Kerry Washington Talks ‘Social Stardom’ at SXSW
Heather Kennedy/Getty Images for SXSW

Social media has changed the game for several industries by forming online communities—shout out to Black Twitter! We now use these communities to talk about the latest in pop culture and harp on, clap-back or praise those that are most deserving. At the very least, you can watch Thursday night’s Scandal with the show’s lead actress, Kerry Washington.

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Washington joined Austin’s SXSW festival Sunday for a one-on-one discussion on the “New Rules of Social Stardom.” In chatting with InStyle’s Editorial Director, Ariel Foxman, she describes how she harnessed the power of social media to promote her career, Scandal and social good.

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“My entry to social media was a lot like my entry to fashion. I didn’t grow up loving fashion, but there came a point where I started noticing certain actresses being considered for roles because of their presence on the red carpet,” says Washington. “In the same way that I realized I’d better start learning about fashion, I thought I’d better get started on social media.”

It was Washington who rallied the entire cast of Scandal—by way of “social media she-ro” Shonda Rhimes—to get on Twitter.

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“While we were filming the first season, I emailed Shonda and said ‘You’re the boss, could you ask the whole cast to live tweet it so that they all join in because they’ll feel like they have to?’ I truly believe that we wouldn’t have had a second season if it wasn’t for that engagement,” she admits.

As active as Washington is on social media, there are aspects of her life that are just off-limits, and her daughter is one of them.

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“I want her to be able to make those decisions in her time,” she explains in regards to not wanting to post photos of her daughter. “She already has a lot to navigate in life as the daughter of an actor and a former football player. She should be able to enter this world in the way that is right for her.”

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