These days, Viola Davis is an Oscar-nominated actress with a hit primetime TV show to her name. But growing up, the “How to Get Away with Murder” star struggled.

In a new interview with Glamour, Davis details her childhood difficulties, telling the magazine: “We had no food” at home.

Davis said after her parents brought home groceries, it was a race to eat.

“It was like, ‘If you don’t eat it now, it’ll be gone, and you’re going to be hungry for the next—Lord, who knows how long?’”

She said because she was hungry, she wasn’t able to do her best at school.

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“I was always so hungry and ashamed,” she revealed. “I couldn’t tap into my potential. I couldn’t get at the business of being me.”

Because of her tough experiences, Davis has dedicated her time to raising $4.5 million for the Hunger Is campaign, by The Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation

“This is the richest country in the world. There’s no reason kids should be going to school hungry. Food is something that everyone should have. It just is.”

Meryl Streep told Glamour Davis’ experiences have shaped her.

“Viola is constantly turning her eyes back to the girl she once was and recognizing herself in children who don’t have any great advantages,” Streep said. “The memory of hardship is tattooed on her soul, and she works hard to open doors for these kids.”

Click here to read Davis’ entire story in Glamour, national newsstands March 17.