Washington is the first black woman since January 2007 to be on the cover of the magazine.
Washington speaks about her activism--which has been a part of her life since she was young. When she was in high school, Washington was a safe-sex advocate in an educational troupe that performed self-written skits about safe sex.
She also discusses the show at length--from the racial dynamics, appreciating Olivia's embracing of her femininity to women everywhere idolizing Olivia.
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.' 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 think, in the medium of television. 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.
You can read a snippet from Washington's interview here. The issue with the full, must-read interview is on newsstands now. Be sure to pick up a copy to support Washington and let Vanity Fair know you don't want to wait another 6 years to have another African American woman on the cover.