Viola Davis had even more to say about why she chose to do it. She said:

Well, I didn’t want to be the Vogue woman. I didn’t want to be the woman who came in with the sexualized — I say sexualized, not sexy, because sexy is a certain self-consciousness to sexuality — I say that Annalise is sexual. Every time you see that sexual, mysterious, kind of cold woman, she always looks like she has that blow-dried hair and that dewy skin and, you know, those Double-Zero clothes. I did not want to be that woman because I don’t know that woman. And I’ve been watching that woman in movies for several years. And I felt like this was my chance to woman up. Because I think that how we are as women, just in real life, is very interesting. And I think that in the hands of a woman — and I’d like to think that, in my professional life anyway, I have a certain braveness and boldness — I want to present women as they really are.

She continues:

It’s not always about being pretty. But it is about uncovering and feeling comfortable with the way we are and the way we look when we’re in private. You know, as soon as you walk through the door, what do you do? You take off your bra, you let your titties sag, you let your hair come off — I mean my hair. I mean, I don’t have any eyebrows. I let my eyebrows be exactly what they are. And it’s me. And I wanted that scene to be somewhere in the narrative of Annalise. That who she is in her public life and who she was in her private life were absolutely, completely diametrically opposed to one another. Because that’s who we are as people. We wear the mask that grins and lies.

Truth. From now on, when we go home and take off our makeup, shoes, pants, Spanx, wigs, earrings, dentures, whatever, let's all remember to say a little thank-you to Viola Davis for normalizing this already-normal ritual.