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After her graduation, she attended George Washington University with a double major in Anthropology and Sociology. But she always took part in school plays and local productions.
Kerry Washington's debut was in the ABC telefilm "Magical Make-Over." Other roles followed, including parts in "Save the Last Dance" (for which she won the Choice Breakout Performance at the Teen Choice Awards), "The Human Stain," "She Hate Me," "Ray," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Little Man," "The Last King of Scotland," as well as "Fantastic Four," and "Rise of the Silver Surfer."
In television, she appeared in "Law & Order," "NYPD Blue," "Boston Legal," "100 Centre Street" and ABC's "Scandal." Kerry Washington has said that she loves that there's not much uproar that her black female character is involved in a romance with a white male character. "I think the big deal is that it's not a big deal, and I think that's cool" (cnn.com).
She made her Broadway debut in David Mamet's "Race."
Kerry Washington usually tries to keep something from every character that she plays, such as an item or wardrobe or piece of furniture from the house the character lived in.
Kerry Washington is an activist for Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. She spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She said, "As a kid, there would be dinners where her [mother's] colleagues would be talking about a woman's right to choose, affirmative action and redistricting. I grew up talking about these issues and knowing that politics were not separate from us as people."
Kerry added in regards to her career, "It's exciting to not just be defined by one section as to who we are as women and people of color." In a later interview, she said, "I don't think I'm even close to fulfilling my potential. And I think also that, unlike a pianist or a flutist, an actor has an instrument that is constantly changing."
When asked how her first heartbreak impacted who she was as a person, Kerry Washington said, "[It] made me feel more for others when there are in moments of pain" (eurweb.com). She is motivated to "be of service. Not wanting to waste this life that I've been blessed to have."
Kerry Washington also tries to live green. "I try to buy organic and local, support local farmers. I drive a Prius, and I turn off the lights when I leave my house" (mnn.com).
Kerry Washington has also volunteered through the Adopt-a-Classroom program in New York.
She lives in Los Angeles, California.