Viola Davis has a good sense of humor toward TikTok fans who imitated her character’s walk on “How To Get Away With Murder” in a viral challenge.
In the ABC series, which aired from 2014-2020, Davis played Annalise Keating, a cutthroat lawyer and professor who left viewers laughing at her signature staggering walk. Using captions such as “Me Practicing My Annalise Keating Walk for When I Become A Lawyer” or “Walking Like Annalise Keating,” Tiktokers have been making viral videos of themselves imitating her walk.
“I see y’all,” the award-winning actress responded to the videos on Twitter with five laughing emojis. She also shared a TikTok video where she explains she’s fully aware of the jokes and memes of herself on social media.
‘I always said I want to be a real woman. If I can be a real woman, if I don’t have to walk around in heels… ’cause I know y’all talk about me walking in my heels,” Davis continues. “And that’s a little f——d up of yall, but I get it.”
The video footage Viola Davis shared was taken from her appearance at PaleyLive LA in November 2019. While joined by the entire cast of “HTGAWM,” Davis shared how she navigates past expectations from others who felt she was not suited to play the show’s leading lady.
“There was a prototype of the leading lady, and I already concluded that that was not me,” Davis said. “Because I don’t know who that woman is, and I felt like this is a chance for me to be the palate of what people see as a sexualized character.”
In a scene of vulnerability, Davis’ character Annalise Keating is seen snatching off her wig and wiping off her makeup before preparing for bed. She stares at herself in the mirror while she removes her false eyelashes. But Davis says that moment meant so much more.
“Taking off the wig was a metaphoric moment of me just sort of shouting out to the rafters that there is a woman behind here,” she says. “She’s not a size 2, she doesn’t walk gracefully in heels, but she has a vagina and she had a history. She may or may not have trauma.”
Davis added that people and media outlets “ privately and publicly … erased her in this role,” thinking the show wouldn’t be as successful with her as lead.
“I really have to say this,” she said. “I mean, you know articles talking about my looks and not being right for it. Not being vulnerable enough, not being a classical beauty, or ‘Omg I can’t see her in this role, I’d rather watch Kerry Washington than her.’”
Despite naysayers, “How To Get Away From Murder” helped Viola Davis become the first African-American woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in A Drama Series in 2015. For six seasons, the murder mystery thriller was one of the most talked-about series on ABC’s Thursday night TV lineup.
All six seasons of “How To Get Away With Murder” are available now on Netflix.