Kerry Washington’s Scandal role gave her courage to have kids

Kerry Washington’s starring role as political fixer Olivia Pope in Scandal gave her the courage to have children.

The actress, who has two children, 17-month-old Caleb and Isabelle, three, with husband Nnamdi Asomugha, began playing the skilled crisis manager in Shonda Rhimes’ hit TV series in 2012.

And she credits her six years portraying an alpha female as changing her life – as it gave her the courage to do anything, including starting a family.

“I don’t know if I would have had kids at this point in my life if she didn’t make me feel like anything is possible,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I feel like she’s given me a lot of courage. So I’ll keep that courage.”

Scandal is now in its seventh and final season, and Kerry confesses that she’ll miss her character’s sense of style, saying, “I’m going to have to say bye to the Prada purses but not goodbye to the courage and the courage is more important.”

Although she’s moving on to new roles, the 41-year-old said she’ll never fully leave Olivia, a former lawyer who helps keep political scandals under wraps, behind.

The thing that’s really fun for me about saying goodbye to a character is they kind of live in you,” she explained. “There will be things that Olivia Pope has given me that always stay with me. She’s changed me.”

When Scandal debuted, Olivia was the first female black protagonist in a major U.S. TV drama for decades – and the character has also won praise for her complexity and strength.

Speaking about the series’ legacy, Kerry added, “There is so much that has happened, a black woman being the lead on a network show, all of that is so important. But equally important is that this is a work environment where we have treated each other with a great deal of love and respect and I really want that to be part of our legacy.”

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