Kerry Washington Is Neutrogena's New Face (and Consultant)! Read Our Exclusive Interview With the Star

10/18/2013 at 06:00 AM ET

Kerry Washington NeutrogenaCourtesy Neutrogena

Kerry Washington is having the best year ever. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role as Olivia Pope on Scandal (aka our reason for existing on Thursday nights), she tied the knot, PEOPLE named her the Best Dressed Woman in the World — and the excitement doesn’t stop there.

The actress has been tapped to be the new face (and brains!) of Neutrogena, earning the official title of creative consultant in addition to fronting ads due to run early next year. “I never wanted to partner with a company where I felt like I was losing myself and my sense of authenticity,” Washington tells PEOPLE. “This is really about working with a company I respect and admire.”

In her new role, the actress will be co-creating marketing initiatives, giving product feedback,  and yes, showing off her gorgeous skin in ads. “The position is new for me and for them. It’s a way to be authentically involved in a real partnership with the company,” she says.

It’s a natural fit for the actress who already has a go-to  within the brand (Makeup Remover Wipes: “I will not go to bed with makeup on so it’s great to have a product that will get it off without leaving my skin too oily or dry”) and who loves to talk “beauty stuff” with her Twitter followers. “Now I can be on an adventure with my fans where I’ll be able to hear feedback on the products,” she says. “I live and work in makeup so I have a perspective on how a lip color works after eight hours on the set or an hour on the red carpet.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Fall beauty trends you’ve got to try!

But she admits that it takes more than some lipstick to get into Olivia Pope mode. “I’m so grateful for the hairstylist and makeup artist on the show. I roll out of bed at 4 a.m. and sit in the chair at 4:30 and they transform me into that person.”

The one thing she doesn’t rely on to transform into “that person” is, interestingly, perfume. “Whenever I play a different character I change my scent,” she explains. “Perfume can really set a tone or a mood in a room. Olivia needs to be neutral in the workplace.”

So there’s no “borrowing” luxe perfume from Pope’s vanity. Can she at least shop her covetable wardrobe? “No,” Washington says. “One of the things [Scandal stylist] Lyn Paolo and I feel passionate about is making Olivia have a real closet, which is why we always repeat at least one item of clothing. She’s a real woman with a real closet.”

RELATED: Five Life Lessons You Can Learn from Olivia Pope

Not that Washington needs to take pieces from the set — these days, the star is the undisputed queen of the red carpet (hence that whole “Best Dressed” thing). “Right now I’m having a Giambattista Valli moment,” she shares, though when pressed to pick a favorite look, she chooses the Giles Deacon design she wore to the London premiere of Django Unchained. “The [dress], the faux bob, the dark lip, it all just came together,” she says.

That may be, but something tells us that Washington’s showstopping beauty moments are just getting started. Are you excited about her Neutrogena partnership? What will you be requesting from her on Twitter?

–Andrea Lavinthal

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Showing 13 comments

kimpm16 on

Kerryis so talented and beautiful. But she clearly has no idea how many toxic chemicals are in most brands-not just neutrogena. We need to educate ourselves about the dangers of toxic chemicals in our every day products. The government has no adequate regulation policy. The FDA has no authority over the chemicals in our personal care products. Anyone can use the term natural, organic or safe. The average woman uses over 500 toxic chemicals a day. Babies are being born pre polluted with over 100 chemicals in cord blood at birth. We don’t hear enough in magazines and on the news because the sponsors for those things are all the big cosmetic companies.

Elaine Irvin on

Kerry Washington will be an asset to the Neutrogena Line. Kerry is beautiful on the inside and outside

Derkiss56 on

Now HERE’S a women you deserves to be People’s “most beautiful!” not Gwyneth-straw-haired-Paltrow.

Dawn on

Congrats to them both! I may have to take a look at Neutrogena now :)

Nicole on

Is she pregnant?

BBB on

Congratulations to her! I don’t watch Scandal but I know it’s a huge hit and she seems like a very sweet actress, best of luck to her.

Lina Bina on

I still think she was ROBBED for the Emmy.

sally on

Love her! She is beautiful, talented and seems so happy in her life!

Richard Rowe on

Whatever Ms. Washington touches is gold I’m sure the same with Neutrogena. The only thing I’d like see them do for me is more products for skin types like mine; I have brown oily skin that’s suseptible to acne and blackheads. Good luck Kerry!

kate on

god, she’s just gorgeous!

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