Kerry Washington was fired from two TV pilots for not being 'hood' enough

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Kerry Washington: "There Was a Lot of Toxicity in My Life"

Hollywood is no stranger to stereotype casting. "Scandal's" Kerry Washington and "Master of None" star and executive producer Aziz Ansari have come face to face with this reality on multiple occasions throughout their careers. The actors swapped nightmare stories during a sit-down for Variety's fourth season of "Actors on Actors."

"Before 'Scandal,' I was actually cast in two other pilots. Both went to series, but I was fired and recast," Washington said. "For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more 'girlfriend,' more like 'hood,' more 'urban.'"

While Washington experienced the repercussions of not fitting a certain stereotype, she soon discovered that it wasn't exclusive to racial cliches.

"I've had friends of mine say like they're tired of 'gayface' and I was like, 'What's gayface?' They were like, 'It's the gay version of blackface, like come in and be more effeminate,"' Washington said, recounting past conversations.

"It's interesting; like every person that's not a straight, white guy has their version of this," Ansari said.

See photos of the actress:

21 PHOTOS
Kerry Washington through the years
See Gallery
Kerry Washington was fired from two TV pilots for not being 'hood' enough
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington arrives at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Kerry Washington arrives at the #TGIT Premiere Event hosted by Twitter at Palihouse Holloway on September 20, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington attends the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Kerry Washington is seen outside 'Good Morning America' on on September 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: (L-R) Producer Shonda Rhimes and actress Kerry Washington arrive at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GLAAD)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington speaks onstage during the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for GLAAD)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: (L-R) Actress Portia de Rossi, tv personality Ellen DeGeneres, actress Kerry Washington and writer-producer Shonda Rhimes attend the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GLAAD)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington attends the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 21: Actress Kerry Washington attends the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Actress Kerry Washington is seen during 'Good Morning America' taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Kerry Washington is seen in Midtown on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Actress Kerry Washington seen on the streets of Manhattan on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/GC Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0130 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Kerry Washington during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on September 23, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Actress Kerry Washington is seen arriving at 'Good Morning America''on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Kerry Washington is seen outside 'Good Morning America' on on September 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Lyn Paolo and Kerry Washington at The Limited Collection Inspired by Scandal Launch Event at IAC Building on September 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Nomi Ellenson/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Kerry Washington (L) and CEO at The Limited Diane Ellis attend The Limited Scandal Collection Launch Event at IAC Building on September 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Limited Scandal Collection)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Kerry Washington attends the #TGIT premiere event hosted by Twitter at Palihouse Holloway on September 20, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Ellen DeGeneres and Kerry Washington attend the #TGIT premiere event hosted by Twitter at Palihouse Holloway on September 20, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Ansari said he's shown up to auditions only to find he got booked because the project was trying to cast a certain look.

"A lot of other minority actors have told me, 'Oh, this so rings a bell' when you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you and you just start feeling like, 'Oh I'm not here [for me], I'm here because I fit what looks like the person they want in here,"' Ansari said, referencing a "Master of None" episode — "Indians on TV" — where he addresses auditioning.

Ansari said as executive producer of "Master of None," he has tried to bring authenticity to the characters he features on the Netflix show, allowing them to keep their own clothing styles and be themselves instead of becoming a character on a page.

"I feel like a lot of times people don't do that and then you end up with other people's perception of what certain people are like," Ansari said.

"I definitely feel like I'm at that point where it's nice to not have to sit at home and wait to be invited to the party, but to be creating work for yourself," Washington added.

Watch the entire interview when the two-part fourth season premiere of "Variety Studio: Actors on Actors" airs June 12 and June 19 on PBS SoCal. Presented by Shopbop/East Dane, the episodes will also be available to stream on Variety.com.


Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL and get the top celebrity, movies, music and TV news delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners