ABC’s Scandal was practically an instant hit when it launched the career of Kerry Washington and solidified the complex and powerful character of Olivia Pope as one of the most important women in television history. Creator Shonda Rhimes does incredible work in establishing Olivia as a whip smart, savvy, yet deeply flawed player.
Yet, how much do we know about Olivia Pope, really? Besides her torrid romantic life and totally bonkers career, there is little known about Olivia’s past. Yeah, the girl’s got daddy issues (who doesn’t?) but what about the other stuff, you know, the stuff that makes her a fully-fleshed person? This list of 13 things you didn’t know about Olivia Pope (but totally should) may shed some light on what Rhimes had in mind when she was creating the eventual icon.
1. The character Olivia Pope was originally named Olivia Price.
2. Gabrielle Union auditioned for the role of Olivia Pope but didn’t get the part.
3. Olivia Pope was on the high school swim team.
4. Olivia Pope & Associates is located at 1970 K. Street, Washington, D.C., 20006.
5. Olivia paces in perfect circles when she is anxious or nervous.
6. She attended the best boarding schools as a kid including Saint Anne’s and Surval Montreux.
7. She studied political science as an undergrad at Princeton then attended Georgetown Law.
8. As a young woman Olivia was a Washington D.C. party girl who dated a “nice lineup of silverfoxes.” (Old men.)
9. The character of Olivia Pope is based on former George W. Bush’s press aide Judy Smith who is also co-executive producer of Scandal.
10. Her middle name is “Carolyn.”
11. The now iconic wine glasses she is seen sipping from while eating popcorn are from Crate & Barrel (and literally every review of the the glasses references the show).
12. The character of Olivia Pope is the first female African-American protagonist since Teresa Graves’ Christie Love in 1974.
13. Olivia Pope’s favorite wines include a 1994 Châteauneuf du Pape, Bordeaux, California Oak and Shiraz.