Perhaps you’ve seen her grace the pages of InStyle and Essence magazine. You may have noticed her in a few L’Oreal campaigns or maybe took note of her performance in one of her films. By and large, Kerry Washington has been Hollywood’s best kept secret for quite some time. But with the release of her new film, Life is Hot in Cracktown, she’s sure to be a secret no more.
A native New Yorker (the Bronx to be exact), Kerry Washington is the daughter of a real estate broker father and a professor/educational consultant mother who clearly supported the artistic aspirations of their only child. Having dabbled in ballet, gymnastics and piano, it was the children’s theater company that truly provided Kerry with the opportunity to indulge her need for artistic diversity. After attending high school at the prestigious Spence School for Girls in Manhattan, Kerry turned down her acceptances to Yale University, Dartmouth and several renowned theater conservatories (e.g. Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama) in order to further hone her acting craft as a presidential performing arts scholar at George Washington University. As a student she created her own major, Performance Studies, wherein she focused on the role performing arts played in the community. Kerry worked closely with the local theater company to create a support system for people of color in the arts called Shades of the Fine Arts. She used her time at G.W. to not only take acting classes but to study the social sciences such that her ability to perform would be influenced by her ability to understand and analyze people and communities.
Kerry is best known for her roles in such films as Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Fantastic Four and the teen hit, Save the Last Dance. Currently she is starring as a transgender woman in Life is Hot in Cracktown. Her discipline for researching her characters and fully investing herself in her roles has won her critical acclaim and nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards. But what you may not know about her is that as passionate as she is about her craft she is equally passionate about supporting charitable causes, giving back to her community and going green. She is on the board of The Creative Coalition, a social and political advocacy organization of the entertainment industry and has often supported causes related to abuse, at-risk/disadvantaged youth, women and cancer. During the writers strike last year, Kerry took the time to indulge her political savvy by stumping for President Barack Obama in Georgia and Kansas. Likewise, she held her own against political heavy weights on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. And as for going green, check out the pictures of the green makeover she had done to her apartment in last month’s O magazine.
Kerry Washington’s education, filmography and the fact that she speaks seven languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, Esperanto and Russian) are all amazingly impressive. But what’s most impressive about Kerrry is that she seems to be an endless reservoir of natural talent and authentic concern for the human condition. She is absolutely Hollywood’s best kept secret but we at The Vyne are happy to let the cat out the bag and look forward to more from this fabulous young woman.