Viola Davis Shares Struggles With Childhood Hunger & Poverty in Glamour

Viola Davis for Glamour April 2015 photographed by Mark Seliger

Viola Davis for Glamour April 2015 photographed by Mark Seliger

“I was always so hungry and ashamed,” reveals How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis who opens up about her childhood struggles in the April 2015 issue of Glamour Magazine . “I was always so hungry and ashamed, I couldn’t tap into my potential. I couldn’t get at the business of being me.”

She also recalls how quickly the food her family did have would disappear: “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.”

The South Carolina-born actress speaks on a pain that is currently felt by 17 million children in the United States.

“This is the richest country in the world,” she tells Glamour. “There’s no reason kids should be going to school hungry. Food is something that everyone should have. It just is.”

Now a two-time Oscar nominee in a position to affect change, she has thrown her support behind Hunger Is , a campaign by the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which she recently helped raise $4.5 million.

Hunger Is, Viola Davis

“I’m finally comfortable with my story,” she continues. “And I finally understand what [mythologist] Joseph Campbell meant when he said: ‘The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.'”

And she is passing that wisdom down to her 4-year-old daughter, Genesis: “I tell my daughter every morning, ‘Now, what are the two most important parts of you?’ And she says, ‘My head and my heart.’ Because that’s what I’ve learned in the foxhole: What gets you through life is strength of character and strength of spirit and love.”

Viola is photographed by Mark Seliger and styled by Sophie Pera for Glamour April 2015, available now on newsstands.

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