Kerry Washington is a Real-Life Role Model and Here’s Why
by Jennifer Lafferty
Like her character Olivia Pope on ABC’s smash hit drama Scandal, Kerry Washington is a smart, successful, well-informed woman of the 21st century, which are just some of the qualities that make her a great role model. Part political activist, part fashion icon, it’s impossible to label Washington, who is a true individual. Here are the ways she most inspires us.
She’s Down to Earth
Washington has never given off a diva vibe and that’s probably because she isn’t one. According to colleagues, she is known for being a team player, cheerleading the Scandal cast and crew, and remembering everyone’s name.
She’s a Political and Social Activist
Encouraged by her parents to be socially conscious, Washington has a long history of political and social activism, from promoting safe sex as a teen, to currently serving on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
She Has a Distinguished Resume
Scandal’s Olivia Pope is such a popular character, she overshadows the actress’ other roles. But Washington has acted in many other impressive projects including films Django Unchained, The Last King of Scotland, Ray and TV’s Boston Legal.
She Has an Impressive Education
One of the reasons Washington has had such a successful career is because of her education. After attending the prestigious Spence School in Manhattan, she earned a degree in performance studies from George Washington University.
Another similarity between Kerry and her Olivia Pope character is that Washington was also on her high school swim team. Mature beyond her years, she took up the sport because proficiency in swimming could enable her to save lives.
Washington has always had a wide variety of interests and while a student at the Spence School, she showed off her musical side, performing with a nine-girl a cappella singing group called Triple Trio.
She Testified Before Congress
Further proof that Kerry Washington is truly dedicated to causes that she cares about, in 2007 she joined fellow performers John Legend and Robert Redford in testifying before Congress to support the Arts.
She’s a Style Icon
Since Washington began playing the fashionable Olivia Pope, she has become a style icon. The actress has even collaborated with Scandal’s costumer Lyn Paolo and The Limited for a fashion line inspired by Pope and other female characters.
She Never Complains
Despite all the perks of being a star, it’s rare to find one who doesn’t whine a least a little. Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes told Vanity Fair: “I have never heard Kerry Washington complain.”
She Designed an Interdisciplinary Major at GWU
Not only was she an excellent student at George Washington University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1998, but the actress also actually designed her own interdisciplinary major in performance studies that included anthropology and sociology.
She’s Prepared for Motherhood
Washington says portraying Olivia Pope helped prepare her for motherhood to daughter Isabelle (born in 2014), explaining, “I feel like playing her made me feel like, ‘All right, I can do it. I will figure out how to juggle it all.'”
She’s Ranked as One of the Most Influential People in the World
It’s one thing to be a popular celebrity and something else to be a widely influential celeb. Kerry Washington held a spot in Time magazine’s 2014 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
She’s a Savvy Businesswoman
In addition to her involvement with The Limited’s Scandal fashion line, Washington is partnering with companies like Neutrogena, Apple Music, and Movado. She’s also executive producing the HBO film Confirmation, in which she stars as Anita Hill.
She’s in a Good Relationship
Despite rumors to the contrary, Washington’s nearly three-year marriage to former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha seems solid. In 2013 a friend talked to People about the couple’s compatibility saying: “They have the same values, and are very close to their families.”
She Inspires Us with her Portrayal of Olivia Pope
Kerry Washington does more than entertain viewers by playing DC fixer Olivia Pope, she inspires us with her compelling performance as this powerful contemporary woman who is extremely successful without sacrificing her femininity or sex appeal.