Hollywood's New Leaders: 10 Assistants to Watch
It took Washington a few years to find her career in casting, but now she has no plans to leave. The L.A. native went to college at Cornell, where she ran track and majored in communications. Because her father worked at CBS (from where he recently retired), Washington “grew up at the studio, around the cameras. I always knew I wanted to do entertainment.” She did stints in sales at Fox Sports and at Sundance. Then casting came calling in 2008.
“I hadn’t submitted my resume at all. I guess somehow they’d gotten it,” Washington recalls. “I was floored. I came in, sat down and they offered me the job on the spot.” Washington wasn’t able to take the position right away because she was slated to work at the Sundance Film Festival, “but I was determined,” she says. “It was the job I wanted. Sundance was going to be my last hurrah, and Fox was where I was going to end up.”
Fox agreed to wait, and she started there in February 2009.
Washington has impressed with work on “House” and fall hit “New Girl,” for which she advocated the casting of Lamorne Morris. “I stayed late, made lists and went to showcases,” Washington says. “But I didn’t do anything that someone else didn’t do. I just fight for the best choice.” Her passion, she says, lies in discovering talent. “As casting directors, we feel the responsibility that we’re bringing in the next Kate Winslet,” she says. “It’s about going to shows after a long day at work. It’s taking a chance.”
Washington adds that casting “starts with grounding yourself in the world. We’re responsible for how people see the world. Television is huge medium that people see as a mirror of reality. We have the power to create that reality.”