Viola Davis Sounds Off on Criticism of Her Michelle Obama Portrayal

Viola Davis has a message for her haters.

“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” Viola asked in an interview with BBC. “You have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.” 

Viola stars as former First Lady Michelle Obama in Showtime‘s new political drama, The First Lady. But since the series’ release on April 17, some viewers have been critical over her portrayal of Michelle, with Twitter users noting that her facial expressions and pursed lips were “overexaggerated” and “borderline insulting.”

Although Viola recognizes that criticism is an “occupational hazard” of acting, she noted that it’s “incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work.”

The First Lady—which also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt—follows the three women as they try to navigate their role in the White House, and the struggles each faces within it. 

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