Zap2it: You’ve had political involvements yourself, having worked on election campaigns such as President Obama’s. How is that factoring into your work on “Scandal”?
Kerry Washington: When you scratch the surface of any public servant, you often find stories of how the arts and humanities and literature have transformed — and really saved — people’s lives, so it’s fun for me to be in that world.
Zap2it: Did you meet image consultant and former presidential aide Judy Smith, on whom your “Scandal” character is based?
Kerry Washington: I actually have spent a lot of time with her and have become really close to her. I have such immense respect for her … and for her brain. She thinks in such a strategic, long-term-planning way. She just has a fast-paced, brilliant mind that I admire tremendously, and she’s also beautiful and kind and gracious.
There are lots of things she can’t tell me, but there have been lots of wonderful stories I’ve been able to hear with no names attached. One of the fun things I like to do is to call Judy and say, “Where are you right now?” And she’ll say, “I can’t tell you, Kerry.”
Zap2it: How is it to deal with both Judy Smith and executive producer Shonda Rhimes, of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame, on the series?
Kerry Washington: Pretty amazing. Both of those women, I admire on so many levels. Also, to be a woman of color working for two powerful and smart and fantastic women of color has been such a treat.
“Scandal” airs Thursdays on ABC.