Read Viola Davis’ Journey From Extreme Poverty To Oscar Gold

Born in a one-room shack with no running water, Viola Davis has journeyed beyond the “trauma” of her impoverished upbringing to finally bring home Oscar gold Sunday night thanks to her Best Supporting Actress win for Fences.

Although the 51-year-old is now one of the most renowned actresses in Hollywood — in part because of her acclaimed roles in movies like The Help and her TV show, How to Get Away With Murder — Davis grew up so poor that she had to wear rags around her neck at night to protect her from rat bites, and remembers her family’s refrigerator being literally bare.


“When I say we had nothing, I mean zero”.  “I remember one time a friend came over to the house and she opened the refrigerator. There was nothing in it. She said, ‘Are you guys moving?’ ”

Her home situation could also lead to embarrassing moments at school. “We didn’t have money all the time to do laundry. A lot of the time, we didn’t have soap or hot water,” she told The New Yorker. “We were smart kids academically, but we’d go to school smelling. I reeked of urine.”

Now that the actress has found success through a series of memorable roles, she’s able to indulge in the finer things in life — but that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her early struggles. Davis said that her poverty-stricken childhood still haunts her in some ways.


“Because I grew up in such tight spaces, I don’t get manicures, pedicures, I’m not into cars, but I am into a fabulous house. I wanted the spiral staircase, clean sheets on the bed, to be able to take a shower,” Davis said. “The big ‘Aha!’ moment is that the trauma never goes away.”

This is so inspiring. I mean her childhood was filled with lacks. But here she is today. She finally won an ‘Oscar Gold’ where she won the category of ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for the movie ‘Fences’.

Photo Credit: people mag

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