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Viola Davis is one of the hardest working women in Hollywood and hard work obviously pays off, as she’s receiving acting roles left and right. But, she’ll have you know, her life wasn’t always so glamorous, especially during her childhood.

While speaking as an honoree at the Variety Power Of Women event for Hollywood luminaries, the How To Get Away With Murder actress revealed that she lived in abject poverty while growing up in Central Falls, Rhode Island.

Talking to the crowd, she revealed:

‘Although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty.

‘I was one of the 17 million kids in this country who didn’t know where the next meal was coming from.

‘And I did everything to get food. I’ve stolen for food, I’ve jumped in huge garbage bins with maggots for food, I have befriended people in the neighborhood who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day for food. And I sacrificed a childhood for food… and grew up in immense shame.’

While attending high school, Viola said that “thanks to being a geek,” she was able to land a spot to get an education at Rhode Island College, leading her to her acting career today.

She continued, as she spoke to other guests that included Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon:

‘Everyone should grow up and have a chance at the American dream,’ she said tonight.

‘The stain in this country is that one out of every five children in this country are living in households that are food-poor.

‘And of all the elementary school teachers out there they say three out of every five kids in their class come to school hungry. In the richest country in the world.’

This woman never ceases to amaze and inspire us. This just goes to show you, you can always make something out of nothing. Check out a clip from her speech below:

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Time | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty