Kerry Washington Redefines the Powerful Woman in ELLE

Kerry Washington has played an array of strong roles in film, but her turn as Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal has no doubt put her among Hollywood’s elite. In ELLE magazine’s latest issue, Kerry is a designer’s dream as the focal point of their “Washington Heights” editorial.

Draped in everything from Louis Vuitton to Prada to Marc Jacobs, the stunning actress dished on Olivia Pope’s fashion sense. “She’s phenomenally successful, able to control her world and makes things happen with clarity and force in her profession. I chose pale pastels and earth tones – no black or navy suits,” she explains. “She spends her days saying things people don’t want to hear. She has to balance that by wearing things that make people safe and comfortable.”

And if you can’t get enough of her on the small screen, you’ll love her in Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated flick Django Unchained. As Broomhilda, slave and wife to Jamie Foxx’s Django, Washington credits her work as Olivia in preparation for an intense role that required “strength (she) knew nothing about.”

Another unique part of playing Broomhilda is the chance to be the damsel in distress as a Black woman. She elaborates on this idea by saying, “I can see how it’s not particularly feminist to play the princess in the tower, waiting to be saved. But as a black woman–we’ve never been afforded that luxury. There was no man coming to save you; it wasn’t part of the story. In some ways, this telling is a statement of empowerment.”

Her work in 2012 is proof that successful and powerful women don’t just come in one box with one look. We can’t wait to see what 2013 brings for this Vixen. Be sure to check out more photos from her editorial spread below.–Nicole Brown