Actress Viola Davis shared some of her best life advice with Good Morning America this week, including an inspirational quote from her 8-year-old daughter Genesis, who appears to be shaping up to be just as tough — and kind — as her hard-pushing mother. Davis, who is currently promoting her latest film, Widows, said that her daughter interrupted her recently after overhearing Davis engage in a heated discussion with her manager.
“[We were] haggling over something and she said, ‘Mommy, put the phone down. I got to tell you, don’t let anybody put their life into your life. If they put their life into your life, you have to tell them to get out because they don’t have the pass-code,'” Davis recalled, laughing. “I put the phone down and I said, ‘Genesis, say that again so I can write it down.’ She teaches me a lot.”
Like her daughter, Davis has a love of snappy memorable mantras that she said she uses to help keep her actions productive and her thoughts positive.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are,” said Davis, when asked about her personal favorite phrases. “You don’t have to hustle for your worth. You don’t have to barter for it. You’re just born worthy. That’s my other one, too.”
In general, she continued, she was attracted to any idiom “that gives me permission to just be messy, to just be imperfectly perfect.”
“Otherwise, as a mom with my schedule, you know, everytime I’m struggling with that extra 10-15 pounds of weight, if I know that I always have to be perfect it just levels me,” the actress explained. “I go to bed everyday going I didn’t do this right, I didn’t do that right. Then I wake up going I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that. So I start the day off with negative thoughts, I go to bed with negative thoughts. I don’t want to give that image — to other girls especially. Especially Genesis. I want her to know that exactly who she is — enough.”
Her latest film, Davis said, was also intended for a target audience of women. In Widows, Davis’ character’s husband is killed during an attempted robbery, prompting Davis and the widows of other men slain in the botched heist to take up the mantle and pull off the job themselves.
“The heist is just a metaphor for women saying, ‘You know what? My life isn’t working for me. I got to pay my bills, so I’m going to make it work. I’m going to take control,'” said Davis. “That’s what women have to do. You have a lot of single mothers out there, you have to pay the bills, dealing with no health insurance; they have to get it done. And this movie, you’ll see. It’s for the girls.”
Watch Davis’ interview on GMA below.
Read the full story at Good Morning America.