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Viola Davis on the moment she realized she didn't have to lose weight for a role.

"You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you ... you sit, and you experience."

Viola Davis on the moment she realized she didn't have to lose weight for a role.

Viola Davis delivered a show-stopping speech when she received the first- ever #SeeHer Award at the Critics' Choice Awards.

The award was created by the #SeeHer campaign, which strives to eliminate bias against women in the media.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.


As the first black actress to ever win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, Davis is no stranger to bias. However, that's not quite what she chose to focus on Sunday evening.

She spoke of another major limiting factor that most women in the entertainment industry (and around the world) grapple with every day: body image and body-shaming.  

GIF via A&E/YouTube.

Many actresses find themselves typecast based on their size or asked to lose weight for roles, and Davis' experience has been no different. This mentality of always needing to be thinner is one that has, unfortunately, become ingrained in society at large.

When Davis got the part of Annalise Keating on "How to Get Away With Murder," a role she said was somewhat outside her "type," her knee-jerk reaction was "I need to lose weight." She didn't feel like she was glamorous enough, pretty enough, or thin enough be the lead of a TV series.

Then, in a triumphant moment of her speech, she said she realized just how wrong she was:

GIF via A&E/YouTube.

It's not surprising, considering the pressure of taking on the starring role of a drama series. But the fact that her first thought was about losing weight shows just how much things still need to change. Thankfully, Davis, in all her powerhouse glory, is leading the way.

Her speech articulated the importance of embracing yourself, no matter your size, shape, age, or color.

It was humble, inspiring, and exactly what women everywhere need to hear.

GIF via A&E/YouTube.

Here it is in its entirety (emphasis added):

“Thank you. It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight. But, it’s true. I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters, I guess, by asking, ‘Why?’

You know, when I was handed Annalise Keating, I said, ‘She’s sexy, she’s mysterious, you know?’ I’m used to playing women who gotta gain 40 pounds and have to wear an apron. So I said, ‘Oh God, I gotta to lose weight, I gotta learn how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels, you know, I gotta lose my belly.’ And then I asked myself, ‘Well, why do I have to do all that?’

I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51. I think my strongest power is that at 10 o’clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you ... you sit, and you experience. And I think that’s the only power I have as an artist, so I thank you for this award. And I do see her, just like I see me.”



Davis is definitely not the only celebrity standing up for body positivity in the face of professional scrutiny.

Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images.

In August, Alicia Keys showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards wearing no makeup, something she has committed to doing regularly to show the world she's done with judgment and confirming beauty standards.

Kate Winslet, another award-winning actress, still struggles with body image issues but repeats this mantra to herself and daughter regularly: "We are so lucky we have a shape. We’re so lucky we’re curvy. We’re so lucky that we’ve got good bums."

Pop star Adele, actress Melissa McCarthy, and model Ashley Graham were voted most influential body-positive celebrities of 2016 by clothing company Gwynnie Bee for their consistent, no-nonsense body-positive advocacy.

Women are making major strides to fight fat-shaming in Hollywood, but the battle's far from over.

With stunning female forces like Davis constantly pushing for change, things are looking up. There's a major spotlight on the issue, which will make it much harder for future scrutiny to go unobserved. While Davis admits to occasionally feeling like she has to lose weight (body issues are complicated, and often ongoing even when you recognize the social pressures behind them), she's not letting those insecurities rule her life or limit what she believes she can do.

So the next time you find yourself feeling like you have to change to fit someone else's expectations — even if they're your own — take a note from Davis, and honestly ask yourself: "Why?"

Watch Davis' whole acceptance speech here:

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

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