Denzel Washington has urged his daughter to follow Doubt star Viola Davis' path as she embarks on an acting career.

Washington's daughter Olivia is studying the craft at New York University, and he has offered her little advice - except to work hard and be multi-talented.

He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I say, 'You're black, you're a woman, and you're dark-skinned at that, so you have to be a triplequadruple threat.' "I said, 'You gotta learn how to act.

"You gotta learn how to dance, sing, move onstage...' I said, 'Look at Viola Davis. That's who you want to be.

"Forget about the little pretty girls; if you're relying on that, when you hit 40, you're out the door.

"You better have some chops.'"