The Kerry On Top
Fairlady|March 2017

Actress Kerry Washington is intelligent, straight-talking, compelling enough to keep us glued to our screens and intriguingly private. So who is she?

Sandra Parmee

Kerry Washington may be one of the most secretive celebrities ever. She doesn’t share photos of her husband or children and never divulges information about her home life. She’s made a huge success of her career and, with the recent birth of her second child, she’s clearly got it all together at home as well. But what’s really impressive about this New York-born star is her refusal to stay silent on the things that matter. She has power, and she wields it in the best way possible.

Kerry has always been interested in the big issues. Raised in a socially conscious household, she was 13 when she was taken to hear the newly free Nelson Mandela speak. And turning 18 wasn’t just about new-found freedom and getting a driving license for her: ‘My becoming a voting citizen was celebrated the way other people would celebrate a Sweet 16. My parents took me out to dinner and we talked about who I was going to vote for,’ she says. 

As a teenager Kerry became a safe-sex advocate; she joined an educational group that performed their own sex-education skits in schools and community centres. ‘It was some of the best actor training I’ve ever had,’ she says. ‘We would stay in character after the show and the audience would interact with us. It taught me the importance of really understanding everything about who you’re playing, because you never knew what question was going to come.’

Kerry toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher or psychologist, but she continued to act at university. Afterwards, she dabbled in this and that: she did community and grassroots theatre training, travelled to India and worked as a yoga instructor. But her interest in acting never waned – at the same time she acted in plays and small films, eventually appearing in 2001 as a street-smart mom in Save the Last Dance (with Julia Stiles), which proved to be her breakthrough role. Her star status was elevated to greater heights when she performed opposite Jamie Foxx in the 2004 film Ray. Since then, alongside her huge TV presence, Kerry has been in notable films such as The Last King of Scotland (2006) and the Quentin Tarantino western, Django Unchained (2012). Last year she gave producing a go: she was the executive producer and star of the HBO film Confirmation. She enjoyed it so much that she is now set to produce the drama series Patrol under her new production company, Simpson Street.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FAIRLADYView All

How to Survive the Feast-Or Famine Cycle

It’s empowering to have more than one income stream, but there is a downside: it’s easy to splurge when money is plentiful, but what about the lean months? Three self-starters share their tips for keeping an even keel through good and bad.

6 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Kaley's Comet

Kaley Cuoco was so beguiling as Penny on The Big Bang Theory that she soon became one of the highest paid actors in television. With HBO’s comedic thriller series The Flight Attendant, she entered exciting, slightly sinister new territory – but it proved her range as an actress and cemented her broad-based appeal.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Let the Music Play

My dad died days before the global lockdown. While I was trapped within four walls, music and dancing gave me reason to smile again.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

How to Make Your Own Luck

Luck isn’t easy to measure or study, but those who have managed to do it discovered it’s not the work of fate – it’s a skill you can cultivate and improve. So, how do you go about it?

8 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Local Flavour

Stocking up your pantry? These artisanal foods are guaranteed to ignite the senses of home chefs everywhere. Meet the foodies behind two of South Africa’s tastiest brands.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

The Comfort of Ritual

Rituals imbue our lives with depth and meaning. And in times of uncertainty, they are even more important because they create a sense of grounding.

8 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Get Your Shine Back!

When the last of the summer heat is over, it’s important to take time to reverse any hair damage caused by sun and sea water.

5 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

The Rise of the Personal Shopper

It’s not a new concept, but the number of people who make a living from sourcing goods on behalf of clients is on the rise. We talked to three personal shoppers to find out what it takes.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Back to the Wild

Imagine camping in the Little Karoo… a billion stars above you, the ancient desert beneath, the insistent flapping of your canvas tent in the cold night air. Then banish all the rustic images this conjures up – because Dwyka Tented Lodge will confound all your expectations.

6 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

A Good (Mo) Hair Day

"Beauty Mokgwamme had other dreams, but circumstances took her exactly where she was meant to be."

3 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022
RELATED STORIES

MUSK WARS WITH TWITTER OVER HIS BUYOUT DEAL - ON TWITTER

Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that taking over Twitter would enable him to rid the social media platform of its annoying “spam bots.” Now he’s arguing — without presenting any evidence — that there might be just too many of those automated accounts for the $44 billion deal to move ahead.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

MCDONALD'S ERA IN RUSSIA COMING TO A CLOSE, RESTAURANTS SOLD

McDonald’s is selling all of its restaurants in Russia 30 years after the burger chain became a powerful symbol of easing Cold War tensions between the United States and Soviet Union.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUSPENDS PRODUCTION FOR 2 WEEKS, SHARES FALL

Harley-Davidson announced a two-week suspension of vehicle assembly and most shipments, citing a regulatory compliance issue with one of its suppliers.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

CONSUMERS SHIFT AGAIN, FLUMMOXING BIG RETAILERS LIKE TARGET

The pandemic vastly changed the way Americans spend money and now as they return to pre-pandemic behavior, they’re tripping up retailers again.

3 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

CONGRESS DIVES INTO UFOS, BUT NO SIGNS OF EXTRATERRESTRIALS

Congress held its first hearing in half a century on unidentified flying objects. And no, there is still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

NY AGENCY FILES DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST AMAZON

A state agency in New York has filed an administrative complaint against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant discriminated against pregnant and disabled workers by denying them “reasonable accommodations” and forcing them to take unpaid leave, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

GOOGLE'S RUSSIAN BUSINESS PLANS TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY

Google says its Russian subsidiary is planning to file for bankruptcy because it can’t pay staff and suppliers.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

DUSTY DEMISE FOR NASA MARS LANDER IN JULY; POWER DWINDLING

A NASA spacecraft on Mars is headed for a dusty demise.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

‘TWITTER PHILANTHROPY' REVEALS CHASMS IN SOCIAL SAFETY NET

Single father Billy Price was already struggling to make ends meet before someone broke into his Michigan storage unit, stole his identity and ruined his credit.

6 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

ARGO TOUTS DRIVERLESS OPERATIONS IN MIAMI AND AUSTIN, TEXAS

An autonomous vehicle technology company that partners with Ford and Volkswagen says it has started driverless operations in two of eight cities where it is developing its technology.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022