Kerry Washington for AdWeek

If your like me and had to do a double take to figure out who is on the cover of Adweek… it’s none other than Miss Kerry Baby! See why this fashionista thinks branding is so important

Branding Onself:

You’ve partnered with so many brands. How do you determine which ones make sense for you to join forces with?
There isn’t an algorithm that I plug a brand into. It really is about having an authentic, organic excitement and connection to it and asking myself, is this work that I would be proud of? Do I feel like it will be as rewarding as it is time-consuming? Because for me, none of the partnerships that I’m in are me [just] being the face of something. I am extremely hands-on and integrated in each of my relationships, so it has to be worth it for me. … I worked with companies earlier in my career where I knew very early on when it wasn’t a match for me. I’m grateful for that wisdom because now I know how to make those choices.

As part of finding that fit, do you say to those brands, “This is who I am and the show I’m on, and I’m active politically, and you need to be on board with that”? 
Yes. I’m not interested in partnering with brands where I have to conform to match their brand identity. If somebody doesn’t want to work with me because I do a speech at the Democratic National Convention, that’s fine.

What led to your Apple Music ads with Taraji P. Henson and Mary J. Blige?
That came together through friends of mine: Steve Stoute, who is the head of Translation Marketing, and is like the brother I never had, and Jimmy Iovine at Apple Music. Steve felt like people know the Olivia Pope side of me, and the real-world White House side of me, and the magna cum laude Kerry who gives speeches at commencements, but they don’t really know hip-hop Kerry and Kerry from the Bronx, the way Steve does. He felt like that was a part of my brand that I wasn’t doing a good enough job getting out there. There aren’t a lot of products and a product space that live in that part of my identity that I would necessarily want to partner with, but Apple Music was a no-brainer.


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