Kerry Washington is the latest cover star for Marie Claire‘s Power Issue. For the cover feature, she talks life after tv series Scandal, heading back to Broadway, motherhood, and the Time Up movement.
Read excerpts below:
On the word Power: Honestly, I think about power as more of an internal phenomenon, I tend to think about empowerment for myself so that I have the courage and ability to act on the ideologies and priorities that resonate with me. I’ve always wanted to cultivate a sense of empowerment within myself without seeking approval from outside sources, which is hard to do as an actor, which is part of why producing is so important and which is where some of my freedom, or learning, to take that sense of freedom and bring it to a larger audience and larger space has a lot to do with having my employer be a black woman.
On working on Broadway: Theater is a big part of why I fell in love with storytelling and with acting and I hadn’t been able to do it for the whole life of Scandal. I love being in the room with your audience. There’s something very meditative and monastic to me about theatre because on TV, every single day is different. To commit yourself to go to the same place and saying the same words and walking the same path, it’s almost like a labyrinth in a monastery or a walking meditation, where the world around you changes but you don’t. You commit to the same task at hand, and in doing that, you learn so much. The last time I did theater, it completely transformed my life. That’s where I met my husband.
On what Motherhood has taught her: Everything. My children are my teachers. There’s a writer that I love, Dr Shefali Tsabary. She writes about conscious parenting, and her paradigm is that we think about it all wrong. We think children come into the world and it’s our job to mold them and create them and teach them who to be so that they can be the best version of themselves, but it’s actually completely upside down. We get sent by God the kids we need so we can grow in order to be the parents they need us to be. The children I got sent came in perfect, and I have to figure out how to grow and evolve so that I can support the truth of them. I’m in a constant state of learning and challenging myself to make room for their perfection and beauty.
On the disparities in representation and action for women of colour in the industry and beyond: It’s complicated to be a woman of colour doing this work because I remember the first time I talked about it in a meeting. I said to the white women in the room, ‘You all roll your eyes when they call it a witch hunt, but for black women in this country, we’ve had our men hung from trees for whistling at white women when they did no wrong. The false accusation of sexual assault is a very real danger for us in a way that doesn’t resonate for you, and so when you wonder why there aren’t more of us in the room, that might be part of it.
It was in that meeting that we were talking about how one of our members got word that there was a powerful exposé being developed around R. Kelly and said, ‘Do we want to get ahead of this?’ It was like, ‘Of course we do.’ It can’t be only the Angelina Jolies and the Gwyneth Paltrows, that we prioritize their pain and ignore all of these underage black women who for decades have been saying, ‘Help me.’ We came forward for them in a statement about R. Kelly, and it was Time’s Up WOC’s first big public action.