The smartly-written ABC series starring Kerry Washington has much of America itching for season two (Who is Quinn??). Until then, the 35-year-old actress has been making her rounds promoting the show and her latest movie, Django Unchained.
Washington sat down with VH1’s Morning Buzz to discuss being a Black female lead on a network television drama, playing the real Olivia Pope (Judy Smith) and the biggest “scandal” of her career.
On playing Judy Smith, the real-life Olivia Pope…
“It’s not the first time I played a real person. I played Mrs. Ray Charles and I played Idi Amin’s wife in Last King of Scotland, but this is the first time I’m playing someone that could really destroy my life. She could like, destroy my reputation and ensure I never work again, cause she’s a fixer. She fixes things, so that’s where the pressure is.
I call her all the time for her input and feedback. I can call her on her cell, but she never tells me where she is. […] If I hear there’s a scandal in Texas or in Paris, I’ll be like ‘Where are you Judy?’ and she’s like ‘I can’t tell you Kerry.’ It’s very scandalous.”
On being involved in a scandal…
I try to stay pretty scandal free. I like to say the only drama in my life is the drama I get paid for. I try to keep it that way. It doesn’t always work out, but I try to keep it that way. I guess I was doing this movie Lift once, my first professional lead role, and I was playing a shoplifter, a professional booster, and the director was asking if I’d ever stolen anything and I said ‘No of course not.’ And he was like ‘Well you have to steal something, don’t come back to do the movie until you’ve stolen something.’ I went to a deli in midtown Manhattan, I still get heart palpitations when I drive by this deli, and I stole an apple. I was traumatized! But it was a really good apple too, I liked every minute of it. But when the movie was over I went back and paid for it. I gave her 75 cents and she was like ‘What’s that for?’ and I was like ‘don’t worry, I just owe you.’”