As she gears up for the release of her next project, an adaptation of Celeste Ng's novel Little Fires Everywhere, actress Kerry Washington is reflecting on her iconic Scandal character in an interview with Variety.
The Bronx native revealed the pressure in taking what would become her Emmy nominated portrayal of fashionista fixer Olivia Pope. When Scandal premiered on ABC in 2012, Washington became the first Black woman to headline a network drama in 40 years.
“I didn’t feel the pressure from my ego, like ‘I have to make the show work,’” Washington said. “It was more ‘If we fuck this up, it’s going to be another 40 years before they let a Black woman be the lead of a network drama. We have to get this right.’”
Washington, who also starred in the Broadway play American Son and its respective film adaptation on Netflix, also discussed how approaches towards racial inclusion on screen have evolved since the 1990s.
"There was a lot of focus in the '90s on being ‘color-blind,’ on making color unimportant, in some ways to make people feel more comfortable being around people of a different race,” said Washington. “We’re at a point now when we know it does matter who we are with regard to race and gender, and it doesn’t serve us to run away from that.”
Little Fires Everywhere premieres on Hulu on March 18.
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