Happy Birthday Kerry Washington! How Kerry’s Look — And Career — Have Changed Over The Years

January 31, 2014  |  
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Over the last 20 years Kerry Washington has grown from a small screen actress into a big screen powerhouse. She’s starred in films, TV shows, music videos and Broadway theater, adding more and more big name projects to her resume each year. Now, at 37 years old, the actress, activist, wife and mommy-to-be is at the top of her game. So to celebrate her birthday – and undeniable come up in Hollywood – we’re taking a look at Kerry’s amazing career transformation in images.  Happy 37th birthday Kerry!

Save The Last Dance (2001)

Kerry got her big break in 2001 when she appeared in the romantic dance hit Save the Last Dance. Although her role was essentially just “the best friend” she was still a standout, paving the way for much larger roles in the future.

She Hate Me (2004)

In 2004 Kerry was cast in the controversial Spike Lee flick She Hate Me as Fatima Goodrich, a lesbian who convinces her former boyfriend to impregnate her, her girlfriend and about a dozen other women for cash. Clearly the film was a bit strange (and not one of Spike Lee’s best) but it allowed Kerry the opportunity to showcase her acting chops in unconventional ways – lesbian love scenes and all.

Ray (2004)

That same year Kerry was cast alongside Jamie Foxx in the Oscar winning film Ray. Her role as Della Bea, the pious and faithful wife, earned her major praise along with multiple awards and nominations.

Little Man (2006)

Following her role in Ray, Kerry took a (much) less serious role in the Wayans brothers produced comedy Little Man. The movie was mostly corny, but it did have its funny moments – and it gave Kerry the chance to appear in a big screen comedic role for the first time ever.

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Kerry’s second Oscar winning film came in 2006 when she scored the role of Kay Amin in the biographical film The Last King of Scotland. Although this was the third time we’d seen Kerry play the “wife” role, she did an excellent job portraying a conflicted character in a grisly situation. And her final scene in the hospital? Disturbing.

Fantastic Four (2005, 2007)

In 2005 Kerry joined the Fantastic Four franchise as Alicia Masters, a blind sculptor who becomes romantically involved with The Thing. Unfortunately Kerry didn’t have the biggest role in the first movie, but she did do a good enough job to land a coveted spot in the second one.

I Think I Love My Wife (2007)

In 2007 Kerry was cast in the romantic comedy I Think I Love My Wife as the sexy seductress Nikki Tru. The film wasn’t a box office hit and didn’t receive the greatest reviews but it was a lighthearted take on love, marriage and infidelity and we’d never seen Kerry sex it up like that.

Lakeview Terrace (2008)

Following her starring role in I Think I Love My Wife, Kerry switched it up to play Lisa Mattson in Lakeview Terrace. The thriller, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson, deals mostly with interracial marriage, racism and abuse of power. Not surprisingly, Kerry did an excellent job in her role, as did the rest of the cast.

For Colored Girls (2010)

For Colored Girls may have been hard to watch at times but the all-star cast lineup of Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Whoopi Goldberg, Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Michael Ealy, and of course Kerry Washington made it a win in our eyes.

Scandal (2012 – Present)

In April 2012 Kerry landed the biggest gig of her career with Scandal. As Olivia Pope she’s not only secured a spot in the record books for being the first African American woman to lead a network drama in 40 years, but also paved the way for more black actresses to star as professionals on major network TV shows. Just look at Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane. Progress!

Django Unchained (2012)

In 2012 Kerry joined the cast of the controversial Quentin Tarantino slave-western Django Unchained. Although the movie was a bit over the top (and used the N-word a couple hundred times too many) Kerry fit the role of slave Broomhilda von Shaft perfectly – adding to the film’s all star lineup of Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz.

Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (2013)

In May of 2013 Kerry appeared in Tyler Perry’s Peeples, an awkward “meet the parents” kind of romantic comedy that bombed at the box office and didn’t do much better in the ratings department. This may not have been our favorite Tyler Perry film – and it definitely wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Kerry play the role of girlfriend/wife – but it did have its funny moments.

Saturday Night Live (2013)

This past November we got to see Kerry Washington in a brand new role – a guest star on SNL. Not only was her appearance hilarious (and seriously one of the better SNLs we’ve seen in a long time), it was also the catalyst for the show hiring its first black female cast member in six years!

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