Kerry Washington on 'Scandal,' motherhood and her passion for purple

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Kerry Washington on Purple Purse and "Scandal"
BY DONNA FREYDKIN

There's a Pope in the house.

And we're not talking about the Pontiff from Rome, whose visit mesmerized America last week.

The second episode of ABC's Scandal airs Thursday, and we know that master image minder Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) has hooked up with President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), who's given his scheming wife and newly-elected senator (Bellamy Young) the boot. Now, Olivia is officially the lady-friend of the leader of the free world.

"Lady-friend! I like that. Against our will, because we were going to take it easy and be private for a bit longer but someone leaked those pics," says Washington. "We wanted to have a little bit more time before we told people about it. So my plan goes out the window."



There's notorious secrecy surrounding the show, which is no accident -- such is the dictate that Washington only flies with scripts in her carry-on bags, lest they get lost.

"We have numbered scripts. They're very hard to get. I never put my script into my checked luggage. None of us read our scripts in the gym anymore because someone could be peeking over your shoulder. Sometimes I work it on the plane but I turn it to face the window so no one can see," says Washington.

Washington is married to former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha and has one daughter, Isabelle, almost 2. To date, the child has been kept out of the spotlight, something that is of paramount importance to her ultra-protective mother. Like any parent, she figures things out as she goes along, much the same as her boss, ultra-powerful show runner Shonda Rhimes. Please, don't ask Washington about juggling work and family.



"Shonda has shamed a number of people for asking that question. Part of it is asking for help. Literally, it's asking, 'What did you do about sleep training? Is that hotel kid-friendly?' And pick up really tangible tips, like literally, what time do you fly?" she says.

Washington remains outspoken on behalf of women. Her biggest initiative to date: the Allstate Purple Purse program, which focuses on financial abuse, teaching women to manage their finances, from balancing their check books to cleaning up their credit.

"It's a tangible way to make a difference. You're giving someone the tools to walk away," says Washington. "Coming from a family of really strong women and going to an all-girls school and being a girl who likes to hang out with other girls — some women are not girl's girls and some are. As someone who believes in the value and necessity of protecting women, it's always been on my mind."

To that end, Washington has launched a purse that costs $350, and part of the proceeds benefit the program. "I was very involved. Last year I designed it by myself and this year it was a collaborative effort with Dee Ocleppo. We picked the metals and size together," says Washington. "I worked really hard with her to pick a textile that was affordable, keeping it young."



In her copious amounts of spare time — she jokes that she spends hours lounging in a hot tub — Washington has also started producing and she's wrapped Confirmation for HBO, playing Anita Hill in the notorious Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

"Hair in 1991 was its own beautiful beast," says Washington. "She was very fashion-forward."

16 PHOTOS
scandal, ABC tv
See Gallery
Kerry Washington on 'Scandal,' motherhood and her passion for purple
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
This Jan. 30, 2013 photo shows actor Tony Goldwyn from the ABC television series "Scandal" in New York. Goldwyn portrays President Fitzgerald Grant, who is having an affair with his former communications director, Olivia Pope, portrayed by Kerry Washington. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)
In this Nov. 11, 2013 photo, actor Joe Morton poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. After five decades on Broadway, in films and television, the veteran actor Morton has scared up another success as the often-ruthless father of political fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on "Scandal." (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'Gladiators Don't Run' - As the gladiators watch from a far, countries around the world begin to bid on Olivia Pope. Meanwhile, Andrew and Fitz go toe to toe on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'A Few Good Women' - Vice President Ross continues to defy the Grant administration when she hires Olivia Pope to defend a woman in the Navy. Meanwhile, Quinn and Huck must do what they do best to get answers about B613 and Mellie's campaign for Senate continues to be a struggle, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, MAY 7 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'Gladiators Don't Run' - As the gladiators watch from a far, countries around the world begin to bid on Olivia Pope. Meanwhile, Andrew and Fitz go toe to toe on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'No More Blood' - As the bidding for Olivia Pope continues, the gladiators fight to save her but The White House fears that they may lose her for good, on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'Gladiators Don't Run' - As the gladiators watch from a far, countries around the world begin to bid on Olivia Pope. Meanwhile, Andrew and Fitz go toe to toe on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images)
SCANDAL - 'Gladiators Don't Run' - As the gladiators watch from a far, countries around the world begin to bid on Olivia Pope. Meanwhile, Andrew and Fitz go toe to toe on 'Scandal,' THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Mitchell Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

People are Reading