Fall TV Preview
Scandal Season 5

Scandal's Kerry Washington: Olivia Pope Should Be 'Nobody's Role Model'

If you bump into Scandal star Kerry Washington at, say, Starbuck’s, don’t tell her that you want to be just like Olivia Pope. Because she will not understand where you are coming from.

“I’ve always thought it was misguided when people tell me that Olivia is their role model,” the actress shared Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. The reason why: “Because she’s having an affair with a married man, who is President of the United States. And a murderer.”

Washington acknowledged that “there are things that are very admirable” about her TV alter ego — “She’s an entrepeneur, she’s very smart, she has an amazing closet” — but reiterated, “She is nobody’s role model.” And that is by design, courtesy of series creator Shonda Rhimes.

“One of the things that Shonda does, and [How to Get Away With Murder creator] Pete [Nowalk] does, is all of these characters are complicated characters,” Washington observed. “There are no good guys and bad guys in Shondaland. You have three-dimensional, messy human beings. Nothing is perfect in Shondaland, people are real.”

Lord knows, nothing much was perfect when Scandal ended Season 4, leaving many of its human beings as messy as ever. When Season 5 arrives on Sept. 24, Rhimes said at TCA, “We are picking up almost pretty much where we left off. The world had been blown apart for everybody except Olivia and Fitz — we left them on the Truman balcony doing some kissing. Cyrus no longer working in the White House… Mellie is no longer living in the White House, Jake said he was walking away… Quinn was thinking about killing Huck…. We pick up right there in that environment. and we see what happens next.”

Do you agree with Kerry Washington, that no one should aspire to be Olivia Pope, illicit love life and all?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. m3rcnate says:

    Amen Kerry, amen. WAAAY too many actors and actresses get high on their character when in reality their character (in the context of the real world) is a scum bag.
    .
    Example; Sophia Bush with her character. Always tweeting how proud she is of the show and her character (etc), but in reality her character is a former (now active) addict, former “street worker”, has broken the law multiple times in her position of authority (cop), has broken civilians constitutional rights, and more. Other characters that she “loves” like Voight as murders, scumbags, criminals themselves, etc.
    .
    I love that Kerry is doing this, i’d love to see this be a start to a movement of actors and actresses commenting saying how their character is NOT a role model. Should NOT be idolized or loved.

    • Cas says:

      I would hardly use her being an addict against her. She is an addict who managed to do something with her life. just a thought.

      • m3rcnate says:

        First off, do you want a former addict to be a police officer/detective in a case that matters to you? Second off, her being an addict can be used against her, because look at her now, back hooked on drugs and on the force, her decision making is compromised and she is breaking the law being high or in withdraw while on the job as a Police Officer.

        • Lizo says:

          So you’re stance is that people in addiction recovery shouldn’t have any sort of meaningful job? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a former addict being a police officer.

          • m3rcnate says:

            Once an addict, always an addict. Always that stronger than a non-addict temptation. The mind has been permanently altered. What if he/she comes up upon a case that specifically deals with the drug he/she is an addict about? All it takes is one bad decision because he/she is an addict and it can cost the officer his/her job, or cost a life….the stakes are too high.

          • Dmac says:

            She in no way shape or form be part of any police force.

  2. zac says:

    This show is where we need major deaths (*coughs* Jake) and not on Grey’s. It’s just weird when normal doctors get killed by planes crashes, hospital shooters and cars suddenly coming out of nowhere when on Scandal there are secret spy organizations and political wars and Papa Pope.

    • Al says:

      This!!! I wish Grimm Reaper visited this show more often than Greys

    • AddieM says:

      Scandal needs an overhaul, they need to kill off a big character like Fitz…. enough with the adulterous soapy drama..the show needs to get back to being a political drama. If Shonda can kill off McDreamy, surely she can do it for Scandal

      • Lizo says:

        I agree. I like the soap aspect, but I want more political intrigue. I think we’re going to get more of it next season with Mellie, but I want it for Liv too.
        .
        And yesss, kill off Fitz haha. I can’t stand him

        • olivia says:

          They need to kill off Jake and Popa Pope as their roles ruined the original show that America fell love with and raised the ratings sky high. ‘More of Mellie next season’ You say? You do know that Kerry is the STAR of the show, right? I’m repeating myself, but it’s mindboggling how some of you think

      • Elsavita Deane says:

        Adddie M. If you think that Politicians are bastions of morality, then you need to remove those rose glasses. Perhaps you’re upset the Fitz love interest is a black woman.

  3. Hmm says:

    Lord knows, nothing much was perfect

    Yeah,that’s right! Season 4 wasn’t perfect,it sucked.

  4. TAL says:

    While I understand that Olivia Pope is no role model, I do not understand why Kerry launched a clothing line based on someone who isn’t worth emulating. What’s the deal? Why did she want fans dre$$ing like Olivia Pope if she is nothing to emulate? Glad I didn’t spend my money on the Scandal collection…I wouldn’t want to dress like someone who is not a role model…

    • leash10 says:

      She may not be a great role model, but she has killer style and that’s ok to emulate. 😊

      • olivia says:

        Obviously Kerry no longer likes her character, but Olivia remains a role model. That union between Fitz and Mellie can hardly be called a marriage.

    • Lizo says:

      THERE’S AN OLIVIA POPE FASHION LINE?!!? *hands over all my money*

    • AddieM says:

      Well it’s not exactly rocket science that Olivia Pope is messed up & makes some very questionable choices…With or without KW’s confirmation people already know that. However her fashion sense is spot on..and it’s ok to want to dress like OP

    • Carol says:

      This is a simple-minded statement. By buying clothes, you are emulating Olivia’s sense of style and confidence in presenting herself.

      “Washington acknowledged that “there are things that are very admirable” about her TV alter ego — “She’s an entrepeneur, she’s very smart, she has an amazing closet” — but reiterated, “She is nobody’s role model.” And that is by design, courtesy of series creator Shonda Rhimes.

      “One of the things that Shonda does, and [How to Get Away With Murder creator] Pete [Nowalk] does, is all of these characters are complicated characters,” Washington observed. “There are no good guys and bad guys in Shondaland. You have three-dimensional, messy human beings. Nothing is perfect in Shondaland, people are real.”

      As Kerry said, there are things to admire about Olivia in her professional life even if her personal life is messy. All human beings are imperfect – do good and bad things. But she is right that Olivia and none of the characters on the show are role models. Actually TV and movie characters and celebrities in general should not be looked at as role models.

      • TAL says:

        If they are not role models, then she shouldn’t sell products based on them. Why even promote something like that as a business? That sends mixed messages to the fans…selling something based on someone is an endorsement. I understand that characters are flawed, but to fail to defend her character then turn around and sell clothing based on the character seems very hypocritical.

        Like I said in a post in another forum, Scandal has stagnated because the lead character has had no character development since season 2. And it’s clear why. The actress playing her doesn’t won’t even go to bat for her…

        • Lizo says:

          Washington clearly loves playing OP and saying she won’t go to bat for her is really off base. She can be critical of the character – no one would say OP makes good choices – but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her or love playing her. It’s not a binary of good / bad – it’s a grey zone.
          .
          And it doesn’t send mixed messages. It says OP has friggen awesome style. Which she does. “Bad” people can dress nicely (and have good qualities)

    • :) says:

      Because that wardrobe is everything! !! Olivia makes the best dressed list without a T & A show. Stylish, sofiaticated every woman type style

    • Cheyenne says:

      Of all the ridiculous comments… would you dress like a role model who had lousy taste in clothes? Whether or not Olivia is a good role model, she has some fabulous outfits. Much better, in fact, than Kerry Washington in real life. I’ve always said whoever dresses Olivia Pope for formal occasions should dress Kerry Washington for her red carpet appearances, because she has made some godawful fashion choices.

    • Elsavita Deane says:

      What is your IQ?

      • TAL says:

        Have you check The Limited’s website for the Scandal Collection lately? Everything item is marked down to pennies on the dollar, and there is no news of new items for Fall 2015 or Spring 2016. Guess using Olivia Pope as the inspiration for a clothing line does not translate into profits. My IQ is way higher than that of whoever decided that someone who is a lousy role model would be a good marketing tool…

  5. Brian says:

    Very good point, Tal. Damn, good point.

  6. Lizo says:

    Naw, Olivia Pope is a great role model. She doesn’t make the best decisions all the time (especially when it comes to romance), but her supreme badassery, her confidence, her brashness as she demands respect and demands to get what she wants….those are all admirable traits that I know I wish I was a bit more like Olivia. And her fashion.

    • Julie says:

      she is all of those things….until she’s around Fitz. And then she’s a puddle of mush having an affair with a married man, and ready to do anything and everything he wants without regard to what she wants. All of those admirable traits fly right out the window when he’s around. But I agree she does have amazing style.

    • Jean says:

      Her fashion sense, yes. No, her character is not a role model. I’d rather fail at being a leader than succeed as being an imitator.

  7. Mr. Tran K says:

    They didn’t mention about the fate of Huck. Started to hate Guillermo Diaz’s character turning him into a “monster” and I’m wondering if he’s going to be back for the upcoming season whether or not he took the bullet from Quinn. All I can say is WHAT THE HUCK?!

  8. Geo says:

    She may say “there are no good guys or bad guys in Shondaland,” but these characters really aren’t ambiguous– most of them at this point are simply bad guys. Fitz and Jake are point-blank murderers, Huck is a serial killer who gets off on torture, Quinn is morally somewhere in the area of a Manson follower, Cyrus is so corrupt he once considered having his own husband murdered for political gain (though Jake later did that deed for his organization’s own benefit, thus killing one of the more innocent characters in the cast). None of these people seem that torn or conflicted over committing murder, even of innocents, if it serves their needs. If that meets a standard that “they’re not good guys or bad guys” instead of “they’re all pretty monstrous” in Shondaland, then Shondaland sounds like it’s run by sociopaths.

  9. Kylie Alexander says:

    Oh Please-Kerry W and company are all Shonbots (Shonda’s robots). They are told what to say to the press. It is all about ratings and money. Season 5 should be the last season for Scandal. Bad acting and storylines. All of Shonda’s shows follow the same format-makes you fall in love with the character and then she destroys them or kills them. Kerry will never win an Emmy. After scandal ends-good luck to her.

    • Carol says:

      Kerry is not trying to burn any bridges in Hollywood with Shonda who can be vindictive. I get the impression that Kerry is busy developing her own projects for her production company.

      Now that she has a movie (Confirmation) deal with HBO Kerry will likely be making plans to move on from Shondaland – maybe develop her own TV show, TV movies and feature films (has a movie planned with Viola Davis based on a book). Hopefully Confirmation will be a critical success and get Kerry an Emmy for acting or producing.

      The only bad acting on the show that stands out for me is Scott Foley who has never been known for his acting skills. Everyone else sells their characters based on the scripts they are given.

    • Jen I l gray says:

      You need to check out kw’s body of work, before you criticize her acting. Start with the year she made the movie Our Song and go from there. She does not need your look when Scandal ends, she will be just fine

  10. arial2 says:

    Right on the money, Kerry Washington! There are many admirable qualities about Olivia, but the major things in which she’s willingly become involved rule out “role model” as an item on her resume.

  11. sweetbaby says:

    talk of murderer , OP is murderer too and so is her parents both mom n dad is the worst one who killed so many innocent peoples when he got upset , and 2nd worst is Joke Ballard cold bloodedly killed 3 ppl on season 3 , please if OP not a role model is because the show runner write crazy storyline of she having very sick parents n very sick to randomly sleep over with guy met in a bar or fell for JB the cool blooded murderer who choked her n hurt her into hospital just after they slept together not because for fall in love with the potus fitz or fitz murder the old verna who is dying for cancer that fitz save OP from going into jail ! scandal go up rating for olitz affair , but go down rating for OP B613 n JB story line, face the fact !

  12. olivia says:

    I am sorry Kerry feels this way. Initially she was very proud of Olivia, who fell in love with Fitz who was in a dead marriage with the insane Mellie. Olitz was truly a great love story early on. The writers ruined Kerry and Tony characters unfortunately. They turned Olivia into a whore with the useless Jake and Fitz into a murderer; then transformed Mellie into a hero! This puzzled me, as the ‘star’ of the show always holds that title. How did Mellie claim it? I still think Olivia is a great role model. She is brilliant, strong, and classy.

  13. Chris says:

    I respect that, and agree.

    • Kylie Alexander says:

      OMG-Why do we care what Kerry W has to say about anything? She is an actress reading lines. Any of us with half a brain to memorize lines can act. What major awards has she won? Tony, Emmy, Oscar, Golden Globes? Did she attend Julliard? Why put any weight on what she says about a stupid woman character who’s fashion is more memorable than her acting. Watch the show and move on. She is becoming just like Shonda Rhimes-self absorbed, rude, a legend in her own mind and thinks Shonda is “brilliant”. Every Scandal script is described as “mind blowing” “unbelievable”, “Can’t believe we get to say those lines” “OMG”-Lord Jesus-give me a break.

  14. rose says:

    I will be very disappointed if it is revealed that either Olivia or Fitz is having a dream!

    • Cheyenne says:

      Every time somebody doesn’t want to accept the reality of a situation, they insist on calling it a dream sequence. In this case it’s the Jake fans who wish it was a dream sequence because they can’t accept that Olivia and Jake are finally over and done with. I’m glad Shonda made Jake the one to call it quits.