Actress Kerry Washington is blowing out 35 candles today.

Through the years, we’ve loved watching the Bronx-bred starlet blossom into one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. With her beauty, charm and superior acting chops, Washington is by far one of the most celebrated and sought-after actresses in Tinseltown. Lately she’s been busy filming a new ABC drama, “Scandal,” and Quentin Taratino’s new film, “Django Unchained.”

This year ESSENCE is honoring Washington for her work in film, television and theater: She will receive a Vanguard Award at ESSENCE’s 2012 Black Women in Hollywood event on February 23.

Today, we hope Washington is taking time to celebrate her beautiful life and stellar contribution to Hollywood and beyond.

Happy birthday, Kerry!


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