Kerry Washington Graces Cover of Vanity Fair

For all you Washington journalists who are obsessed with ABC’s “Scandal” this should be of interest. Kerry Washington, the political activist and actress who regularly shows up to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, will appear on the August cover of Vanity Fair.

Contributing Editor David Kamp interviewed Washington extensively for his story. In it, they discuss her upbringing and the phenomenon of her “Scandal” character, Olivia Pope. She tells him, “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.’”

Washington explains to Kamp that she sees the role of fixer as inherently 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.”

Washington says she is not Pope and insists she is not as smart as the character she plays. In fact, she prepares by reading CNN legal correspondent’s Jeffrey Toobin’s The Nine to better understand the workings of the Supreme Court: “I have to learn things to be her all the time.” She also speaks regularly with Judy Smith, the real-life D.C. crisis-management expert upon whom Olivia is loosely based.

The August issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands and the iPad, Nook, and Kindle on July 9.