Kerry Washington opens up about how her family, work and being an activist in the latest edition of Marie Claire Magazine.
The actress who is also on the cover of the Power Issue of the magazine shared her thoughts on motherhood and her responsibility to Hollywood.
On how she selects and portrays her characters
I am drawn to stories that I feel allow us a window into worlds we normally don’t have access to and give voice to characters that we tend to look away from as a society, stories that make us pause and consider the other and see ourselves in the other,” Washington says. “It’s my homework to three-dimensionalize a character, which often in my career hasn’t been fully three-dimensionalized in the writing. For a lot of people, my characters may be the very few black women that they spend time with. So for me to paint her in any way flat or stereotypical or within the framework of social norms or our habits of not fully taking in women of color and walking by them—I have a responsibility to do something different.
On what motherhood has taught her
Everything. My children are my teachers… We think children come into the world and it’s our job to mold them and create them and teach them who to be so that they can be the best version of themselves, but it’s actually completely upside down. We get sent by God the kids we need so we can grow in order to be the parents they need us to be. The children I got sent came in perfect, and I have to figure out how to grow and evolve so that I can support the truth of them. I’m in a constant state of learning and challenging myself to make room for their perfection and beauty.
On being black in Hollywood and sexual harassment
It’s complicated to be a woman of color doing this work because I remember the first time I talked about it in a meeting. I said to the white women in the room, ‘You all roll your eyes when they call it a witch hunt, but for black women in this country, we’ve had our men hung from trees for whistling at white women when they did no wrong. The false accusation of sexual assault is a very real danger for us in a way that doesn’t resonate for you, and so when you wonder why there aren’t more of us in the room, that might be part of it.’
It can’t be only the Angelina Jolies and the Gwyneth Paltrows, that we prioritize their pain and ignore all of these underage black women who for decades have been saying, ‘Help me.’
See pictures from the issue below