The Best Quotes in Kerry Washington's Vanity Fair Story


Yesterday we discussed the importance of Kerry Washington’s Vanity Fair cover, and today over at the Atlantic Wire, Esther Zuckerman calls attention to a movement on Twitter and Tumblr to make sure people actually buy the magazine. As one blogger puts it, “Show them that diversity sells.”

Twitter is a great place to get the word out, since Scandal is really big on that particular social network; the LA Times called it “must-tweet TV.” It’s not just fans: The show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes — as well as the entire cast — have a large presence on Twitter and live-tweet each episode.

But beyond the cover, the pages of VF offer some really thought-provoking words from Washington.

A sampling:

One of the most profound things for me about the show is the number of white women of all ages who come up to me and say, “I want to be Olivia Pope.” It’s especially profound in a place like South Africa. It’s called The Fixer over there […] The fact that white women can see this woman of color as an aspirational character is revolutionary, I think, in the medium of television. I don’t think white women would feel that way about Olivia if her identity as a woman, period, wasn’t first in their mind.”


What I think is cool about Olivia is that she fully owns being a woman. There’s a very nurturing sense of “I’m going to take care of you — don’t worry about it. I’m gonna be your mom in this situation. You come stay in my office, have a cup of tea, and let my gladiators take care of you.” There’s something very maternal about it. But there’s also something very executive about her, and I mean “executive” in a presidential way.

Interesting. I never thought of Olivia Pope as being maternal; the protective thing goes hand-in-hand with her calling herself a gladiator. That’s what warriors do: Protect. Maybe there is a “mama grizzly” aspect to Pope’s character, but honestly, I flinch at the idea that “taking care” is a woman-thing.

In any case, my favorite quote in the piece is actually not from Washington but from Bellamy Young, who plays Mellie Grant, the steely, conniving First Lady on Scandal. She says:

For a woman actor, there has never been a better time to be alive. Men have always had Shakespeare; now we’ve got Shonda.

For more, buy a copy of the magazine, wink, wink.

Kerry Washington Honed Her Acting Skills as a Teenage Safe-Sex Educator [VF]

Can Kerry Washington Fix the Magazine Industry’s Problem With Black Women? [Atlantic Wire]

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