Viola Davis Shares the One-Word Lesson She's Teaching Her Daughter (Exclusive)

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You’re never too young to learn about commitment!

Viola Davis shared how she has been focusing on instilling the virtue into her eight-year-old daughter, Genesis.

“Every day one of my biggest things with Genesis lately is about commitment,” Davis told ET’s Nischelle Turner before accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment 2018 Breakfast. “It’s about dedicating yourself to something even on days when you don’t feel like it. It’s understanding that you have to live your life with a greater goal in mind. If you want it, then you have to commit yourself to it.”

“Making people really understand commitment, especially at eight, is very, very difficult and that’s the biggest thing about today because I’m getting a leadership award,” she added.

Davis’ husband, Julius Tennon, added that he also has his own daily words of wisdom for Genesis, who the couple adopted in 2011.

“I’m always telling her to guard her heart and to be the best she can be,” he said. “Everyday I tell her that -- your heart belongs to you.”

“Sometimes we’re not getting that [message] from culture,” Davis added. “So to try and really conjure it within yourself is sometimes an insurmountable feat, so it’s great when you have some people saying it.”

The Widows star was in great spirits as she arrived at the event with Tennon, ready to hit the “center of the dance [floor,] and honored to be in a room with so many like-minded women."

“That’s real connection -- when you’re in a room with people who have empathy for you [and] understand your story that’s great,” she said. “I think the most beautiful part is you’re in a room with everyone who sees you… who gets you. I think its not until you’re seen that you can go on your journey and the person you really have to be the most seen by is yourself, but that’s the beauty of it.”

In honor of the award, Davis did a revealing cover interview with author Brené Brown in The Hollywood Reporter’s new Women in Entertainment issue, opening up about everything from politics to weight gain and how Time’s Up has impacted being a woman in Hollywood.

“Now, at 53, I’m picking out what the pieces are. Literally. For instance, just an example, I’ve gained weight,” she shared. “Now, listen, I’m not a skinny Minnie. I’ve never been a skinny Minnie. I’m a yo-yo dieter. I’m always weighing myself. I always go to bed in a panic that I’m really heavy, I’m not pretty, I’m not this, I’m not that. But I don’t care about being pretty, Brené! I never cared about being pretty.”

“I came to L.A., and all of a sudden, I care about being pretty because I feel like that is my way of being accepted into a larger community, coming from poverty, coming from a past of invisibility,” she continued. “Now, it’s like, I don’t care about that! And once I decided I didn’t care about that, I feel pretty good! I feel pretty good! It’s lightened my load.”

Another change has been the way Davis approaches meetings in Hollywood.

“Now, I don’t have to walk into the room like a dude, and have a pretend penis and sling it on the table and say, 'I’m in the room now. You need to freaking listen to me,'” she said. “I can come exactly how I am and I feel that my story, my understanding of people, my experiences, my vulnerability, my need to even embrace people, all of my feminine energy, is going to make me powerful.”

Davis also made a candid confession about the regrets she lives with in her career. Despite having won numerous high-profile awards and accolades, she isn’t proud of her whole resume.

“I’m finally admitting to myself that a lot of the jobs I’ve taken in the past, because I knew that they would further my career, have been things that I have not been proud of,” she admitted. “They put more money in the bank, they raised my status, but at night they keep me up."

See more on Davis below.

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