LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kerry Washington says the upcoming, delayed and abbreviated season of "Scandal" has nothing to do with her pregnancy.
Instead of the usual fall debut for the political-thriller series, "Scandal " fans, known as "gladiators," will have to wait until January. And for their patience, they'll get only 16 instead of the average 21 episodes for the show's sixth season.
But, Washington says, long before series creator Shonda Rhimes even knew a baby was on the way, a less-is-more plan was in place.
Rhimes "knows what the story is. She knows about how many episodes she needs left to get there. And that was her decision," she says, likening the shorter season to how show runners for HBO's "Game of Thrones" approach their seasons.
It was only after Rhimes' announcement about the shortened season that Washington told her boss that she and her husband, former NFL star and current film actor and producer, Nnamdi Asomugha, were expecting again. They have a two-year-old daughter, Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha.
THE MUM MOM
During a recent interview, the 39-year-old actress smiles and jokes about carrying a second child, patting her belly, laughing and saying that she'd merely eaten a bit too much for lunch.
So, how is having a second child different from having the first?
"Every day is different," she says. "And, for me, definitely these two pregnancies have been very different."
She doesn't really elaborate. Washington, one of the most personable people in Hollywood, is also one of its most private.
She's not one to discuss her babies publicly.
THE COLOR PURPLE
For three years, Washington has been an ambassador for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign, which raises money to benefit nearly 200 domestic-violence nonprofits worldwide.
This year she's teamed up with fashion-house heavy hitters Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin and Proenza Schouler to design limited-edition purple purses to be auctioned off. Beginning in late September, select handbags will be sold and given away to contributors to the Purple Purse Challenge.
The 2015 campaign raised more than $3 million, and Allstate says it is hoping to surpass that figure in 2016.
Purple is the color for domestic-violence awareness. The purse represents freedom from financial abuse, a tactic used to lock victims in relationships.
Washington recalls a recent encounter with a domestic-abuse survivor, "A woman came up to me, in a room full of people (and said), 'I just want you to know, that when I left, I wore purple for an entire year,'" Washington says. "And she knew what that meant. And it was the power of this metaphor: That she didn't need to give me details about her black eyes. She didn't have to give me details about her destroyed credit, or her empty bank account, or the mode of transportation that was taken from her. She could just say to me, 'I wore purple.'"
HER 'INNER OLIVIA POPE'
The campaign comes at a busy time for Washington. She's juggling shoots on "Scandal," in which she plays a fictional fixer for Washington's elite, her growing family, and also navigating Emmy season. She has two nominations for the HBO movie "Confirmation ," which centers on the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce) and allegations he sexually harassed one of his employees, Anita Hill (Washington).
Washington is nominated for her performance, as well as for serving as one of its producers.
"I think the thing that most surprised me about producing is that it kind of brings out my own inner Olivia Pope), ironically," Washington says. "I love producing because it allows me to play other characters in other worlds in other situations. But that part of me, that part of Kerry, that likes to be a fixer and a helper and solve problems is really able to play. I'm not exactly wearing a white suit or a white hat or carrying Prada. I usually have on sneakers and jeans and a baseball cap. But I still have a little Olivia Pope with me when I'm producing."