Viola Davis Was Heavily Criticized For Her Performance As Michelle Obama In 'First Lady' And Responded By Saying That "Critics Absolutely Serve No Purpose"

By Gina Florio··  3 min read
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Viola Davis recently released a memoir entitled "Finding Me," in which she chronicled her painful childhood memories of growing up in severe poverty.

She revealed that she was called to the school office as a child along with her sister because of the "smell" that came from their poor hygiene. Davis even shared that she wet the bed until she was 14 and constantly smelled like urine. Her story is truly a triumphant one, as she has become one of the most beloved and talented actresses in the world. Davis' most recent role required her to play one of the most recognized individuals on the planet Michelle Obama.

Viola Davis Says "Critics Absolutely Serve No Purpose" After She Was Criticized for Playing Michelle Obama

The new Showtime series First Lady covers three different women who served as first lady in the White House alongside their husbands who were president: Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Davis played Obama in the series across from O-T Fagbenle as Barack Obama, and although she was thrilled to play the role of a lifetime, she didn't receive good feedback from the critics.

Not only did the film critics dig into her performance, but viewers online were unhappy with it as well. They couldn't get over the fact that her lips were unnecessarily pursed the whole way through like "duckface," and many said she looked nothing like Obama. "Viola Davis's face must have been so tired," one person joked.

Davis, 56, admitted that it's "incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work." Even though criticism is just an "occupational hazard" of acting, she still wonders, "How do you move on from the hurt, from failure? But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance."

But the award-winning actress is doing her best to not be affected by the criticism. "Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And I'm not saying that to be nasty either," Davis said. "They always feel like they're telling you something that you don't know. Somehow that you're living a life that you're surrounded by people who lie to you and 'I'm going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth'. So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you."

"But ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail it is my duty to do that," she said.

Davis also said she doesn't "have any personal contact with Michelle Obama" so she doesn't know how the former first lady feels about the performance, but she will continue to move forward with her career and do her best to ignore the harsh critics.

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