In conversation with the Wall Street Journal while promoting her show The First Lady, the actress talked about playing the former First Lady in the series.
VIDEO: Michelle Obama reveals what she took from the White House
"She was one of those first ladies that came in with big ideas," she said. "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."
She specifically also mentioned Michelle's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which President Obama had signed into law, talking about why she could relate to it.
"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," Viola shared.
"And I think Michelle Obama, coming from the South Side of Chicago, was very aware of [that kind of poverty]."
Viola is slated to portray Michelle in the upcoming series
The Oscar winner also shared what it was like for her to actually meet the Obamas, saying: "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 anthology drama will be analyzing the lives of three White House First Ladies, those being Michelle, Eleanor Roosevelt, played by Gillian Anderson, and Michelle Pfeiffer portraying Betty Ford.
According to Showtime: "The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women and their families, tracing their journeys to Washington, dipping into their pasts and following them beyond the White House into their greatest moments.
The series will portray the lives of three First Ladies of the United States
"Through interweaving storylines so intimate it's as if the White House walls are talking, season one focuses on the enlightening lives of Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt."
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