Kerry Washington has achieved the kind of success few A-lister enjoy: from roles in award-winners like Ray and The Last King of Scotland, big-budget movies like Django Unchained and Mr. and Mrs. Smith and prime-time TV slots. In a new cover interview with Net-a-Porter, Washington shares insight into her rise to fame.

She admits she’s created and built her own opportunities: “I always have, even as a child, been really opinionated. I’ve always wanted an environment where I can feel seen and heard. I don’t even know that I saw myself as a leader, just as a person with a lot to say. I think the more I started to work in this industry, I started to understand that there weren’t a lot of people who understood my perspective as a woman or as a woman of color in power – and I had to create that opportunity.”

Washington was born in the Bronx, but attended a fancy school on the Upper East Side, Spence. “I remember distinctly being 12 or 13 and going from my neighborhood in the Bronx to a very posh, elite school. Seeing other people’s homes, I remember understanding that there was ‘another world’ and feeling overwhelmed, angry, inspired, delighted and betrayed at the same time. Thinking, ‘Why does nobody I know live like this?’ Or, more so, ‘Why does nobody who looks like me live like this?"” she explains. “So a lot of our mandate at Simpson Street is centering otherness and really reminding ourselves, and each other, that protagonists look like all of us – that anyone can be the hero of their own story and their own life.”

Washington also addressed Time’s Up, saying it “has created myriad female creative partnerships, though that was never our intention. That was always secondary… Our actions had to be working for the protection, the safety, the equity of women in all industries. When we brought all those amazing activists with us to the Golden Globes, we knew this wasn’t about just us.”

Washington can next be seen in Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, March 18th.

When she shares links to the story on social media, fans eagerly give her closely cropped new ‘do a thumbs-up. Writes one: “This is your true look.”