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Kerry Washington, Vanity Fair

Norman Jean Roy/Vanity Fair

Get excited, gladiators!

Kerry Washington has landed Vanity Fair's August cover and inside, she's dishing tons of Scandal scoop.

Clad in a white one-piece—which seems exactly like something her character Olivia Pope would wear on the ABC drama—the actress sports a knowing smile while mostly submerged in a pool.

Naturally the actress has perfected that same smoldering gaze thanks to hours of seducing POTUS (played by Tony Goldwyn) onscreen, but she says her character is more than just a hopeless romantic.

"What I think is cool about Olivia is that she fully owns being a woman. There's a very nurturing sense of ‘I'm going to take care of you—don't worry about it. I'm gonna be your mom in this situation," she shares. "There's something very maternal about it. But there's also something very executive about her, and I mean ‘executive' in a presidential way."

The show has quickly built up a loyal band of followers who dominated Twitter on Thursday nights when the series airs. But the TV phenomenon is also breaking color barriers too: Washington is only the second black woman in almost 40 years to lead a network drama—something she is hyper aware of.

"One of the most profound things for me about the show is the number of white women of all ages who come up to me and say ‘I want to be Olivia Pope.'" She reveals. "It's especially profound in a place like South Africa. It's called The Fixer over there, and it just started its second season. The fact that white women can see this woman of color as an aspirational character is revolutionary...I don't think white women would feel that way about Olivia if her identity as a woman, period, wasn't first in their mind."

Washington will reprise her role when the show returns this September, but in the meantime she spent the summer snagging magazine covers just like this one.

Considering she nabbed Elle's May issue, it seems only fitting that Vogue be next.