Kerry Washington Advocates for Domestic Abuse Victims, Bolts Outside to See the Pope

Yep—Olivia Pope is a stan of the Pope.

Kerry Washington dazzled on Thursday evening (Sept. 24) at The Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City as the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse ambassador. The initiative raised over $2.25 million in 2014 to provide survivors of domestic violence with financial knowledge, skills, and the resources that they need to break free from abuse. She was joined on the red carpet by fellow Allstate advocates Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Ivanka Trump, and The Bachelorette’s Andi Dorfman.

Dorfman was gushing over the $8 purse that she acquired from a “janky” store in midtown when, suddenly, Washington bolted from the press line and out the doors of the Plaza. Photographers were reassured that she would return after she had fulfilled her goal of watching the Pope’s motorcade pass by‚ and she did, dutifully #blessed.

The Scandal star teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue and Tommy Hilfiger’s wife Dee Ocleppo Hilfger to provide artistic influence on 2015’s sleek Purple Purse design. Washington’s mother, a college professor, instated morals from an early age that inner strength and mental power took precedence over beauty and style. As she grew older, Washington’s sartorial passions blossomed through a self-education on the history of designers and the evolution of fashion houses.

Celebuzz picked Washington’s beautiful mind on the influence of personal style on modern women in Hollywood and at home.

In partnering up with Saks and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, how do you believe that personal style can be an agent of empowerment for women?

Kerry Washington: Sometimes you can clothes to feel really good and help feel more confident about the way you are.

Despite this sentiment, Washington revealed that the accolades she received for her elegant 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards gown made her uneasy the following morning when “best’ and “worst dressed” rankings arose on the internet. She felt nervous “being seduced” into a competition that put women against other women. Fortunately, Washington found respite from fashion’s anti-feminist repercussions in modern society through her contributions to the Purple Purse Foundation.

“I was really excited for the opportunity to work in fashion without making people feel uncool. If they couldn’t afford something or that had to measure up,”  she says. “It was a way in limited fashion or women to understand their power.”

Where do you hope to see the fight against domestic violence more forward in the future?

KW: We hope we get “out of business” where we are so eradicated from violence against women that there isn’t a need for a Purple Purse anymore.

What would you say to young women who look up to you as a role model?

KW: It’s important to have people who inspire you, but it’s important to develop your sense of self in your own style in life and to really know what you want for yourself.

You’re going to do the best in life by being the best version of you—not the best version of somebody else.

Where should women begin the growing process?

KW: Wherever you’re called to grow! Growing is a a lifetime journey. It’s important to keep wanting to grow in the world.

The 2015 Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is now available for purchase on the Saks Fifth Avenue website25% of proceeds are donated to victims of domestic and financial abuse.

Launch the video featured at the top of the page from Extra to watch Kerry Washington fangirl over the Pope’s motorcade!