Kerry Washington Worked as a Substitute Teacher Before Finding Fame


Kerry Washington worked as a substitute teacher before she landed her breakthrough movie role.

The New York-born actress has risen to prominence since landing the role of Olivia Pope in ABC drama Scandal, winning a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe for her portrayal.

But before Kerry made it big in Hollywood, she juggled a series of jobs, including working in a restaurant and teaching yoga.

“I also was a substitute teacher for New York City public schools,” she shared during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night (04Oct17). “It was a perfect job for an actor because you get a call in the morning saying, ‘We need a teacher,’ and if I had an audition, I wouldn’t go, but if I didn’t have an audition – which was most days – I would go and work in a school.”

While she was working as a substitute, the star won the part of Chenille Reynolds, a single teen mother who is having relationship problems, in 2001 movie Save the Last Dance. The flick, which also starred Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas, became a hit with teenagers and caused Kerry some problems when she attempted to go back to work.

“It did not pay me a lot of money, so after the movie came out, I went back to substitute teaching for a while,” the 40-year-old recalled. “And then I had to make a rule that I wouldn’t work in high schools. I could only do elementary schools because kids were cutting class to see Chenille teach French.

“So it was bad. I would go into a school and I would see all these kids outside the window trying to see that girl from Save the Last Dance.”

The upcoming seventh season of Scandal will be the series’ last, with the first episode due to air on Thursday night.