Viola Davis Claims Black Actors Said She "Wasn't Pretty Enough" For "HTGAWM": Report

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The Oscar-winning actress shined as Annalise Keating, but apparently many of her peers doubted her ability to make the show a hit.

She’s one of the most celebrated talents in the entertainment industry, but Viola Davis has faced a career riddled with racism, colorism, and setbacks. The Oscar-winning actress is known for her applause-worthy roles in films like The Help and Doubt, and she took over television during How to Get Away With Murder‘s reign. The Shonda Rhimes series was a hit for years and Davis’s compelling portrayal of Annalise Keating captivated audiences.

Davis recently sat down with The New York Times Magazine to discuss various aspects of her career and there was a portion that recently caused the actress to go viral. Rhimes told The Times that Davis was her “dream choice” for HTGAWM, but the publication noted that it came with criticism.

Viola Davis
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Davis shared with The Times that an unnamed friend alerted her that her fellow Black actors, both male and female, were engrossed in discussions about her looks. These actors weren’t named in the interview, but the outlet stated that they believed Davis “wasn’t pretty enough” to succeed in the role. 

The Times reported, “For the first time in her professional career, Davis couldn’t shake all the racial criticisms she had heard over her career. She was 47 and terrified. She took the job anyway.” Elsewhere, Davis also spoke about her decision to tackle roles that have been deemed as “non-pretty.”

“It’s more important for me to see the mess and the imperfection along with the beauty and all of that, for me to feel validated,” she said. “If it’s not there, then I feel, once again, the same way I felt when I was keeping secrets as a kid. But the only reason to keep secrets is because of shame. I don’t want to do that anymore.”