Kerry Washington will not talk about anything that she doesn’t want to talk about. I respect her for that, and I admire her control. She’s able to maintain her privacy and keep secrets in a confessional, tell-all, share-all era. But can I just say? I would like her even more if she allowed her self-control to slip a few times in interviews. I don’t need to know about her babies, but I’d like to know her thoughts about political stories of the day, and social issues and economic issues facing women and more. While she’s used her platform to talk about those kinds of things here and there, she never makes news because she never lets her self-control slip for even one second. She doesn’t want to offend, she doesn’t want to be known. I was reminded of all that as I read through her Allure interview, which was conducted the day after neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville. She didn’t want to even talk about it. Some highlights:
Talking about moisturizer while neo-Nazis march: “I’m glad you said that… I have to dip in and dip out, because it suffocates me. Like, I become unable to function. So it’s a tricky balance between staying aware and also staying connected to a sense of hope and productivity and showing up for life.”
No one can look like Olivia Pope in real life: “There’s someone who follows me around all day long [on the set]. Like, literally follows me to make sure there’s not a single hair out of place. This is somebody’s full-time job. Then someone follows me around to add powder so that I never look shinier than I’m supposed to.”
There are even different concealers throughout the week: “Friday night’s concealer is very different than Tuesday afternoon’s concealer. They get thicker as the week goes on and you get more exhausted.”
Her natural hair: “I like to wear my natural texture, especially now because I have children and I want them to know that their hair is perfect as it is. They don’t have to change it or straighten it. They can, but they don’t have to.”
Her next projects: “I’m working now on 24/7, this comedy about three women in the workplace, and Eva Longoria and I are two out of the three. We basically walked into Universal and acted it out for them, and they were like, ‘OK.’ ” And since she executive-produced the Anita Hill story Confirmation for HBO, she wants more of that. “It’s kind of like being the Olivia Pope of television. You get to change people’s lives and fix problems and be grounded and assertive and of service. So it really is a lot of things that I felt Olivia has taught me to do in pretend and then to apply those skills when I produce.”
“I have to dip in and dip out, because it suffocates me. Like, I become unable to function.” I get that. I really do. We all have to cope and self-care the way we see fit. Some days, I can’t watch or read the news. Some days I just need to zone out on tennis and cooking shows and pretend the world isn’t burning. But also: she has an incredible platform to say something meaningful in what was then the immediate wake of white supremacist terrorism. She’s an African-American woman living and working and raising her family in America – it’s not her duty or her responsibility to speak about or to these issues, but I’m still sort of disappointed that her immediate instinct was to act like it wasn’t happening. Is that wrong? It’s probably wrong. I understand if you want to yell at me because I’m mildly disappointed with Kerry Washington. That’s what happens when you actually show some personality (cough, Kerry).
Photos courtesy of Allure.