Kerry Washington, InStyle

Thomas Whiteside/InStyle

Kerry Washington has vowed to take some time to "be quiet" as she continues to prepare for her second child, stepping away from social media and the spotlight for a little while to do so.

In the September issue of InStyle magazine, the actress explains how her massive success has actually persuaded her to pull back a little.

"I think that's where the need for quiet is coming from. You arrive at a certain place of achieving and suddenly you feel like your goals are being dictated by other people," she said. "Right now, as I get ready for this second baby, it's really about me being in touch with what I want."

She continued, "I didn't get here because I was trying to be what somebody else wanted me to be...I am not interested in playing by other people's rules. So for now, I'm leaving myself open to the adventure." 

Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Women In Film / MaxMara

She also seeks advice from Scandal creator and writer Shonda Rhimes, who has three children of her own.

"I've really leaned heavily on my boss's experience," Washington explained. "I consider myself busy, but Shonda has about four of five shows, three kids...She says, 'If you feel like you have just the right amount of help, then you don't have enough.' My therapist said this too. You need a lot of support. No just logistically but emotionally and spiritually."

Washington's current pregnancy was not written into Scandal's new season, meaning certain adjustments needed to be made. "There's nothing high-end for professional women who are pregnant, so for the show, we wind up just buying the same clothes," she said. "We will cut out the front of Armani trousers and put in a pregnancy panel. That's what we do for everything."

Off-screen, finding fashionable maternity clothes has been much easier, thanks to her famous friend Jessica Alba. "She told me she had this box of maternity clothes that she would ship from girlfriend to girlfriend. I was like, 'Can I have it?' And then I started doing it as well," Washington said. "I'm not getting clothes back that I wore the first time. Everybody adds cute stuff to the box. You're less afraid to spend money because you feel that a lot of people are going to use it."

Parenting aside, the actress often relies on other women for support in all areas of her life, which is why she got involved in Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's female empowering organization.

Kerry Washington

Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

"I feel like there is a misconception of this catty, competitiveness between women. That has not been my experience, particularly in Shondaland," Washington revealed. "My mother is one of seven kids…so I have a lot of strong women in my family, and I have supportive, beautiful relationships with all of them. I also went to an all-girls school [N.Y.C.'s Spence School], so I've always believed in the collective power of women."

She continued, "Being the one woman in the room should not be seen as a victory...If there's only one of us in the room, we're still a token; we don't actually have an empowered voice. If there's two of us, we're still a minority. If there's three…then we're allowed to have a multiplicity of opinions."

And speaking of being a woman, especially a black woman, she's faced multiple levels of inequality head-on. However, she refuses to give up on hoping for change.  

"I choose to feel optimistic, because I don't think that I could get out of bed if I didn't," she admitted. "The key will be when we stop allowing our otherness to separate us. Whether it's immigrant's rights, women's rights, civil rights, or LGBT rights, we're all under attack, because none of us belongs to that small group who have held power for a very long time."

Read her full cover story in InStyle magazine, on stands August 12.

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