Kerry Washington attends the "Face" Premiere at the Palais De Festivals during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2009 in Cannes, France. (Getty Images)
Kerry Washington (Getty Images)
As an actress, Kerry Washington
has taken on a variety of roles calling for distinctive personalities with individual style. Just watch her as Della Bea Robinson in Ray,
Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland,
Nikki Tru in I Think I Love My Wife
and Olivia Pope in the new television series Scandal
for evidence she isn't typecast.
As a public figure, Kerry has developed her own personal flair and knows what works on the red carpet. She consistently looks poised and polished while still willing to take fashion risks. When we spoke with her, she discussed how dressing for an event requires a thoughtful approach and she also graciously shared her practical and informed way of thinking about style and beauty. StyleBistro: What are three things every woman should have in her closet?
Kerry Washington: A good bra, a great pair of jeans—finding a great pair of jeans is like dating—it's totally individual—there's no one brand for everybody. And everybody needs a great cashmere sweater. I really love Calvin Klein jeans and for cashmere, Vince.SB: How would you describe your personal style?
Kerry: In my own everyday life I'm a real jeans and flip-flops girl. I love James Perse T-shirts and I love Theodora and Callum scarves. I'm really all about being comfortable and layering. And then in terms of events, for me, I think one of the most important things is to be event appropriate. It's really import to me to know the difference between when I'm dressing for the Grammy's and when I'm dressing for the White House. That really informs my style. I think I do have my own individual aesthetic but I try to have fun with it within the context of where I'm going and what I'm doing. SB: What's been your favorite red carpet outfit?
Kerry: It's really hard to choose. I have a handful of favorites but I don't know if I could say one, hands-down. SB: We really loved the yellow Marchesa dress you wore to the Glamour 2011 Women of the Year Awards.
Kerry: The yellow was so beautiful because it somehow managed to be so rich and bright and at the same time so soft.SB: If you could trade closets with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
Kerry: I guess if I could trade closets with anybody it would probably be Tracee Ellis Ross
, but she'd have to come with it because she has such amazing fashion wisdom and know-how and I feel I'd need a consultation with her—I wouldn't want her closet without some guidance.SB: What's the best piece of beauty advice you've ever recieved?
Kerry: I think in terms of beauty advice—I have a nutritionist that I work with. Her name is Sally Kravich and she's fantastic. She works in New York and LA and working with her has really helped me to understand the link between what I put into my body and what I get out of it. So even in terms of the health of my nails and hair, what I eat, making sure I get enough calcium and that kind of stuff really made a huge difference for me in terms of beauty. I really do feel like if you're healthy and feeling good those things translate. Even in terms of the way your skin looks, the way your eyes look, the way your hair looks, the way your nails look—so much of that can be dealt with through nutrition and nutritional supplements. So I think having an ongoing, sort of healthy look at what I'm eating and how that's impacting my physical health has had a huge impact on beauty. SB: One last question: What is on your iPod/who have you been listening to lately?
Kerry: I have a really eclectic iPod so everything from gospel to pop to hip hop to show tunes. Really random, so I do listen to a big range of stuff. But I do love a good countdown. I'm a big pop music junkie. I love pop music. For sure. I mean, who doesn't love Adele? Who else am I really feeling theses days? I have been listening to a lot of Whitney Houston since she passed. I love all the divas, Celine Dion, Beyonce, Rihanna—good girl music.