Kerry Washington covers the latest issue of Porter to promote her Hulu limited series, Little Fires Everywhere (out March 18). I like and admire Kerry, but I usually find her to be a kind of boring interview? She’s just too “together” and she can clearly delineate between her professional life and personal life, which means that she’s not a mess and she doesn’t have to spend entire interviews trying to apologize for some sh-t or explain her way out of anything. That being said, she does say that she’s the mother of THREE, which she’s said before, and I don’t think anyone knows what she’s talking about. She’s given birth to two children, and I guess she and her husband adopted a third? But all she’ll say is that she has three kids. Anyway, you can read the full interview here. Some highlights:
Attending Spence Academy after growing up in the Bronx: “I remember distinctly being 12 or 13 and going from my neighborhood in the Bronx to a very posh, elite school. Seeing other people’s homes, I remember understanding that there was ‘another world’ and feeling overwhelmed, angry, inspired, delighted and betrayed at the same time. Thinking, ‘Why does nobody I know live like this?’ Or, more so, ‘Why does nobody who looks like me live like this?’ So a lot of our mandate at [my production company] Simpson Street is centering otherness and really reminding ourselves, and each other, that protagonists look like all of us – that anyone can be the hero of their own story and their own life.”
On Reese Witherspoon: “She’s just amazing, and a great friend. The sort of girlfriend who, when she asks you how you are, you can tell really cares about the response. I have such great respect for her, not only as a friend but as someone who has her own production company. She was so willing to share her mistakes and what she had learned.”
Working on Time’s Up: “One thing a lot of us have talked about is this idea that, because of the imbalance of power and the delineation of who gets to be the protagonist, so often in our careers, there was one woman on a set. We were siloed. And so we were told about each other. And the story was often, ‘She’s difficult. She’s needy. She’s crazy. She’s unpredictable. She’s a diva.’ Now we talk to each other, we work together and we know that not to be true. Even with Little Fires Everywhere, it deals with the nuances of womanhood and motherhood, regardless of outward identity.”
A mother of three: Washington is a mother of three, with husband Nnamdi Asomugha, though she keeps her relationship and her children under wraps. “As I’ve grown older and more well-known I’ve lost some of my anonymity, so I’ve become more boundaried in my relationships with people. I have the pull of an artist, where you love your private life and you love the people you love, you love your children, and you also love your art.”
Whether she wants to do a “lighter” role: “Even to do a Nora Ephron comedy, because I’m black, it is political and it means something. Which is OK with me because I’m happy to be doing that work. I think the interesting thing is that, as a black woman, any time I put myself at the center of the story, it’s a political act – whether I want it to be or not.”
She also said that it was important to her to find writers of different races and backgrounds for the adaptation of Little Fires, but they all had to “love the ‘90s as much as we did!” Which is funny to me – the series takes place in the ‘90s and I full expect to have some ‘90s nostalgia while watching it. I find the “siloed” conversation to be the most interesting part of this piece, and it’s 100% true, especially in Hollywood but in other industries too. Time’s Up was supposed to change the way women were treated in Hollywood, but it ended up starting such huge conversations within the women in Hollywood as a whole. Also: I feel like Reese and Kerry probably had some uncomfortable conversations about privilege, don’t you? And I feel like that’s what Kerry was saying – give Reese credit for being open to those conversations and trying to be better.
Cover courtesy of Porter, additional photos courtesy of WENN.