*Kerry Washington is my favourite of all the favourites

It’s not a “gossip gift” per se, but this potential drama nominees roundtable is the best gift I could have gotten. It’s delicious. I know all these women, I watch all their shows – it feels strangely indulgent to have them all in the same room and saying things that they maybe shouldn’t.

And it is indulgent – the video is an hour long. The written transcript (click here) is far quicker to read, if less colourful (there are entire segments lifted out), but either way, this is a guarded “unguarded” conversation that still turns up some gems.     Like when Monica Potter remarks to Washington in surprise “Oh, you’re really smart. You went to college?” Washington says “yeah”, like, “yeah, and…?” and the rest of them all shake their heads – they didn’t go. It’s just…you have to see it to believe it.

But listen, don’t let me be maligning Potter here. She is easily the least rehearsed, swears often, and feels most like a real person. When she talks about the food and drinks she consumes when she’s pregnant (“I like to gain 60 or 70 lbs, I have some drinks after”) the other actresses laugh uproariously,  and then she actually names the number she was when she was auditioning. And it’s not 130 (gasp!) pounds. So refreshing.

I spent time looking at foreheads to see where the Botox is most evident (hint – look to the left) and watching for facial “realities”. This is where my woman Britton really makes my heart sing.

But of course, the most interesting part about this is the dynamic of six women trying to have a conversation while not talking over one another, being so conscious of how they were perceived, while trying to be “natural”. For example, Kate Mara, depending on how you interpret the face she has on and her tight-crossed arms, is either WAY out of her depth and knows it, or, she thinks she will never give up her mystique like these women who are so open about mistakes they’ve made and parts they didn’t get. I mean, your interpretation may vary, but she does share genetic material with Rooney Mara, so who are we kidding? (Sidebar: I was having trouble re-clicking on certain parts of the video, so I couldn’t re-look, but Mara certainly sounds sardonic when she says “(My sister is) an actress too, I don’t’ know if you know”. Tension!)

Elisabeth Moss is having the most fun, I think, easily. Well, it’s a race between her and Potter. But she makes the best jokes, is thoroughly self-deprecating, seems the most realistic that this is a job that she’s lucky to have, and I love her because when she says that no, she doesn’t “help” with the writing of the show because what could she possibly come up with that’s better than Matt Weiner? Which, I say in my biased way, is the right answer. Actors have a job. Writers have a job. If they’re going to be meshed, a la Michael Cera on the new season of Arrested Development, it is done in a really official manner with a seat in the writers’ room and a title. Ahem, certain actresses in the room. 

But yeah, Washington is the greatest. One of the interviewers asked whether, when she first met Shonda Rhimes, she was asked to play the character, you know, um… “…as a black woman?” finishes Washington. She’s not trying to be a bitch, exactly, but she’s also pointing out how stupid the question is, in the nicest way possible,  that that isn’t the type of thing you can kind of “put on”. She also comes off as by far  the most intelligent overall, which, while it is not a requirement for actresses at all, certainly makes me feel even more secure in my love for Olivia Pope.  

In short, this is a pleasure. Nobody’s pretending this is a normal state of affairs, or that this isn’t more work for these women (how about when they complain that their stomachs are growling and the one interviewer goes “There’s food afterwards, there’s food afterwards”. Like, finish what you’re doing first, and then you may have food if you’re good girls), but – and this is maybe a grandiose statement – this is still rare. 

It’s still rare to see women get together and go “yeah, we have this common experience”, and it is a treat. A measured, calculated treat, especially since these women are here because they’re expected to be in competition in a few months’ time, but still. Also, it’s worth noting that in a group of six successful women, any whispers of feminism sort of come up and are quashed in the same minute -  but it’s nonetheless worth your time. Indulge! And click here to see more photos.