Elle magazine shone a light on five badass actresses in television who are slaying dragons and taking prisoners in the process. So of course, Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson were included in that mix. Priyanka Chopra, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Olivia Wilde are the other women featured.
Each actress spoke a bit about her experiences on TV this past year. Both Davis and Henson touched on how they used their roles in How to Get Away With Murder and Empire, respectively, to bust through certain stereotypes about women.
“It was very important to me that [Cookie Lyon] not be sassy and neck-rollin’ and eye-bulgin’ and attitude all the time," Henson explained. "Everything she does is coming from a place of fighting for her family. That’s why she’s not a caricature.”
Davis is happy that a woman of a particular age (and hue) is seen as sexual—it's an idea that she's touched on many times before.
“We’ve been fed a whole slew of lies about women,” Davis said. “If you are anywhere above a size 2, you’re not having sex. You don’t have sexual thoughts. You may not even have a vagina. And if you’re of a certain age, you’re off the table.”
It's great to see both actresses get the attention their television roles and careers deserve.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.