Kerry Washington Had to Give Up Her Favorite Side Hustle After ‘Save the Last Dance’ Fame

Kerry Washington has become one of the most popular actors of today’s times. The ambitious star is best known for her character on Scandal.

In 2014, Time named Washington as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. More recently, Washington has been in the media and headlines for her active stance in politics. Take a look back at Washington’s beginnings and what she shared about her past side hustle. 

Kerry Washington’s journey to fame

Kerry Washington attends the Television Academy's 25th Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Saban Media Center on January 28, 2020
Kerry Washington | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

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Washington was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York. Her mother, a college professor, grew up in Jamaica, and her father, a real estate agent, has always had strong family connections to the New York City-area.

Ironically enough, when Washington was a child, J.LO and Washington would go to the same local Boys and Girls Club of America. Washington went on to attend George Washington University where she took up performance studies.

In 2000 the young actress made her first screen performance in Our Song. The following year Washington would land her first big role that would put her and her name on the map. 

A look back at ‘Save the Last Dance’

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In 2001 Save the Last Dance premiered. Grief, guilt, revenge, murder, and, of course, dancing, were just a few of the compelling elements in the drama-based film.

Julia Stiles played the main character, Sara, who was forced to move and change schools after her mother died. That is how Sara’s character becomes good friends with Chenille, Washington’s character.

In the movie, Washington forms a romantic connection with Chenille’s brother as they explore combining ballet with hip-hop. The award-winning money received a lot of praise and positive feedback. 

Why did Kerry Washington have to give up her favorite side hustle after ‘Save the Last Dance’?

When Save the Last Dance hit the theatres, Washington was still working on establishing herself in the industry. However, she quickly realized that this film had changed a lot for her. For instance, after the release of Save the Last Dance Washington revealed that she sadly had to give up her side hustle.

At the time, Washington was a substitute teacher for the public schools in New York. In an interview, Washington recalled: “It wasn’t one of my worst jobs, but I used to be a substitute teacher for New York City schools. It was great and hard, and I even did it after I started working in films.”

Unfortunately, Washington went on to explain that it eventually had to come to an end. In the interview, she stated: “But I had to stop after I did Save the Last Dance because the students were like, ‘Chenille is substituting!'”

What are some of Kerry Washington’s other noteworthy and memorable roles as an actress?

Washington has made many, many appearances since Save the Last Dance. In 2012 the star took on the role of Broomhilda von Shaft in Django Unchained. Many of her fans and followers know and love Washington for her role as Olivia Pope on ABC.

More recently, audiences everywhere got to watch Washington as Mia Warren in Little Fires Everywhere. In an interview with NPR, she explained where the inspiration for the character came from. Washington explained: “I think there’s so much of my mom in Mia. … One of the things I witnessed growing up was that my mom was very aware — as a black woman, as an academic, as the daughter of immigrants — she was aware of the assumptions that people would make about her, and she would play with those assumptions. Not in an aggressive way, but she liked to watch people try to figure her out and she liked to not fit into a box.”

Many people enjoyed Washington’s performance and are looking forward to her next move.