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Kerry Washington: Motherhood helped by playing Olivia Pope

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Playing Olivia Pope on Scandal didn’t just rocket Kerry Washington to A-list fame, it also helped her become the person she is today.

Speaking to EW editor Henry Goldblatt as part of a Sirius XM Town Hall session on Friday, Washington said being in such close proximity to Washington D.C.’s premier fixer allowed her to embrace motherhood.

“Even though this is a completely different lifestyle choice from one that she has made and maybe ever will make — I don’t know; that’s to ask Shonda Rhimes — but I don’t know if I would be a mom today if it weren’t for her,” Washington said. “She really has taught me to be resilient and to be able to juggle a lot at once. Both the experience of playing her — because she’s somebody who never backs down, and never gives up and knows there’s always a solution — but also the responsibility of playing her as a professional. Being able to juggle those days and juggle those hours and be the No. 1 on the call sheet and all of that — it really opened me up to the possibility of going outside of my comfort zone in terms of what I thought was possible in a lot of ways. She’s taught me to trust in my ability to expand.”

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Washington’s daughter, Isabelle, was born in April of last year. The Scandal star is married to former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha.

Watch Washington discuss Olivia’s impact on her life above; the full interview with Washington can be found at siriusxm.com/ondemand.