When it comes to self-care days, Viola Davis has possibly the most relatable way to unwind.
Rather than constantly spend big bucks on luxe spa days or beauty products that could break the bank, the Oscar winner swears by one thing she can get on the cheap when she’s ready to relax and release.
“Oh my god, Epsom salt bath,” Davis told InStyle about her favorite way to practice self-care before she headed inside The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women breakfast at Milk Studios in Los Angeles Wednesday. As for the variety she prefers? “Lavender, Dr. Teal’s. Oh my god, the best. Absolutely,” she said.
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That’s right, the three-pound bag of Epsom salt you have under the bathroom sink, that you turn to to ease muscle tension, or boost up an at-home pedicure to feel a little bit more luxe, that is also what mega star Viola Davis turns to. All it takes to get on her level is a click over to Target.com and a five dollar bill.
The Widows star, who rocked a sleek white jumpsuit tucked under a black blazer to the event, took home the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which is given annually to a woman who is a trailblazer and philanthropic leader in her industry. After sipping Fiji water at her table with her husband Julius Tennon, Davis brought attendees to their feet, as she broke down the struggles of being a woman of color in Hollywood.
Davis compared that experience to a scene in The Exorcist, where a possessed Linda Blair is tied to a bed with the words “Help me” written on her stomach. “That’s how I feel every day in this Hollywood community and in my life in trying to live my authentic life,” she said.
She went on to say she started her production company, Juvee Productions, to fight against that, adding that she was over seeing the lack of black, multidimensional characters onscreen. “I’m tired of seeing the expanse of the imagination of writers when they write the mess, the joy, the beauty, the femininity of white characters. And maybe an hour into the movie, you saw the obligatory black character just kind of walking into the camera, who had a name [but] didn’t really have to have a name because you know nothing about them.”
VIDEO: Viola Davis’s Emotional Acceptance Speech for Harvard’s Artist of the Year Award
“So what’s the takeaway?” she asked the room, which included Lupita Nyong’o, Christina Ricci, and Lena Dunham. “My main message is: Stop taming us. Stop!,” she said, to raucaus applause. “Everything that I am and everything that we are inside is what makes art and this world rich. The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Leave it to Beaver, is a lie,” she said. “I think that there’s something to be said about being wild.”
“My big thing with JuVee Productions is there is no limit to how we see narratives with people of color,” she continued. “That there’s only so much I am gonna kowtow to this business, and my gift to anyone is that: Don’t let anybody tell you who you are.”
We might add: Don’t let anybody tell you that caring for yourself has to be expensive.
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