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Kerry Washington is ELLE Magazine’s April cover girl and she’s got our full attention. Rocking an oversized crew neck ‘Cassius Clay’ sweatshirt (ode to Muhammad Ali) and tousled hair, the Scandal star is serving up nothing less than fearless, fierce and in charge.

Inside, Kerry discusses motherhood, Shonda Rhimes and the need for women’s voices to be heard everywhere. The actress explained to ELLE why it’s always been important for her to stand firm on causes she believes in without wavering.

“I’m a person who’s always been politically active and passionate about people’s rights,” she told the magazine. “I marched against the [2004] Republican Convention. And as my career has expanded, it’s been important for me to not stifle that voice. Because you want to be popular, you want people to hire you, and I have to make sure I don’t do it less because I’m an actor.”

Kerry ditches the heather gray casual number for a sexy swimsuit in another photo. The issue hits newsstands March 22nd and you can catch her in the upcoming HBO Anita Hill biopic Confirmation, which she will both star in and executive produce – premiering April 11th. Check your local listings.

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