Viola Davis’s workout photos have people talking.
The 55-year-old actress shared a look at one of her recent workouts with trainer Gabriela Mclain that she said helped get her “back in shape after gaining weight to play” the title character in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
For the film, streaming now on Netflix, the Academy Award winner said she gained as much weight “as I could” to look like Rainey, “but [the blues singer] was really big, close to 300 pounds. I got close to 200” with the rest a padded suit, created by costume designer, Ann Roth modeled after the late Aretha Franklin’s measurements.
Davis, who has had to gone up (The Help) and down (Get On Up) the scale for her many different roles, clearly took off all the Rainey weight as she looks superfit in the workout photos. There were a lot of flame emoji reactions in the comments — and more praise:
Holly Robinson Peete wrote, “Oh my God sis nobody is that cute working out.”
Eva Longoria put, “I mean can you look any more beautiful!!!”
Tina Knowles Lawson quoted daughter Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl,” writing, “‘Skin just like pearls / the best thing in the world.’ gorgeous.”
Ana Navarro wrote, “Please tell [me] you’re just posing and doing [a] photo shoot for an athletic company cuz frankly nobody should be allowed to look this good while working out.”
It actually was from a photo shoot, with shutterbug Shamar Benoit, according to Mclain — and it included Davis’s husband, actor and producer Julius Tennon, whom she regularly works out with.
More photos from the workout photo shoot:
For the record, body positive advocate Jameela Jamil says Davis “looked beautiful both ways.”
She looked beautiful both ways. But we Stan a queen who has a *perfect* Smokey eye mid work out. https://t.co/pWKYk9GCHF
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) December 18, 2020
In a recent interview with Women’s Health, Mclain, who has worked with Davis for two years, said they have been training recently for Davis’s upcoming role in the historical action film The Woman King. In it, she portrays Nanisca, the general of an all-female military unit in 18th-century Africa, so they’ve been working to keep Davis’s body strong, but flexible “like a badass kind of Ninja.”
Davis trains with Mclain about three days a week, one-hour sessions, doing strength training, core work, sculpting, and cardio, including kickboxing.
Last year, Davis — a mom of one — revealed she had been diagnosed as pre-diabetes, telling Everyday Health, "I was shocked because I always find myself exercising and eating right. I felt fantastic. But there you go. Blood doesn’t lie." She said her plan to combat is has been “manage it like a warrior” with the workouts and a Paleo diet.
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