‘Ignore the Haters,’ Says Kerry Washington About Being Confident

The InStyle video series, Woman with Desk and Chair, gives influential women a platform to share life lessons with fans. Past themes have included subjects such as being a good friend and self-reinvention. In a recent segment, Little Fires Everywhere star, Kerry Washington, shared some tips on confidence.

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Kerry Washington, an authority on confidence

“Hi, I’m Kerry Washington, and these are my tips for being confident,” Washington begins the Woman with Desk and Chair video segment.

Washington appears to be an expert when it comes to confidence. She has built a reputation as an artist with talent and focus, on screen and behind the camera. From on-set duties, to on-camera interviews, to red carpet photo ops, Washington is a genuine authority when it comes to project inner confidence. Here are the tips that she shared on Woman with Desk and Chair.

Tip No. 1: ‘Enjoy being a beginner

Washington wasn’t always the experienced entertainment professional that she is today. She honed her craft beginning with parts on television shows like ABC Afterschool Specials. This is her advice on being a beginner:

If you think you’re supposed to know how to do everything, all the time, you’re supposed to have all the information and be perfect already, that’s too much pressure. You have to enjoy being a beginner. Enjoy learning new things. Enjoy not being good at something because that’s how you get better at it. That life can throw you a loop, and you can ride it into success.


Tip No. 2: ‘Don’t listen to the critics

With the limelight comes the chance to be critiqued. Washington’s show, Scandal, which ended in 2018,is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 93% on the Tomatometer. However, her lowest rated project, A Thousand Words, stands at 0%. Here is Washington’s take on how to handle critics.

Don’t listen to the critics. Don’t do it. Make your own choices. And if people have feedback about the things you’re doing — I mean unless it’s a trusted source, somebody who is in your corner, wanting to support you being your best — if it’s just somebody who’s got something to say about what you’re doing, you can say “thank you for sharing” and ignore them. So be confident that what you’re doing is right for you. May not be right for somebody else, but you know. Ignore the haters.


Tip No. 3: ‘Travel with trusted confidants

The base camp for many productions is Hollywood, however, Washington sometimes finds it necessary to travel to other areas. Here is what the actress has to say about traveling for work:

When I’m on a photo shoot, it’s like anything else in life, you better travel with some trusted confidants. So you know, rolling with the crew that you love and you trust, that definitely helps one feel more confident at a photo shoot.


Tip No. 4: ‘Be prepared

In the production world, preparation is key for the cast and crew. Washington imparted a few words of wisdom about being prepared:

You know another great way to be confident is to be prepared. I find that a lot of times when I’m not confident, it’s because I haven’t put in the time ahead of time to make sure that the situation, I’m in is the one that I wanna be in the way I wanna be in it. So if I wanna be confident about my outfit, I try to prepare to have it be the outfit I want it to be. But then also, embrace the spirit of being a beginner.


Tip No. 5: ‘Be yourself

Although Washington makes a living playing fictional characters, she explains why learning to be yourself in the real world is a valuable lesson.

I think a big part of being confident is also being yourself. Because if you’re trying to be somebody else, or trying to be who other people want you to be, you’re gonna feel like you’re doing something that’s not true to you. Be who you want me to be, be who somebody else wants me to be, I’m not always gonna get that right. But be who I really am right now in this moment, and I know that that’s fine? I can do that. That’s what confidence looks like.


Washington’s final thoughts

Washington ends the video with a few parting thoughts:

I think confidence is really knowing you’re great, behaving like you’re great, preparing to be great, and then trusting that whatever is happening today is your greatness. I love the expression, like, “In the end, it’s gonna be okay. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” So, go out there and be confident that in the end it’s gonna be okay.


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