Shondaland season is quickly upon us with Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy all returning to a TV near you September 24, and what better way to celebrate having to do something on Thursday evenings again than by making our favorite casts the biggest faces on newsstands?
That’s what Entertainment Weekly (EW) did with four epic covers celebrating the leading ladies who make these shows the successes they are and the supporting casts that keep us coming back for more. Gathering together for a bit of real talk, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, and Ellen Pompeo let EW editors sit in on a candid discussion about colorism, sexism, and the uncharted territory they’re stepping into next.
Speaking on the benefit of working for a female showrunner (like Rhimes), Kerry shared, “I was talking to an actress who’s pregnant and really worried about telling her bosses, and I said, ‘Yeah, when I told my boss I was pregnant, she literally jumped up and down in my trailer.’ I don’t know if there’s a male showrunner who would do that.”
Meanwhile, Viola spoke to the irony of Hollywood policing blackness. “You have to come from Detroit or Atlanta to be black. If you have John Denver on your iPod and you come from Central Falls, Rhode Island, then: Eh, you trickle-down black woman,” she said.
Shonda Rhimes also revealed discrimination she was faced with as a girl and how her parents became her real-life gladiators. “When I encountered something that felt like racism—like my high school guidance counselor saying to me, ‘Honey, I don’t think you were made for Ivy League schools’—I called my mom at work and said, “Mom, this lady says I’m not made for Ivy League schools.” And my mother said, “Hold on, I’ll be there in five minutes.” My mom drove up to the school, walked into the guidance counselor’s office, came out, and said, “Everything’s fine now.”
The EW covers hit newsstands today.