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Kerry Washington –

Washington in SCANDAL.

About Kerry Washington (1977 – )

Kerry Marisa Washington was born in the Bronx, New York City, the daughter of Valerie, a professor and educational consultant, and Earl Washington, a real estate broker. Her father's family is of African American origin, having migrated from South Carolina to Brooklyn. Her mother's family is from Manhattan, and Washington has said that her mother is from a "mixed-race background but from Jamaica, so she is partly English and Scottish and Native American, but also descended from African slaves in the Caribbean." Through her mother she is a cousin of the former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Washington performed with the TADA! Youth Theater teen group and attended the Spence School in Manhattan, graduating in 1994. She attended George Washington University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1998 with a double major in anthropology and sociology. She also studied at Michael Howard Studios in New York City.

Washington got her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card as a requirement for a commercial that she starred in. Washington made her screen debut in the ABC telefilm Magical Make-Over (1994). She was in the cast of the 1996 PBS sketch comedy-style educational series Standard Deviants, and she appeared in the short "3D" and the feature film Our Song in 2000. She went on to appear in several movies, including Save the Last Dance (2001) and The Human Stain (2003). In 2002 she played Chris Rock's love interest in the spy thriller Bad Company, a film that represented a turning point for her, in that it was the first time in her career that she had made enough money annually to qualify for health insurance under SAG.

In 2004, she played the female lead in Spike Lee's She Hate Me, and she received strong reviews for her performance. After 2004, she held parts in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Little Man (2006), I Think I Love My Wife (2007), and as a wife of 1970s Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the UK historical drama The Last King of Scotland (2006). Washington has also appeared in the recurring role of Chelina Hall on the ABC television series Boston Legal, and in several episodes of the A&E cable-TV series 100 Centre Street. In 2007, she co-directed and appeared in the music video for hip-hop artist Common's song, "I Want You", the fourth single from his album Finding Forever and became a spokesperson for L'Oréal, appearing in commercials and ads alongside fellow actresses, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Longoria, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Aishwarya Rai, Maya Karin and model Doutzen Kroes.

In 2010, she made her Broadway debut in David Mamet's Race, alongside James Spader, David Alan Grier, and Richard Thomas. She also appeared in Tyler Perry's 2010 film For Colored Girls. In October 2011, it was confirmed that she would star in Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained, which was released in 2012 and received widespread critical acclaim. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012 along with 175 other individuals.

In 2013, Washington ranked No. 2 in People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful people and was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. The same year, she ranked No. 20 on Forbes magazine's annual list of the highest-paid actors in television and was announced as the new face of Neutrogena skin care. Washington hosted Saturday Night Live on November 2, 2013, where she impersonated Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey in a cold opening sketch that satirized criticism of Saturday Night Live for not having had any black female cast members for many years.

Since April 2012, Washington has starred in the ABC drama series Scandal, created by Shonda Rimes, as Olivia Pope, a crisis manager who runs her own crisis management firm called Pope & Associates in Washington, D.C.. In this position, she works for high-profile figures, most notably the President of the United States, who is also her lover. The show has been a commercial and critical success, and has been called one of the most talked about drama series on Facebook and Twitter by Buzzfeed. Its success has also drawn attention to racial questions in television, as Washington is the first African-American actress to lead an American network drama series since 1974, when Teresa Graves starred in the crime drama Get Christie Love! on ABC. Tanzina Vega of The New York Times has written that Washington's casting "has prompted discussion among academics and fans of the show about whether Scandal represents a new era of post-racial television, in which cast members are ethnically diverse but are not defined by their race or ethnicity."

Washington's performance has earned positive reviews, and in 2013, she won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 44th NAACP Image Awards and was also presented with the NAACP President's Award. The same year, she was named "Favorite actress" and Scandal "Favorite Drama" of the year at TV Guide's Magazine Fan Favorite Awards and was also crowned 2013's "TV Star of the Year" by the editors of the magazine. For her work in the second season of Scandal, Washington was nominated for an Emmy at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards and 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, becoming the first African-American woman to be nominated in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 18 years. She was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series.

In addition to Washington's acting, her costumes as Olivia Pope have attracted positive attention, prompting Vanity Fair to name the character one of The Top Ten Best-Dressed TV Characters in 2013. According to the show's costume designer, Lyn Paolo, the success of Olivia Pope's wardrobe is based on "this idea of having wear such soft, feminine colors in a man's world". In 2014, Washington and Paolo won the Influencer Award at the 2014 Ace Fashion Awards for Olivia Pope's stylish clothes on the show.

Washington was engaged to actor David Moscow from October 2004 to March 2007. Washington married NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha on June 24, 2013 in Hailey, Idaho. They have one daughter, Isabelle Amarachi (born April 21, 2014).

As a sort of souvenir or memento, she usually tries to keep something from every character that she plays, such as an item of wardrobe or a piece of furniture from the house the character lived in.

On May 19, 2013, she was the commencement speaker for her alma mater, George Washington University. Before giving her commencement address she was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.

Kerry Washington's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
2000 Our Song Lanisha Brown
2000 3D Angie
2001 Save the Last Dance Chenille
2001 Lift Niecy
2002 Take the A Train Keisha
2002 Bad Company Julie
2003 The United States of Leland Ayesha
2003 The Human Stain Ellie
2003 Sin Kassie
2004 Against the Ropes Renee
2004 She Hate Me Fatima Goodrich
2004 Ray Della Bea Robinson
2005 Sexual Life Rosalie
2005 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Jasmine
2005 Fantastic Four Alicia Masters
2005 Wait Maggie
2006 Little Man Vanessa
2006 The Last King of Scotland Kay Amin
2006 The Dead Girl Rosetta
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Nikki Tru
2007 Put It in a Book Sheila
2007 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea Medical Officer Marissa Brau
2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Alicia Masters
2008 Woman in Burka Kerry
2008 Miracle at St. Anna Zana Wilder
2008 Lakeview Terrace Lisa Mattson
2009 Life Is Hot in Cracktown Marybeth
2009 Mother and Child Lucy
2010 Night Catches Us Patricia Wilson
2010 For Colored Girls Kelly / Blue
2011 The Details Rebecca Mazzoni
2012 A Thousand Words Caroline McCall
2012 Django Unchained Broomhilda von Schaft
2013 Peeples Grace Peeples
2016 Confirmation Anita Hill

Kerry Washington's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1994 ABC Afterschool Special Heather
1996 Standard Deviants Kerry
2001 NYPD Blue Maya Young
2001 Deadline Tina Johnson
2001 Law & Order Allie Lawrence
2001 100 Centre Street
2002 The Guardian Drea Westbrook
2004 Wonderfalls Mahandra McGinty
2004 Strip Search
Boston Legal Chelina Hall
2008 Psych Mira Gaffney
2010 Black Panther Princess Shuri / Baker Woman (voice)
Scandal Olivia Pope
2013 Jimmy Kimmel Live Nerdy Girl
2013 Saturday Night Live Herself/host
2013 Project Runway Herself

Memorable Quotes by Kerry Washington

“I try not to let my politics limit me artistically, and you know say like "Well, I can't do that because I don't ever want to play a black prostitute" or "I can't do that because I don't ever want to play, you know a drug addict." I really try not to do that. What's important to me is to make sure my characters ring true that they reflect a trueness to society because if I can bring out the true humanity of a character than I'm not perpetuating a stereotype I'm actually revealing a truth.”

“[on her mother's reaction to her in role of Ophelia in a student production of "Hamlet"] I thought, "Wow." This woman who held me in her womb for nine months -- and knows exactly who I am -- for a moment something about this world allowed her to suspend her disbelief and believe I was some other person in some other time. I thought, "This is powerful.”

“I didn't grow up thinking I was pretty: there was always a prettier girl than me. So I learned to be smart and tried to be funny and develop the inside of me, because I felt like that's what I had.”

“I realized that I don't have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect and beautiful journey of my life. It's a trip more wonderful than I could have imagined.”

“In real life, I'm just an actor. I play pretend. I tell stories. Your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.”

“It's in the same way that I don't read my reviews. I try not to get involved in all that stuff because what's important to me is the work and however the work lives in the world is out of my control.”

Things You May Not Know About Kerry Washington

Was accepted into Yale University and Dartmouth College but declined both.

Has played Jamie Foxx's wife in two films: Ray (2004) and Django Unchained (2012).

Growing up in the Bronx, she attended the same local Boys and Girls Club of America as Jennifer Lopez.

Regularly attends church, but also insists to reporters that "I don't talk about my personal life.

Is a cousin of Milly Silva, who ran to be New Jersey's lieutenant governor in 2013. Silva was on the Democratic ticket with State Senator Barbara Buono, who was running for governor. Washington campaigned for Buono and Silva.

Was 7 months pregnant with her daughter Isabelle when she completed filming the 3rd season of Scandal.

Kerry Washington in Django Unchained (2012)...
top picture with Jamie Foxx.
Kerry Washington in The Human Stain (2003).
Washington and Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006).
Washington in The Details (2011).
In The Dead Girl (2006)... top picture with Marcia Gay Harden.
As Olivia Pope in Scandal (2012-Present).
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In Save the Last Dance (2001).
Washington in Ray (2004).
Washington on stage with James Spader in Race (2009).
_0015_peples-pic1-with-craig-robinson-and-david-alan-grier _0014_peoples-pic2-with-craig-robinson
Washington with Craig Robinson in Peeples (2013)...
top picture with David Alan Grier.
_0016_night-catches-us-pic4 _0017_night-catches-us-pic3 _0018_night-catches-us-pic2-with-Anthony-Mackie _0019_night-catches-us-pic1-with-Anthony-Mackie
In Night Catches Us (2010)... bottom two pictures with Anthony Mackie.
In Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005).
_0022_mother-and-child-pic1-with-David-Ramsey _0021_mother-and-child-pic2-with-Juliette-Amara
Washington in Mother and Child (2009)... top picture with David Ramsey... bottom picture with Juliette Amara.
In Life is Hot in Cracktown (2009).
_0028_lakeview-terrace-pic1-with-patrick-wilson _0027_lakeview-terrace-pic2-with-patrick-wilson _0026_lakeview-terrace-pic3-with-patrick-wilson _0025_lakeview-terrace-pic4 _0024_lakeview-terrace-pic5
With Patrick Wilson in Lakeview Terrace (2008).
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In For Colored Girls (2010)... top picture with Hill Harper...
bottom picture with Michael Ealy.
In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).
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As Anita Hill in Confirmation (2016).
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Kerry Washington and Eddie Murphy in A Thousand Words (2012).