WATCH: Kerry Washington and Aziz Ansari Trade Racist Casting Horror Stories

By Sameer Rao Jun 09, 2016

Like many performers of color, Kerry Washington and Aziz Ansari faced racist casting on their way to becoming Hollywood trailblazers.

"Before ‘Scandal,’ I was actually cast in two other pilots. Both went to series, but I was fired and recast," Washington said. "For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more ‘girlfriend,’ more like ‘hood,’ more "urban.’"

Washington and Ansari spoke candidly about their negative and positive experiences for a new episode of Variety’s "Actors on Actors" series. Ansari, who tackled stereotype-based casting of South Asian Americans on an episode of his hit Netflix series "Master of None," said that episode resonated with many people of color in his industry:

"A lot of other minority actors have told me, ‘Oh, this so rings a bell’ when you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you and you just start feeling like, ‘Oh I’m not here [for me], I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want in here."

They also noted how their current successes give them the power to dismantle those stereotypes. "I definitely feel like I’m at that point where it’s nice to not have to sit at home and wait to be invited to the party, but to be creating work for yourself," Washington said.

Watch their full conversation above.