With the series set to hit screens, the How to Get Away With Murder star admits she is avoiding Obama. “I am hiding from Michelle. I’m hiding in my house,” she joked with Kimmel.

In an interview with WSJ Magazine, the Oscar-winner explained that it was Obama’s activism and ideas that drew her to the role.

“I mean, it’s Michelle Obama. Everything about her. She was one of those first ladies that came in with big ideas. And I would say that the restrictions that were placed on her—not just being a first lady but [also] being a Black woman—were enormous,” Davis said. “And for her to navigate all of that and accomplish what she did: I mean, her Hunger Free program for kids. I mention that because I was a kid who was hungry. I grew up in abject poverty. I dumpster-dived. I stole money for food. And I think Michelle Obama, coming from the South Side of Chicago, was very aware of [that kind of poverty].”


The First Lady co-stars Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, chronicling how each woman navigates her role as the rights of women change throughout society. As a Black woman, Davis had a very specific insight into how Obama moved through the expectations of the spotlight.

“Certainly at the forefront of my mind when I signed on to be Michelle Obama: When you enter any room or situation, you have to decide if the woman in you is going to show up or the Black person is going to show up,” she said. “They’re two different entities. And so that was a huge part of what I had to navigate because I know what’s in Michelle every time she walks through the room. Because it’s with me too. I felt like I was juggling those two balls constantly.”


While she may be avoiding her now, the Emmy-winner has met the Obamas and marveled at their confidence and understanding.

“I’ve met Barack and Michelle, absolutely,” she said. “I consider myself to have more angst, and I come from a place of feeling like, ‘You better see me; I’m not invisible.’ But when you’re in their presence, they absolutely know their worth, they’re in their bodies, and they’re present. They take you in—in a way that’s actually surprising. [Michelle] has decoded you in two seconds. All the best broads I know do that.”


The First Lady premieres Sunday, April 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT at on Showtime.