“How To Get Away With Murder” star Viola Davis plays a strong and unstoppable woman every week on our television screens, but in real life, she’s striving to raise an equally strong young woman.

As mother to 6-year-old Genesis, Davis says she’s intentional about teaching her daughter to be confident in herself.

“I always say every morning she leaves the house, I tell her, ‘Remember your heart and your head.  Those are the two most important parts of you,'” Davis told theGrio. “I even have her recite it too. ‘What are your two most important parts of you Genesis?’ She says, ‘My heart and my head.'”

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Actress Viola Davis and daughter Genesis Tennon (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
Actress Viola Davis and daughter Genesis Tennon (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for GBK Productions)

Davis says society’s emphasis on looks can be damaging to young women, especially as they get older.

“I think by the time a woman reaches the age of 18 or 21, I think she’s invested so much in the physical and not enough in the emotional. And then by the time you reach middle age when a lot of this fails, I think that we’re at a loss because we have done no other investing.”

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“There’s no other investing in your soul, in your emotional health, in your strength, in your power to say no, in your power to create boundaries that then what happens is, I think it stops us.”

Davis brought her daughter with her to volunteer at a health clinic she co-hosted with The Vaseline Healing Project in her hometown of Central Falls, RI.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of theGrio‘s interview with the Emmy award-winning actress, as she speaks about family, work and what inspired her to give back.

https://youtu.be/x-jVXxs3T4I