Belfast Telegraph

Kerry Washington refused to change her looks for Hollywood

The actress would not take the advice of people who told her to alter her image.

Kerry Washington felt no pressure to bow to Hollywood's standards and change her looks when she first started acting.

The Scandal star fears her career stalled in the beginning, because she refused to give in to requests to make changes to her appearance. She knew it was important to stay true to herself and eventually her hard work and talent would pay off.

"In the beginning of my career I was often told to fix things like, 'Fix your teeth, wear your hair differently, or dress differently', or I was 'too ethnic' or I didn't speak black enough..." she told Oprah Winfrey during her Super Soul Sessions. "Whatever it was, these were the reasons why I wasn't making it in the beginning of my career."

"Before I did Scandal I did two other pilots for TV shows," she continued. "Both of them got picked up, but I was fired - 'We love the show but she's gotta go'. I think because I've always been me. I didn't really conform. I didn't really change those things that people told me I had to change."

Kerry knew she had struck TV gold when she was cast as Olivia Pope in Scandal and she was happy she won the role without caving to outside influences.

"When my career has been angled to unfold I felt like it was because I was being myself," she said. "So I don't think I was gonna be awarded for being someone else because I never have been and also I just don't have the energy."

And although Kerry is confident about her looks and the choices she's made, she still struggles with controversies surrounding her image. Last week (ends08Apr16), the 39-year-old spoke out about about her digitally-altered AdWeek cover shoot because she knew fans would be shocked by the edited image. The actress explains she has no issue with Photoshop being used on her pictures, but she was taken aback by how much her cover photo was altered.

"I want to be really honest," she said. "Airbrushing is not the devil. It's not all horrible. I've had days where I've shown up to (shoot) the cover of (a) magazine on a more hormonal day of the month and have a big red dot (on my forehead). They say we'll take care of it in (post-production) and I've never complained about that. Maybe that is wrong. I mean, I need something, sometimes! You know, a wrinkle in a dress, you want to smooth that out in post, that's great."

"(However), I was very taken aback and very uncomfortable about looking at an image that I did not recognise as myself. I felt like, in a way, that is not OK with me because that echoes that little girl that thought I wasn't enough. And I know that I am enough, so don't make me feel like I'm not enough by changing me to fit some idea of what you think I'm supposed to look like."

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