Before she landed the iconic role of Olivia Pope on Scandal, Kerry Washington was told she was not “hood” enough to lead two other television shows that were picked up after she starred in their pilots. Washington shared her experiences with typecasting while talking with Aziz Ansari during a taping of the the PBS/Variety show Actors on Actors.
“Before Scandal, I was actually cast in two other pilots. Both went to series, but I was fired and recast,” Washington said. “For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more ‘girlfriend,’ more like ‘hood,’ more ‘urban.’”
Washington said she had friends who’ve been told to act more effeminate during auditions, which the actress said was known as “gayface,” or the gay version of blackface. Ansari said he’s been invited to auditions merely because of how he looks.
“It’s interesting; like every person that’s not a straight, white guy has their version of this,” Ansari said.
Ansari said he hopes to make better casting choices on his own show, “Master of None,” by allowing actors to keep their own clothing styles and be themselves.
“I feel like a lot of times people don’t do that and then you end up with other people’s perception of what certain people are like,” Ansari said.
Read the full story on Variety.