Kerry Washington aka Olivia Pope
Kerry Washington aka Olivia Pope

I bumped into an article this week. It was an interview with Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope in Scandal. She says attending an all girls’ school helped her shift her focus from looks. She feels the lack of boys helped her pursue other aspects of her personality. I’ve heard the comment before, but I’m not sure I agree.

I attended an all-girl high school, and my experience was the exact opposite. I feel that we became a lot more competitive. We were all smart girls, so looks became the only way we could one-up each other, especially as it was a catholic school, so no make-up, no jewellery, no fancy hairstyles, no flattering uniforms … in fact, the only way to wear anything remotely sexy or feminine was to join the hockey team, and the hockey team had the biggest tomboys in school!

Normal skirt 1
Normal skirt
Hockey skirt 2
Hockey skirt

Olivia Pope is one of the sexiest women on TV right now, so it was interesting to hear her talk about teenage insecurities. Growing up, she felt ‘what was on the oustide can’t really compete with other people.’ She focussed on being the smart girl because she felt she wasn’t the pretty girl.

I get that. I always knew I was smart, and for the longest time, I felt I wasn’t pretty so I put all my energy into the one thing I was good at – my mind. As I’ve gotten older (and spent a year in therapy), I’ve started to feel pretty. Ironically, I’ve also bumped into boys from childhood who said they always thought I was pretty, but I was so smart (and quick-tempered) that they were sure I’d hurt them if they hit on me…

From StraightWhiteBoysTexting.Com

The space I’m in now is the space Olivia Pope is in. I don’t mean the space of sleeping with green-eyed spies and white presidents. I mean the space of knowing that I’m smart and beautiful. It doesn’t really solve life’s problems – like feeling ugly during shark week, or finding a guy that likes my peculiar package, but it’s definitely an awesome feeling, and a lovely space to be in. I’m raising my daughter to revel in that space, because every little (and not-so-little) girl deserves to feel this confident.

♫ You set me free ♫ Michelle Bramch ♫

3 thoughts on “Boys, Skirts, and Olivia Pope

  1. Hi.
    I can relate to your sentiments as i went to an all girls school from when i was six all the way to high school and i can assure you that competition is what mostly defined us. The girls with long hair and fair skin were always considered the pretty ones and the likes of me, dark, short hair, let’s just say i had my brains working for me. Fast forward to many years later, i am now married to a wonderful guy with three beautiful children. I don’t know if this is sad but my husband has worked so hard to make me feel pretty and feminine and slowly i have learnt to look at myself in the mirror and appreciate that girl staring back. I have vowed to take my daughter to mixed schools throughout as i don’t want her to go through what i had to endure. Hopefully her problems in life will not be what she naturally has or lacks.

    Please continue writing and inspiring us ghost readers 🙂

  2. Thanks Lissa. I think sometimes we need to see ourselves as others see us before we can recognise our own beauty. That’s not sad, it’s human, and I’m glad you found a good man to help you see yourself as you really are 🙂

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