RIDING A WAVE OF SUCCESS
With a new husband and an even newer baby, coupled with a major role in hit TV drama Scandal, Kerry Washington is one busy lady
Scandal has been a game changer for Kerry Washington. The 37-year-old was best known for playing Ray Charles’ wife, Della Bea Robinson, in the film Ray until Shonda Rhimes ( Grey’s Anatomy) stepped in.
In late 2011, Rhimes chose Washington to play crisis expert Olivia Pope in Scandal – the first African American actor to lead a network drama in nearly 40 years.
Three series in and Scandal is a hit with more than 10 million viewers in the US each week. Last year, she was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine and TV Star of the Year by TV Guide.
The Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations have come thick and fast and there was universal acclaim for her role as Broomhilda von Shaft in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Washington’s personal life has changed, too. She married NFL footballer Nnamdi Asomugha in June last year. In April, she gave birth to daughter Isabelle.
Washington is surprisingly unaffected by the whirlwind. That is because she is too darn busy to take it all in.
“I feel very lucky because it has been such a wave of change but most of the time I’m too stressed about the monologue that I have to memorise for tomorrow (on Scandal) to really get caught up in it,” Washington says.
“When you do a film, you’re very aware of the public response. But when you’re doing television, you’re so busy doing the show that it is harder to get caught up in that stuff.”
The third series of Scandal started with a bang – the fallout from Olivia’s affair with married US President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) going public – and hasn’t let up. Business at Olivia Pope & Associates dried up. Olivia’s estranged father Rowan Pope (Joe Morton) has been revealed as the ruthless head of the covert government agency B613.
Meanwhile, her mother, Maya Lewis (Khandi Alexander), thought to have died in a plane crash when Olivia was 12, is back, very much alive.
Olivia has been trying to uncover the truth behind the mysterious Operation Remington in a year filled with revelations, betrayal and even torture.
“It is all so complicated,” Washington laughs.
“It is great to see Olivia navigate through all these things. Shonda says she likes to write flawed characters because the reality is that we are all flawed. What she means is that she writes real people – people who are threedimensional, fully realised human beings – and that is a joy for any actor. Our biggest hope and dream for the show is that people will have as much fun watching it as we’re having making it because it’s a dream job.”
Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope in