Kerry Washington Explains Why She Won’t Play The “White Girl’s Best Friend” Anymore

Hollywood actress Kerry Washington says she refused to play the ‘white girl’s best friend’ after a movie with Meg Ryan, as she didn’t want to be an “accessory to a white woman’s journey.”
In Kerry Washington‘s new memoir, Thicker Than Water, the actress detailed why she refused to play the “white girl’s best friend” role after starring alongside Meg Ryan in 2004’s Against The Ropes.

Washington played Renee, the best friend to Ryan’s portrayal of Jackie Kallen — the world’s first and arguably most successful female boxing manager.

In an excerpt shared by Entertainment Weekly, the 46-year-old wrote, “In it, I played [Meg Ryan’s] coworker and confidante — this was becoming a new niche for me, the white girl’s best friend.” Prior to the film, the Scandal star played the best friend to a white female lead twice before in 2001’s Save The Last Dance and in the shelved pilot for a Fox dramedy, Wonderfalls.Washington wanted her Against The Ropes role to be her last time participating in the trope because she felt she hit her peak as the “white girl’s best friend.”

In the book, she continued, “When Harry Met Sally is, to this day, one of my top three movies of all time, so once I’d played Meg Ryan’s best friend, playing the role against anyone else would have been a lateral move. It’s not that I wanted to be the star of the film; I wanted my characters to be in a story of their own. I didn’t want to be an accessory to a white woman’s journey.”

The Emmy winner went on to make history as the first Black woman to lead a network drama in 38 years. In an interview with Variety, she explained the gravity of that feat.


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