In the November 2013 issue of Essence magazine, the cover girl was none other than the magnificent Kerry Washington. In this issue, Kerry talked about her role as Olivia Pope, also known as Queen of the Gladiators, what it’s like working for Shonda Rhimes, Scandal‘s creator and the difference between real life as Kerry and Scandal‘s Olivia Pope.
On Scandal & being Queen of the Gladiators:
We are in people’s homes. People are sitting on their couches and they’re in a relationship with us. So when people come up to me, they’re saying, ‘What are you going to do next week?’ and ‘What are you going to say?’ and ‘What are you going to wear?’ They’re in a relationship in an ongoing way.
On working for Shonda Rhimes:
When I first arrived at Shonda’s production offices and took a gander at the grand company logo splayed across the wall — it’s called Shondaland — I seriously questioned whether I was ready to give up my passport to be a citizen in somebody else’s universe. But that sentiment changed in all of three minutes’ worth of conversation with Shonda. I was like I love this woman. And I love this material and I want to do this.
Olivia Vs. Kerry:
Olivia: She travels regularly to Europe.
Kerry: I like to go new places all the time. I’ve lived in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve traveled all around South Asia, where I learned the importance of spirituality. I grew up in a world where there’s a liquor store on every corner, but in India there’s a temple on every corner and people stop their day constantly to pray. It’s really special.
Olivia: She has three modes: Work Olivia, Black-Tie Gala Olivia and At Home Olivia. And her designers are Armani, Escada, Dior, Max Mara, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci.
Kerry: My fashion is more eclectic: there’s Going to Work Kerry, which is gym clothes and Nike kicks. That’s the Bronx girl. There’s also Red Carpet Kerry and Out to Dinner With Friends Kerry. I tend to be a little more MiH jeans, Derek Lam and Jason Wu.
Girls’ Night Out:
Olivia: A girls’ night out would be a one-on-one with a woman in her life. It would involve a lot of wine.
Kerry: I drink, like, maybe twice a year. I would be with my three best friends from high school or my girlfriends from the show.
Inside the Beltway:
Olivia: She is decidedly apolitical. I think she has a strong moral compass that gets confused. She believes in principle above politics.
Kerry: My politics are centered around arts education and advocacy. I’ve met with members of Congress or begged for money from the National Endowment for the Arts. But I’m also decidedly a Democrat.
Olivia: She believes in the goodness of people and she strives for it in herself. She believes in redemption, clearly. She may or may not have been raised in the church. I think we’ll find out.
Kerry: I don’t belong to a church, but I live-stream Joel Osteen or watch Super Soul Sunday [on OWN]. I go to church in my own way, and I wear my cross and I have a relationship with God and with Christ. My faith is important to me.
Olivia: Her dream car is probably a badass SUV.
Kerry: I’m just not a car person — maybe because I grew up in New York City. I really do want a bicycle.
Olivia: She’s a classic R&B kind of girl, more Earth, Wind & Fire.
Kerry: I’m more of a pop culture girl. I’ll definitely dance to any Rihanna, and those Jay Z collabos get me on the floor very quickly.
Though Kerry didn’t talk much about her personal life, the article was still interesting. I am a big Kerry Washington fan, and now that she is known as the infamous Olivia Pope, I love her even more. I think that it is really amazing how this year really seemed to be the breakout year for Kerry. I feel like she really took the world by storm, whether they were ready or not. That’s part of the reason why I decided to write about the cover stories on Essence magazine; they really highlight black women in a positive light. In a society where all we see bickering housewives and half-naked video girls, it can be really refreshing to see POSITIVE black girls and women out in the world making some serious changes. Gives me inspiration to take this world by storm myself! 🙂