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Kerry Washington: Daily Routine

On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.

Kerry Washington has been keeping super busy these past few years. After wrapping up her critically acclaimed role as Olivia Pope in the ABC drama series Scandal in 2018, the American actress, producer, and director has stayed active working on a number of different film and television projects.

In addition to appearing on the TV show Live in Front of a Studio Audience and starring in the Netflix film American Son, Washington also served as the executive producer and starred alongside Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere, produced The Fight, a documentary about the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and flexed her directing chops on an episode of Issa Rae’s Insecure. To top this all off, she’s also going to be starring as fourth-grade teacher Ms. Peyton in a recurring role on The Simpsons.

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If that wasn’t enough, she’s also a political activist, using her Hollywood power to encourage people to vote as part of her role as the co-chair for When We All Vote. In an interview with Time, Washington revealed that it was her character in Scandal that encouraged her to participate more in activism.

“Olivia Pope is one of the reasons I’ve stepped into activism in this way,” she explained. “I woke up the morning after the election in 2016, and Olivia Pope was trending. I was confronted with all these people saying, ‘Olivia Pope, you have to fix this.’ ‘Olivia Pope, save the day.’”

Encouraged by her fanbase, she sought to take action in real-life, instead of just on the screen. “And while I’m honored at the cultural impact she’s had, we don’t fix our democracy by believing in a fictional character,” she said. “We take care of our country by showing up and participating in democracy.”

With her film and television career busy as ever, her production company Simpson Street taking off and her political activism work playing an important role in her life, it’s clear that the American entertainment star has a lot on her plate. Though it seems like it’s all by design if you ask her.

It’s important for me to be clear on where the ambition comes from and what I’m being ambitious for. I’ve gotten in trouble in my life when I’ve been ambitious to meet other people’s goals and standards. But being ambitious for the longings of my own heart and for my own personal dreams for myself and my family? That is a really beautiful thing and something I try to cultivate.

Kerry Washington Has It Handled | The Cut

Kerry Washington’s daily routine

On a typical day, Washington is up at between 5-6am and the first thing on her to-do list is hydration and exercise. “I love to exercise first thing in the morning, like Pilates, yoga, or weight training, and then drink at least a litre of water with either lemon juice or LMNT supplement powder,” she told Marie Claire. “Sometimes I can drink four to six litres a day.”

After she drinks her litre of water and gets her movement in, she’ll try to spend time reading something inspirational and do some breath work. “I like to get these things in before the kids are up,” she told The Cut. “Because once they’re up, it’s all about getting them out the door and getting their day started. I’ll head to work from there.”

When it comes to her work, with some many creative endeavours and business ventures, it’s not easy for the Scandal star to prioritise her projects. So at any given moment, she’ll ask herself where she’ll be able to add the most value, where she’s needed most, but also, which project she’ll find the most joy in working on at that time.

In my options of what to do today, what will help me fill the well? It’s all work, so what’s the work that will be fulfilling, enriching, and inspiring? Where can I be of the most service, and what can be of the most service to me when it comes to satisfying my own interests and commitments? I really come alive from doing many different kinds of things. I get excited and creatively turned on by switching it up. Some hours are about acting, while others are about producing or directing. That diversity of interest keeps me on my toes.

Kerry Washington Has It Handled | The Cut

With such a busy daily routine at all times, Washington is conscious of including lots of self-care activities throughout her schedule so that she doesn’t burn out. In addition to her Pilates, yoga and weight training, she also enjoys outdoor exercise like swimming and hiking. She’s also big on therapy and massages.

“I love them because they fall in that in-between for me: half beauty, half wellness,” she said in an interview with Allure about massages. “It’s something I do because I’m in heels a lot and I work really long hours. And I have a lot of pressures in my life. So massages are a good way for me to maintain my health and wellness, but also I feel like I’m doing something indulgent.”

At the end of the day, to wrap up her busy routine, Washington performs a skincare routine that she says helps her to wind down before bed. “I like to double cleanse by removing my makeup with makeup-remover wipes, followed by washing my face and then applying retinol serum,” she revealed to The Cut.

Before you go…

Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.