Woman Crush Wednesday: Kerry Washington

Let’s be honest. Do I really need to explain why Kerry Washington is our Woman Crush on this Wednesday (and everyday, TBH)? Since Scandal has left us hanging by the thread of Olivia’s white coat after last week’s finale, I figured us Gladiators can get our mini-Kerry fix this week with a love letter to the woman in the white hat herself.

From her early beginnings as the annoying sister (who has a soft spot for true love) in Save the Last Dance, to a D.C. fixer who has a penchant for red wine and jam (not necessarily together) on #Scandal, Kerry has captured our hearts with her superior acting, but moreover with her beauty and grace. Here are just a few more reasons why we think this momma-to-be is the bee’s knees.

She’s No Dummy

I feel like there are two types of actors. The kind that dropped out of school to chase after their dream of making it big, and the ones that were always at or near the top of their class, most likely a graduate of some kind of drama school like Yale/NYU/Julliard etc. Kerry falls into the latter group. After attending one of the best prep schools in America, she went to George Washington University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in anthropology and sociology. I mean, whoa. I can barely even tell you what anthropology is besides the incorrect spelling of an overpriced clothing store I KID, I KID. Needless to say, she’s got brains to back her beauty. What do you expect when your mother is a professor and educational consultant?

Her intelligence is apparent in her various philanthropic and political extracurriculars, such as serving as a board member for The Creative Coalition and a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Kerry is also on the board for the organization V-Day, which is dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. And since Barry O selected her to the Arts committee, it’s no wonder she’s supported him all through his term, even speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She may be an actress, but you can tell she’s not just there for the publicity – you can feel her passion for the cause.

She’s Inspirational

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relatedly, Kerry doesn’t seem like one to ever phone it in. Everything she says, she says it with purpose, with thought behind it. If she has an opinion, she means it. If gives praises to a co-star, she’s not saying it to be in their good graces, it’s because she actually likes being around that person. When she talks about an issue that’s close to her heart or a message she wants to get across, it’s because she truly believes in it. Kerry has a certain confidence and grace that all women should aspire to have. But let’s be clear, I’m not saying we should be more like Kerry. I’m saying be inspired by Kerry and be the best you you can be. Carry yourself with your own grace and confidence and maybe you might just be able to inspire others too.

She’s a Fashion Darling

Believe it or not, Kerry wasn’t always the red carpet stunner that we know and love today. Exhibit A: She legit wore an “I ❤ NY” tee to an event. Bless. In her defense, it was 2001. But over the years, she’s come to embrace and love fashion. Being the life-long student that she is, Kerry admitted that she took it upon herself to earn a degree in ‘red carpet style’, and studied it like it was her job. Literally.

“OK, I’m going to admit this: There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand career-wise — because they knew how to work that red carpet. I was like, ‘I’m missing a really important tool. If I am the CEO of the Kerry Washington Corporation, my marketing department is really lax.’ So I sort of developed a new character: Red-Carpet Kerry. And I researched her like any other character. I actually called Tracee Ellis Ross, who’s a good friend, and literally asked, ‘How do you pronounce Hermès?’ Red-Carpet Kerry needed to know.” {x}

See – girl is no dummy. To prove her faux degree paid off, here are just some of my favorite looks from KW over the years.

Stella McCartney – 2013 Project Runway finale @ New York Fashion week

Marc by Marc Jacobs – 2013 ABC Upfronts (and WERKing it)

Michael Kors – 2013 MTV Movie Awards (To this day, probably my favorite look of hers ever. I dream in color block)

Giambattista Valli – 2013 TCA Summer Press Tour (seriously, how are you so beautiful)

Oscar de la Renta – 2013 NAACP Image Awards (yet another one of my faves)

Louis Vuitton – 2013 Django Unchained Photocall in Berlin. (I’m in a super violent Tarantino film, but look how adorbs and mod I am! LOOK AT MY BOW HEADBAND!!!!!)

Miu Miu – 2013 Golden Globes (Remember when Kerry first got these bangs and she looks wicked fierce? Yeah.)

Giles – 2013 Django Unchained Premiere in London (Move over bitches, there’s a new A-lister in town and her name rhymes with Shmerry)

Miu Miu – 2013 Oscars

Vince Camuto – 2013 Variety’s 5th Annual Power of Women Luncheon

Prada – 2014 SAG Awards (Sometimes when I feel like shit in an outfit, I remember that KW wore a crop top to one of the most important industry awards shows WHILST PREGGO and I feel better about my life choices)

She’s FUNNY, Y’all!

So we know she can handle dramas, but we’ve never really seen her do comedy. However the moment she was announced as a host for Saturday Night Live last year, I knew she was going to kill it. And she did not disappoint. Sometimes it’s really frustrating as a fan of both the host and SNL to see good talent go to waste on bad sketches – but this was NOT the case with Kerry’s episode. Every single sketch was hilarious, so much so that I still have it on my DVR. If you can’t find it online, you’re welcome to come to my place and we can fangirl over Kerry together.

She’s loved by everyone she works with

Like we’ve done with Amy Poehler and Tatiana Maslany previously, a good indication of a person’s character is judged by what their friends and peers say about them.

“I root for Kerry. She’s got a fantastic show, Scandal. What’s amazing about her – the evolution of Kerry Washington to play the woman she plays in Django and then to see her play this beautiful woman taking care of business on Scandal, it’s amazing.” Jamie Foxx {x}

“On a personal level there’s never been a better friend. But on the, like, at work, because Number One sets the tone of everything. I don’t even know how to quantify to you how thoughtful Kerry Washington is. I mean she will call you, text you from Italy on a press tour, to make sure you have shoes to wear to a luncheon. Or, you know, cause these moments are so new to most of us in the cast and it’s great we get to meet them together as a family. But Kerry’s always there to make sure that we’re okay. She always checks in, before you even know that you need to be checked in on, you know, she’s like “so how are you with…?” She’s got the biggest heart. There’s no one, possibly ever, as committed as she is. I mean she is your tireless cheerleader. She works from 3 in the morning ’til 11 o’clock at night. She’s happy and she’s there for you and she cheerleads like you- You can hear her screaming “I LOVE MY JOB!” down the hall. Tiny little person, very loud. But yeah, we’re all lucky that we get to do this job at all. My family of people is lucky because the project is so amazing and because we’re all grateful people. But to have her be the jewel in this crown is the biggest blessing of all.” Bellamy Young {x}

“Three words to describe Kerry Washington: Grace, Beauty, Brilliance… Times a million!” Katie Lowes {x}

“Kerry is an incredibly intelligent, politically minded, hilariously funny, warm person. I’m one of her biggest fans. As a human being and as an actress.” Dan Bucatinsky {x}

“So graceful, really really lovely, terrific human being. And she manages to look amazing on every red carpet she steps on to.” (Scandal Executive Producer) Betsy Beers {x}

“We’re proud of her talent and enjoy getting to work with her and have a wonderful collaboration and she’s an amazing person.” Shonda Rhimes {x}

“I had really been dying to work with Kerry Washington. We knew each other a bit, I really loved her as a person, and I was such a huge admirer of her work. When I heard the combination of Shonda and Kerry, I thought, OK, this is going to be interesting…  Kerry and I just have this subliminal connection as people and as actors, which contributes to our physical chemistry on-screen together. She is – in addition to being one of the best actresses in America- an extraordinary team leader on our show. She approaches her work with this ferocious enthusiasm and work ethic that’s not at all self-serious. She sets an example for all of us of how to be fun and work hard. So working with her is just—you’re always challenged by her and inspired. With some actors, you end up talking about the scenes, figuring it out. Kerry and I never have to talk about anything. We always seem to be coming from the same place, and both of us are actors who tend to throw ourselves into whatever we’re doing. We just really trust each other, and it’s always thrilling, I think.” Tony Goldwyn {x}

“I #CelebrateKerry because her assistant called my agent and told me to do so.” Josh Malina, all around jokester {x}

Woman Crush Wednesday: Lupita Nyong’o

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means –  no, not ‘Hump Day’ – it’s everyone’s favorite themed day of the week, Woman Crush Wednesday!

Today we’re crushin’ on a lady who has been a favorite of ours for a few months now, but in light of recent events, I think it’s time to share our adoration for her to the world on this #WCW.

Lupita Nyong’o is someone we never saw coming, never could have dreamed of being a real person, and turned out to be everything we ever wanted to be in life. If it seems like she came out of nowhere, well, it’s because she pretty much did.

Her story in a nutshell: Her Kenyan parents were living in Mexico when she was born, because her dad was a politician/college professor teaching in Mexico. It’s Kenyan tradition to name your child after the events of the day, hence, en espanol, ‘Lupita’. They eventually moved back to Nairobi, but when she was 16, her parents sent her and her sister back to Mexico to learn Spanish (yes, she’s fluent, obvs). She went on to graduate with a BA in Film and Theatre Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, then got her BFA at the Yale School of Drama. While a Senior at Yale, she auditioned for 12 Years a Slave and booked her famous role as Patsey BEFORE she even graduated. Yeah, 12 Years a Slave was her very first film role ever. You know the rest.

Now that you know her story, here are just a few reasons why WE love Queen Lupita. And to be honest, if we could, we would dedicate every #WCW to our wannabe best friend, but since we don’t want to look too desperate (or crazy), we’ll just do it this one time, but just know she’s in our hearts this Wednesday and all the Wednesdays for the rest of our lives.

She Is A Fashion Icon

Besides her excellent work as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, I think it’s safe to say that Queen Lupita (QL) really got everyone’s attention with her on point style. Namely, that little Ralph Lauren cape number she wore to the Golden Globes. She had kind of been flying under the radar before that moment, one of those newcomers you knew about and were interested in, but didn’t get too much publicity in the media. Until that night at the Golden Globes. Homegirl came on that red carpet like, ‘I am here to stay!’

Since then, style pros and amateur fashionistas alike were (impatiently) waiting what QL would wear on all the red carpets moving forward. And she did not disappoint. I could easily post all her perfect gowns here, but using the handy photo above, it’s worth noting the green Dior (BAFTAs), Turquoise/teal Gucci (SAG), obvi the dreamy blue Prada (Oscars) and the white cutout Fifth Element type dress by Calvin Klein (Critics’ Choice).

It’s important to note that although this style seems all by QL, celebs get help from stylists to find the perfect dress, and my other new girl crush is on Lupita’s stylist, Micaela Erlanger.

Micaela is a Parsons The New School of Design grad, and also styles the likes of Lady Mary aka Michelle Dockery and Winona Ryder. She ranked number 3 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Power Stylists, and  no doubt does she deserve that position. I’d say bump her up to number one next year.

She Could Be a Model

I’m gonna let these pictures speak for themselves.

Lupita Nyong’o by David Slijper For Glamour March 2014

Oh, JK , turns out she is a model – for Miu Miu’s Spring 2014 campaign, at least.

Photo Mar 21, 7 28 49 PM

The time I tried to be a model like Lupita… Basically the fact that I sat exactly where she took this pic is reason enough for me to believe we’re soulmates

She Has A Way With Words

When Lupita talks, it’s like we’re floating on a cloud on a warm spring day. Captivated by every word, I could listen to her speak for hours. You know how people say if you’re a good singer, you can sing the entire phone book? Well I could listen to Queen Lupita say the entire phonebook AND I would somehow be compelled to call every single person in said phone book and tell them about how great she is.

Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact.

And of course, her Oscars speech…

And like her Essence & Oscars speech, she is well aware of the fact she is now a role model to thousands of young girls and women…

I feel very fortunate to be in this position, and I know that it means more to people because I am an African and I am dark-skinned. In many ways, me being on the scene is doing for little girls everywhere what Oprah Winfrey and Whoopu Goldberg did for me. My world exploded by them being on screen. Hopefully I will inspire and be meaningful to other people. But I can’t take on other people’s dreams for me. I can only dream for myself. {Entertainment Weekly)

She’s a #Gladiator

ANYONE WHO WATCHES SCANDAL IS OKAY IN MY BOOK (but really, can we talk about this show tho, Lupita??)

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She’s a Fangirl Like Us

As you can see, QL is a fangirl for Scandal, but also of a lot of other people in the biz. She mentioned that during Awards season, especially at the Golden Globes, she made a checklist of all the celebs she wanted to meet at the event. So she proceeded to do so and take pix with them and she’s basically living out our dreams.

View this post on Instagram

#GoldenGlobes checklist: hug @lenadunham - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes checklist: hug @lenadunham – CHECK!”

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say hello to #JessicaChastain – CHECK!”

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say what’s up to#OscarIsaac – CHECK!”

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: introduce best friend to#MerylStreep and #JuliaRoberts – CHECK!”

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet #LeonardoDiCaprio and tell him how much I have loved his work since I was 14 – CHECK!”

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet my acting heroine #CateBlanchett – DOUBLE TRIPLE CHECK! #GameOver”

“AND THEN I met Sidney Poitier!!!!!!!! My Inspiration My Example My Hope My Gold Standard Words cannot express my joy and amazement in having this dream encounter come true. #Blessed! #Oscars”

“Geeking out over meeting the BADDEST#BryanCranston at the #AFIAwards2013.#BreakingBad #KillingMeSoftly”

She Loves Oprah (And Oprah Loves Her)

While the list of people who don’t love Oprah is very short, Lupita’s love for Oprah is of note because she was inspired by the ultimate Queen and it’s like her life has led her up to this – to becoming BFFs with O.

When Lupita first met Oprah last year, it was at a roundtable talk for The Hollywood Reporter (watch this adorbs vid of Lupita talking about the moment she met O). This interview is where a bunch of frontrunners for the Oscars get together and talk about life and their craft. While a lot of actors can make this look pretentious, Lupita makes it endearing and intriguing and even brought tears to my eyes.

{Watch the whole interview here}

Since then, they have clearly become friendly, as Oprah even invited Lupita’s mom and brother to her house for lunch – WITHOUT Lupita there!!! Needless to say, I am jealous of each of them.

She’s a fan of 90s TV Shows

Listen, if you’ve been following us for a while, you know we love ourselves some 90s/00s nostalgia. In this interview with Jimmy Kimmel, QL talks about the shows she watched as a kid that introduced her to the American culture – and what she did when she rode her first rollercoaster (Step by Step inspiration included)

So now that we’ve shared our love for her, feel free to share your love for her too! And Lupita, if you’re listening, we’re available to watch Full House with you too.

Happy (Fictional) Presidents’ Day!*

*Today is not Presidents’ Day. Monday is Presidents’ Day. Today is Lincoln’s Birthday. But we all know all these holidays blend together because we really never know which day is which, we just used to get them off when we were still in school.

But in honor of ALL the presidents of these United States of America, I think it’s also appropriate to celebrate the fictional presidents who have also put in hard work to pretend to be the leader of the free world. I’m sure I’ve missed some on my list, so chime in with some of your favorites!

And Happy Presidents’/Lincoln/Washington’s Birthday Day!

President Thomas J. Whitmore {Bill Pullman}

Independence Day

Independence Day is so American that I bet anyone who’s not American will feel American while they watch this movie. Especially during this epic speech. While it’s unlikely we’ll need a President to get us through an unexpected alien attack in the near future, I want Bill Pullman in charge of an air strike if that day does come. Or he can just give motivational speeches to me every morning instead. That works too. “We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our MONDAY!!”

President Andrew Shepard {Michael Douglas}

The American President

For some reason, The American President was one of the first movies I remember being my favorite ‘grown up’ movie. I was nine when this film came out. Maybe it was the allure of Michael Douglas. Maybe it was the romance between him and Annette Benning. Maybe TBS just kept playing it over and over again and I had no chance but to like it. Either way, Michael Douglas is one of the few actors who is actually really believable as the president, and if he’s romancing a woman while in office, count me in.

President James Marshall {Harrison Ford}

Air Force One

Presidential Badassery at its finest.

The President {Billy Bob Thornton}

Love Actually

Okay, maybe he wasn’t a good guy, but Billy Bob played a smarmy, womanizing, douchey prez and I can’t help but think a lot of our former leaders had a little bit of this guy in them.

President George Richmond {Dabney Coleman}

My Date with the President’s Daughter

Basically this movie is a classic DCom and I unapologetically love it. I mean, Eric Matthews! (sidenote: if anyone is interested in watching other DComs like Model Behavior & Life Size it’s all on YouTube, per my research for this clip. I know what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day)

President Fitzgerald Grant {Tony Goldwyn}

Scandal

It’s no secret we’re #Gladiators here. So what’s a list of faux presidents without our favorite adulterous Commander-in-Chief? He may have a lot of faults, and may not be the best pres the U.S. has seen, but Shonda Rhimes & co. are brilliant and make you root for a man who’s not only married and having an affair, but his wife knows about it and he STILL pretty much ignores her and their kids. And lest us forget he has also **SPOILER** killed a Supreme Court Justice, who was already on her death bed dying of cancer. But ugh, crisis, because Olitz scenes are 2 hot 4 TV.

Yet the scene above doesn’t involve any handsy moves by the pres. It’s a flashback scene which reminds us why these two fell in love in the first place. They’re no dumb dumbs. They’re independently smart and bring out the best in each other. Without Olivia’s faith in Fitz – the faith he never had in himself – he would have never won the presidency (election rigging aside). And without the dedication and devotion he constantly gives to her, she would have never been able to open up and love a man like Fitz (thanks to her Daddy Pope problems). So I guess all cheating aside, this apparent ‘love’ is what makes us (sometimes begrudgingly) root for them after all.

President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet {Martin Sheen}

The West Wing

You didn’t think I’d make a list without the best TV president, did you? He had too many great moments on the show, from the Butterball hotline to the time he *another spoiler alert* got shot to the time he was high on drugs to the time he walked to the Hill, to the entire Two Cathedrals episode etc. etc. But this particular clip is from an episode called The Midterms which originally aired in 2000. He basically tells off this conservative radio talk show host in a tactful, humorous, ‘don’t disrespect me bc i’m the GD president’ way and it’s this attitude that won him two terms in fake office.