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On black female role models and brown Barbie dolls… 

“I’m on the cover of ESSENCE for the month of November, and that means a lot to me because I grew up in a household where my mother was a subscriber to ESSENCE. And so I grew up feeling like black women should and are on the cover of fashion magazines. And my mother did not grow up in that world, which is part of the reason why her subscription meant so much to her. I remember Vanessa Williams winning Miss America and I remember the impact that had in my household. My mother was very conscious of, for example, making sure I had dolls that were brown, brown Cabbage patch kids so they looked like me, brown Barbie dolls, so they looked like me. I was allowed to have white ones, too but [laughs].

On her Emmy nomination and why black actors need more opportunity for lead roles… 

“There was a lot of talk when I was blessed with the Emmy nomination. There was a lot of talk about the historic nature of that nomination, because it had almost been 20 years since a woman of color had been nominated. And no woman of color has ever won best actress for television. Not black woman, no woman of color has ever won. I think it’s important to say is that is not because of a lack of talent in the industry, that is because a lack of opportunity. It’s not that it’s been 20 years since there’s been an actress who could do what I’m doing It’s just that the job hasn’t been available. No network or studio has wanted to take the risk to put a woman of color in the number 1 position on a network television show.”

On why growing up in New York City delayed her foray into fashion… 

“I think that really the fashion and beauty stuff is fun for me because I came to it really late in life. I really was a bookworm, nerd, theater kid. I think I had a lot of fear around it to be honest because growing up in New York City if you look too cute, it means something when you walk down the street. It calls a certain kind of attention to you that can be devastatingly terrifying. So I think for a lot of my life I tried to avoid that kind of attention, and just thought no, I’m just going to be smart and funny, and not worry about being pretty. And so when I came to this stuff, I came to it like a student. And I decided, you know what, I think I’m going to start to learn how to do this red carpet thing, because it’s part of my marketing department as an actor, for me to be a smart businesswoman, I should take advantage of this opportunity in this section of my life and my work. And there are eyes on me and I don’t want to take that for granted. I want to show up in this part of my life in a way that feels responsible. So I studied like the child of a professor that I am, I studied. I was going to learn the difference between Louis Vuitton and Lanvin, and I did. And so it excites me. You know, now when I watch the shows, for me, it’s like going to an opera or going to the museum. It’s a great artist, previewing their new work and I enjoy it, and I celebrate it.

On protecting her privacy… 

“I just have to be more conscious about my boundaries. I just have to be more careful and more conscious about the choices that I make, the things that I say, the places I go, the things I do in order to maintain my own identity and personal life. I really put it in the work. I try to be really naked emotionally in my work. Because if I do that, I don’t have guilt in keeping my life for me, because I’m giving all of it.”


“SAY WORD” TJMS~ Kerry Washington On Scandal’s New Season, And Why She Embraces Brains & Beauty [INTERVIEW]  was originally published on oldschool955.com

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