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Kerry Washington Speaks to How Long She Wants to Play Scandal's Olivia Pope

Kerry Washington Speaks to How Long She Wants to Play Scandal's Olivia Pope

Kerry Washington takes the cover of Glamour magazine’s May 2017 issue, on newsstands April 11.

Here’s what the 40-year-old Scandal star had to share with the mag:

On how much longer she wants to do Scandal: “It’s not really up to me. It’s up to Shonda [Rhimes, Scandal’s creator] and to the network. Shonda has said from the beginning that she kind of knows how it ends. So I’m trusting her to guide the arc. It’s also important for me to do other work—and playing Olivia gave me the opportunity to become a producer. The charge of my production company, Simpson Street, is to tell stories that are about people, places, and situations that may not always be considered by the mainstream. Inclusivity is not about, you know, creating a world where straight white men have no voice; it’s about creating a world where we all have a voice. So I’m excited to start that new journey, as a producer.”

On how Scandal handles race: “In the first season it was as if Olivia Pope was raceless. There was no denying that Olivia was a black woman, because I’m a black woman, playing her in badass white trench coats that call to attention the fact that I’m not looking like anybody else on television. But we didn’t talk about her identity as a black person. [Since then] the writers have become more and more willing to deal with race. When Olivia was kidnapped, it was not lost on me that the fictional president of the United States was willing to go to war to save one black woman at a time when hundreds of black women were missing in Nigeria and we were begging the world to pay attention. Shonda was saying, ‘The life of a black woman matters.’ With her dad—he is trying to instill in her this generational learning about what it means to be a person of color in the United States. And Olivia is at odds with balancing the truth of his understanding with her ability to achieve things he was never able to.”

On how this time in history has changed her as an artist: “I’m not sure how it’s changing me yet. That idea of holding each other’s hands at the Women’s March—it feels like we are being invited to do that every day. So many of us are feeling attacked, whether it’s a woman’s right to choose or headstones in a Jewish cemetery, immigrants being deported or banned. So many of us feel the need to protect and defend our democracy. And march toward the dream of being ‘We the people.’ So that’s exciting, scary, and frustrating. We’re awake. We are awake more than ever before, and we have to stay awake.… Can I say one more thing? For democracy to work, everybody has to have a voice. It’s not about demonizing other voices. It’s important that there be real conversations across the aisle. There are people on the opposite end of the political spectrum who think that I’m part of a left-wing propaganda machine. It makes me sad that people would think that, because I believe for democracy to work, there has to be diversity of thought.”

FYI: Kerry is wearing Valentino on the cover.

For more from Kerry, visit Glamour.com.

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Credit: Steven Pan/Glamour
Posted to: Kerry Washington, Magazine

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