Kerry Washington Makes a Splash as Vanity Fair's Cover Girl

The Scandal star talks about not wanting to live in a post-racial society.

Posted: 07/03/2013 11:57 AM EDT
Kerry Washington on Vanity Fair

(Photo: Vanity Fair Magazine, August 2013)

Kerry Washington is sizzling on the cover of Vanity Fair's August issue. On it, the Scandal actress takes a dip in the pool wearing a white one-piece bathing suit and slicked back hair. In the cover story, "the most intriguing star" on "the most intriguing show" talks about how white women have connected with her character Olivia Pope and why she isn't interested in living in a post-racial society.

"I don't believe in post-racial. It's like saying we should live in a post-gender world. But I love being a woman! I am interested in living in a post-sexist world and feel the same about race. I don't want to live in a post-race world because being Black is really exciting. I mean…[she laughs] it's who I am. I'm a woman, Black, from New York, Aquarius – these are things that create who I am. I'm interested in living in a post-racist world, where being African American doesn't dictate limitations on what I can do – but I don't want to live post-race. Our differences are so fascinating and wonderful. We don't want to all be the same. Who wants that? Hitler did, but who else?"

It seems that her role on the ABC drama is already crossing bridges between different races as white women of all ages have approached the actress saying they, too, want to be Olivia Pope.

"It's especially profound in a place like South Africa," she continues. "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 think, in the medium of television. 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."

And while Pope is no-nonsense when it comes to handling critical situations, Washington sees the role as very maternal and feminine.

"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. You come stay in my office, have a cup of tea, and let my gladiators take care of you.' There's something very maternal about it. But there's also something very executive about her, and I mean 'executive' in a presidential way."


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