We cannot tell a lie: we are OBSESSED with Scandal, and Olivia Pope is unquestionably our life hero. Tough, brilliant, resourceful—and of course, totally gorgeous—she’s absolutely everything that we aspire to be. And we aren’t the only ones: everyone and their mother has fallen deeply in love with Kerry Washington, and we think it’s about damn time.
Kerry has fast become a beauty icon; we love the way her style zigzags from classic to retro-inspired to edgy, all while remaining totally glamourous. We also love her commitment to social issues: from campaigning for Barack Obama to speaking out for gay rights and ending violence against women and girls, Washington isn’t afraid to speak out on issues that she believes in.
For all these reasons, and for Olivia’s commitment to white couches and wine cardigans, Kerry Washington is definitely our Woman Crush Wednesday. As we eagerly await tomorrow’s Scandal finale, let’s revisit some of Queen K’s best beauty looks over the years.
As we eagerly await tomorrow's Scandal finale, let's revisit some of Kerry Washington's best beauty looks over the years.
At the Teen Choice Awards, 2001.
Kerry won the coveted Choice Breakout surfboard in 2001 for her role as Chenille in Save the Last Dance. We're obsessed with her natural curls, radiant skin and lightly coppery lip color; but of course, the best thing about this photo is how happy she looks. Aww!
At the Allure Magazine Reception For Release of Her Style, 2003.
With super-long locks and sheer cranberry lips, Kerry began taking a few more risks with her beauty in 2003. We especially love the wispy, sideswept bangs; Our Girl K never met a fringe she didn't love, as you'll soon see.
At the NYC Premiere of She Hate Me, 2004.
Kerry was the lead in this Spike Lee-directed film, for which she got stellar reviews. The shorter, lightly curled hair and side-swept bangs keep the focus on her gorgeous eyes (and those killer long false lashes). Her makeup is completed with an intense coral cheek color and glossy, neutral lips—all of which will become cornerstones of her signature makeup look.
At the Hollywood Film Festival Hollywood Awards Gala, 2004.
Kerry looked like a superstar with her gunmetal grey smoky eyes and sleep updo. The asymmetrical twisted bun keeps the style from looking too stodgy; who says glamour can't also be fun?
At the Writers Guild Awards, 2005.
One of Kerry's favorite looks is matching her gown to her makeup; here we have coral cheeks, coral lips and a coral gown. We weren't expecting to say this ourselves, but we LOVE it.
At the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards, 2006.
This look has all the elements of Washington's signature beauty style: flawless skin, rosy cheeks, neutral and glossy lips. She keeps it from looking boring with the addition of sharply defined brows and gorgeous bronze eyeshadow.
At the premiere of The Da Vinci Code, Cannes, 2006.
We are STILL obsessed with this curly, subtly highlighted updo and muted grey smoky eye. Kerry also sported a slightly softer eyebrow look in 2006, and we are here for it.
At the premiere of Little Man, 2006.
Shut. It. Down. This look is a master-class in what we like to call "matte-dewiness." Her skin is slightly more matter than usual, but doesn't look heavy or chalky. The trick? Pick a translucent powder with a little shimmer in it. It fights shine, while keeping skin looking natural. (Of course, it also helps when you're as stunning as Kerry is.)
At the Los Angeles premiere of The Last King of Scotland, 2006.
If you've ever wondered if Kerry looks incredible in a bright red lip, the answer is yes. Paired with minimal eye makeup, a sleek pony and bright cheeks (of course), this is a chic look for a star-making red carpet.
At the People Magazine Grammy Awards Afterparty, 2007.
If you're going to a party hosted by Beyonce, you need to BRING IT, beauty-wise. These disco-inspired curls and dramatic dark eye makeup are event-appropriate, fun and totally gorgeous. (Also, let's just take a minute to think about Olivia Pope and Beyonce hanging out together. Magnificent.)
At The Women's Project's Women Of Achievement Gala, 2007.
This was around the time that Our Queen began moving away from neutral lip gloss and into pink tints. On some people, a pink dress with pink cheeks and pink lips could be a little much, but by choosing slightly different tones in the same warm rose color family, Kerry keeps this looking really fresh and lovely.
At the season 2 premiere of Big Love, 2007.
Green eyeshadow and a green dress. Repeat: she wore green eyeshadow and a green dress. BOW DOWN.
At the Palermo Shooting premiere, Cannes, 2008.
Cannes is known as a go big or go home event, and Kerry most definitely rose to the occasion. This giant beehive is EVERYTHING; the modern makeup keeps it from looking like a costume.
At The International Women's Media Foundation's Courage In Journalism Awards, 2008.
She brought the bangs back in mid-2008, and the hair-angels sang. We love this lash-skimming length on her, especially worn with the long, loose curls.
At the L'Oreal Legends Gala to Benefit The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 2008.
Could these be the best bangs in history, yes OR yes?
At the premiere of Face, Cannes, 2009.
Does anyone do Cannes with as much style as Kerry? Red lips and a major updo equals beauty crush forever.
At the premiere of Face, Cannes, 2009.
Here's a profile shot of this hair, because it's just THAT brilliant. Sleek from the front; slightly messy in the back. Amazing.
At the premiere of Mother and Child, 2010.
Here we have another signature Washington beauty look...with the addition of bright purple eyeshadow acting as a makeup focal point. Never let it be said that you can't wear bright eye makeup with a bright outfit!
Variety's 2nd Annual Power Of Women Luncheon, 2010.
Starring as Olivia Pope in Scandal, 2010 was truly Kerry's breakout year. Here she's serving TRUE power-woman glamour with sleek, shiny hair (full of secrets, probably) and deep berry lips.
At the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Met Gala, 2011.
This cloud of curls, dramatic black eye makeup and bright pastel pink lipstick is giving us life. The Met Gala is the perfect time to really get creative with your beauty while also looking totally elegant. That can be a tough line to walk, but Kerry balances perfectly.
At the Emmys, 2011.
Her lip shape. Is. Perfect. Also perfect: the way she wears both upper AND lower fake lashes paired with white eyeliner along her waterlines. Though a definite departure for Washington (who usually uses black or brown along her waterlines), this creates a big-eyed look that is still totally red carpet glam.
At the Django Unchained Press Line, Comic-Con 2012.
As the weather heats up and we start looking for cute hairstyle ideas, this voluminous pony with sideswept bangs is assuredly our number one hair crush.
At the Grey Goose Vodka hosted The Details premiere & afterparty.
BREAKING NEWS: KERRY WASHINGTON WEARS CAT EYE, REMAINS PERFECT WHILE DOING SO.
At the UK premiere of Django Unchained, 2013.
So yes, this is definitely our dream bob: curly, voluminous, chic, stylish. And that deep red lipstick may just be the Platonic ideal of dark lip colors. But what we really want to comment on here are Kerry's brows: they're slightly fuller and flatter, and they make her face look even more amazing. Tiny brow changes can have amazing effects, everyone!
At the NAACP Image Awards, 2013.
A retro-influenced gown deserves a retro hairstyle. This pushed-back style, paired with pale lipstick, manages to look 60s sophisticated without skewing too twee.
At the premiere of Peeples, 2013.
Hello, red highlights. How lovely to see you peeking though this Old Hollywood-inspired deep parted hairstyle! This is such a fun way to add color to your hairstyle without getting a full-on dye job; this is perfect on Kerry, especially when paired with wine-red lips and blue-grey eyeliner.
At the Teen Choice Awards, 2013.
Purple eyeliner. Coral lips. Kerry is so amazing, she has us speaking in nothing but Beyonce lyrics right now (we love her like XO).
At the SAG awards, 2014.
Want to know how to wear a headband like a grown woman? Kerry matches a simple navy blue ribbon to her skirt, slays, and schools us all.
At the Oscars, 2014.
Though this wasn't a popular beauty look at the time, we LOVE Kerry's marsala lips and 40s-inspired hair. Literally beyond radiant and beautiful.
At The Limited Collection Inspired by Scandal launch, 2014.
It seems fitting that at an event celebrating Olivia Pope's legendary style, Kerry would bring out the big hair guns. We're in love with this wide fishtail braid twisted back at the face; it really shows off the red highlights that we haven't seen on Queen K since 2013.
At the Golden Globes, 2015.
Though she hasn't yet won a major award for her work on Scandal (a glaring issue, as far as we're concerned), but she killed the red carpet with this MAJOR beauty look. The slightly smoky cat eye, thick brows and glowing skin? Flawless.
At the GLAAD Media Awards, 2015.
Once again, Queen K matches her burgundy eyeshadow to her burgundy dress, and we are into it. How is she doing this?!
At the China: Through The Looking Glass Met Gala, 2015.
Once again: pink eyeshadow, pink cheeks, pink lips, MAJOR pink gown. Washington, you've done it again!