Ruven Afanador / . 1 / 15
Ruven Afanador / . 1 / 15

Viola Davis has proved she can play almost any part, and in a new photo shoot for Los Angeles Times Magazine, the 46-year-old also proves she can pull off any look, too.

Davis, who recently starred in the acclaimed film "The Help," rocks her natural hairstyle and models an array of looks by Jason Wu, Marchesa and Thierry Mugler for the magazine -- a dream come true for the girl who "never had a phone" growing up.

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Though she's been working steadily for more than two decades, it wasn't until recently that Davis felt a shift in her career.

"You can be in the business for 23 years, which I have been, and suddenly something happens that wakes people up. For me, that was being in 'Doubt' with Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman," Davis says. "It makes people realize you're there. Otherwise you're that black girl who had a guest or costar role in a TV show here or there."

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Throughout the interview, Davis says there are too few opportunities for black actresses in Hollywood. "You can have all the training in the world, come from a respectable background and yet never get that big opportunity that breaks you out -- never."

To be "an instrument of change," Davis has optioned "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree," a novel about an African-American woman struggling to farm the Badlands in 1917. She will co-produce the film with Octavia Spencer, 39, who is also an Oscar nominee for "The Help."

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"There are great characters in history whose stories need to be told," Davis tells the magazine. "But also, look at this year's lineup: 'Melancholia,' 'Young Adult.' ... Someone just had imagination, put pen to paper and created a [whole] human being. That is what I hope for myself ... for a number of black actresses."


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