The deeply personal story behind Viola Davis' latest cause
If you weren’t already a fan of Viola Davis and her wonderful work on How to Get Away With Murder, this story will win you over, we promise.
The Oscar-nominated actress is working with the Hunger Is campaign to raise money with the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to combat hunger. So far, she’s helped raise over $4.5 million.
And it’s not just because she has a good heart. Davis’ fight to alleviate childhood hunger comes from her own experience, growing up in a family where three meals a day wasn’t a guarantee.
In an emotional interview with Glamour, Davis detailed her struggle growing up with five siblings in a poor family. “We had no food,” she said, noting that they would wait for her mother’s welfare check to arrive every month in order to have enough to put on the table.
“It was like, If you don’t eat it now, it’ll be gone, and you’re going to be hungry for the next — Lord, who knows how long?” she said. And not having enough to eat meant that school was extra challenging. “I was always so hungry and ashamed, I couldn’t tap into my potential. I couldn’t get at the business of being me.”
So, for Davis, ending hunger is deeply personal. “This is the richest country in the world. There’s no reason kids should be going to school hungry,” she said. “Food is something that everyone should have. It just is.”
“I’m finally comfortable with my story,” Davis added. “And I finally understand what [mythologist] Joseph Campbell meant when he said: ‘The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.'”