‘Scandal’: Is Olivia Pope Real? Kerry Washington’s Iconic Character Has a Real-Life Inspiration

by Jeremy Spirogis
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope.

In a time when a Presidential candidate simply picked the primary African-American operating mate, it pays to look again on the ABC sequence Scandal and its influences. Much of what the present depicted may be thought of over-the-top, even by Washington, D.C. requirements. Then once more, the star character was primarily based on an actual determine.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was primarily based on what D.C. pundits known as a “fixer.” Those who find out about Michael Cohen’s relationship with Donald Trump will know the previous because the latter’s personal fixer/lawyer.

There was a lady within the Beltway, although, who as soon as dealt with these duties, together with for a particular Republican President. How shut was she to the Olivia Pope character?

Shonda Rhimes primarily based Olivia Pope on Judy Smith

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope.
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on ABC’s ‘Scandal.’ | Bob D’Amico/Walt Disney Television by way of Getty Images Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Scandal’: Kerry Washington Would’ve Abandoned Series If Fitz Was Played By a Black Man

It appears probably the most extraordinary folks portrayed on the large or small-screen typically have probably the most primary of names in actual life. That was the truth of Judy Smith, albeit her life being removed from extraordinary.

As a type of D.C. fixers, one has to surprise how a lot these folks actually repair. Going by latest tales from Michael Cohen, a few of them go to main extremes to cowl up crimes for influential politicians/Presidents.

Smith was identified for fixing, regardless of being identified beneath a extra moral title: Crisis supervisor. She labored to calm scandals by D.C.’s most infamous again within the ’90s and 2000s. Some of those purchasers included Monica Lewinsky and one President (George H.W. Bush).

Her tales are legendary from her official firm. Based on Smith’s personal web site, her Smith & Company continues having renown as a full-service disaster administration and communications agency.

How a lot of Judy Smith was within the Olivia Pope character?

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One can actually see the resemblance between Judy Smith and Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. Smith even wrote a e book known as Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets as a method to indicate being a fixer ought to by no means imply breaking the regulation.

Some would possibly argue the case that fixers these days have obtained a foul title due to what happens in D.C. at current. And, if going by Scandal, it possibly was already this unhealthy years earlier than the Trumps got here to city.

From all indications, Shonda Rhimes solely loosely primarily based Olivia Pope on Judy Smith. Considering lots of the plots on Scandal had been off the charts in issues needing fixing, one has to hope it got here strictly from the writers’ pens.

Smith needed to do interviews to guarantee her followers she by no means slept with the President (when working as an aide for him), or helped transfer lifeless our bodies. In an interview with NPR again in 2018, she reiterated all of it was made up for TV.

Setting the report straight about George H.W. Bush

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According to Smith in that NPR interview, she needed to name George H.W. Bush to let him find out about Scandal when it first went on the air. Considering she was listed as a co-executive producer on the present, she frightened what the response from Bush may be.

Bush reportedly gave all his assist and her foray into TV. Most ironic, although, is Scandal took on a serious theme about how scandals begin: Via the web.

Smith needed to undergo comparable conditions herself and used her expertise to diffuse anybody considering Scandal was mimicking her personal life. Much of that was quelled rapidly, if George H.W. Bush joking along with her by way of electronic mail in regards to the rumors. He jokingly wrote her: “Love you. Want you. You left me. And by the way, this is the former leader of the free world. Call me.”

Leave it as much as the late Bush to place a cease to it along with his personal depraved humorousness. Now, in hindsight, Judy Smith’s time in D.C. might seem like youngster’s play compared to the close to inconceivable process for a fixer today.

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