As we anticipate the finale of How to Get Away With Murder tonight, we’re reminded of the challenges actresses face when preparing backstage before getting on camera. We recently sat down with Viola Davis who gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be backstage on set. And, sadly we learned that it’s not as glamorous as we thought. In fact, as Davis states, “it’s physically and mentally challenging.”
“It’s very difficult when [stylists] don’t understand our hair,” says Davis. “It’s almost like they need to be educated. I’ve reluctantly told them, ‘that’s not going to work, ‘or ‘you have to do that over,’ and they get offended because they think we’re saying that we’re different from them. We are different, but I’m not being offensive.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard backstage struggles. Recently, runway model Leomie Anderson shared the challenges she faces when stylists put water on her hair to get it to "lay down."
Perhaps more importantly, the Emmy Award winner shared that while stylists need to know how to properly style our hair, it’s important for Black women to allow ourselves to play a role that doesn’t exactly mean we have to look glam every time.
“Sometimes [actresses] feel like if we don’t have perfect hair, then we’re not doing anything. We have to understand that that hair doesn’t negate our beauty. You’ll see a Caucasian lady walking into the scene with messed up hair, or after the shower with no makeup and it’s not a big deal,” says Davis. “It’s just her portraying that moment in time. But we don’t allow ourselves to do that.”
Well said, Viola! Well said.