Kerry Washington Says She’s Proud White Women Can Look Past Olivia Pope’s Race

Photo Credit: ABC
Photo Credit: ABC

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

Kerry Washington has always been a great actress, but she found her breakout role in “Scandal,” as she plays the lead character of the hit ABC series, Olivia Pope. To most of the people who watch the show, it’s not hard to understand why Olivia is someone you want to root for. Clearly she’s a boss, even if her personal life is messy and always in shambles. However, Kerry admitted in a recent interview with Vanity Fair that she’s honored and even a little surprised that the show’s fans are a diverse range of people. In particular, she’s proud that she’s had so many white women come up and tell her how much they love Olivia and see themselves in a character portrayed by a black actress. Here are the highlights of the interview.

On Olivia Pope and why she feels the character “fully owns being a woman,” she says:

“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. There’s something very maternal about it. But there’s also something very executive about her, and I mean ‘executive’ in a presidential way.”


Kerry then reveals how great it feels for her as a black actress to see even white women falling in love with the character, and getting past race to relate to the character:

“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, and it just started its second season. The fact that white women can see this woman of color as an aspirational character is revolutionary…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.”


Check out the cover below:

kerry washington vanity fair cover


  1. Scandal is just that kind of show that everyone wants to watch it. As long as they keep coming up with compelling plots, the show will stay popular. I’m happy for Kerry.

  2. It’s such an addictive show that no one cares she’s a black woman! That’s how you know the show is on point!

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