EXCLUSIVE: Viola Davis Opens Up About Her Friendship With Meryl Streep: 'I Always Feel Like She Sees Me'
By Rachel McRady
Nothing beats having a BFF like Meryl Streep! Viola Davis was recently honored on the annual Time 100 list and got a special essay written by Streep on her behalf.
“What I love about Meryl is I always feel like she sees me,” Davis told ET’s Jennifer Peros at the Time 100 Gala on Tuesday night. “I never feel like the words she has for me are haphazard. I feel like they’re very specific and they're well thought out and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like she really is a friend, that she really takes me in.”
Davis isn’t ashamed to admit that she is still star struck by her A-list pal.
“Well, let me tell you, besides the fact that it's Meryl Streep, she really doesn't have to give me anything, really,” she said. “When she just sends me a text message she doesn't know I get so happy. I try to play it off, I really do, I'm like, 'Oh ok well have a good day' but I'm really like, 'Oh my god, she texted me back!'”
Streep’s words made this particularly honor that much more special for Davis, who is used to getting her share of accolades.
“It feels good. It's not my style to kind of labor over awards. I get them, I kiss the statue, I put the statue on the shelf and then I get back to work, but I love feeling like people feel like I'm an influence,” the Oscar winner said. “I know what it meant to me when Miss Tyson and Meryl Streep, they made me feel like it was possible to dream in this little space that I had in my brain and my heart growing up in poverty, they made me feel like it was possible. So for me to do that for someone else means the world to me.”
And while Davis inspires her fans, she also hopes to serve as a role model for her 5-year-old daughter, Genesis.
“Well, you know, my big saying with her, now she says, 'Mommy, I know,' but I tell her, I said, 'Genesis, I want you to say it over and over. My name is Genesis Tennon, I own my story, the good and the bad,'” she said.
Davis’ husband, Julius Tennon, also added, “Kids model what they see so we just always try to be the best model we can for her and always give her the best advice and start talking to them early, and just be authentic and real. That's what it's about at the end of the day.”