“In the beginning of my career I was often told to fix things like fix your teeth, wear your hair differently or dress differently or I was too ethnic or I didn’t speak black enough…Whatever it was,” she said during Winfrey’s SuperSoul Session on Sunday. “These were the reasons why I wasn’t making it in the beginning of my career.”
Washington, 39, says her refusal to obey Hollywood standards is what lead to her getting fired (or not hired in the first place).
“Before I did Scandal I did two other pilots for TV shows,” she says. “Both of them got picked up, but I was fired, ‘We love the show but she’s gotta go.'”
“I think because I’ve always been me. I didn’t really conform. I didn’t really change those things that people told me I had to change.”
So of course when Washington was cast as the lead on Scandal, she was thrilled that she did it while being herself.
“When my career has been angled to unfold I felt like it was because I was being myself,” she said. “Honestly, I’ve never had this thought before sitting here with you – but I think I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to be somebody else so I just don’t have the energy at this point.”
We love that Washington is opening up about her struggles, but she isn’t the only entertainer who refused to conform to Hollywood’s demands.