podcast·2 min read

Kerry Washington on Choosing Work with Intention

Jul 27, 2022

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Kerry Washington blessed our TV screens on movies + shows like Django Unchained, Little Fires Everywhere, and Scandal. But before she popped off as Olivia Pope, Kerry says she was choosy about roles offered to her. Even if saying “no” meant having less financial freedom.

On Realizing Acting Could be Her Career 

Kerry: Something clicked for me where I thought, the fact that there are multiple unions for actors says to me that I could make a living doing this thing that I love to do, even if I'm never famous. I always thought wanting to be an actor meant that you had to want to be famous. That you had to want to be a movie star. And I just didn't think that that had anything to do with me. I wasn't hungry for that. What I loved about acting was turning into other people, becoming other people, disappearing into characters. I didn't want me, Kerry Washington, to be a famous person. I never saw myself being on the cover of anybody's magazine ever. And so it was this knowledge that there were these unions out there that I could make a living doing what I loved doing. And I didn't have to want to be famous.

On Being Intentional with Her Work

Kerry: I've compromised a lot when it comes to like, you know what? I'm gonna take this one, and hopefully I'll make more money on the next one. Or I'm gonna take this job that's in a city that I don't necessarily wanna be in. But it was always because I wanted to tell that story. Where I was less compromising was in telling stories that I didn't believe in or that I felt were detrimental to the larger narrative being told about women or about black people, people of color black women in particular. Right? So I've always really worked hard to say no to creative projects as an actor that I didn't want to tell. Ideas and stories that I didn't want to perpetuate. Stereotypes that I didn't want to embody. 


PS: 9 to 5ish is going on vacation for the next few weeks. We’ll be back in your feed with new episodes with some amazing women in September. Until then, keep up with Carly and Danielle @carlyanddanielle on Instagram. 

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