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Kerry Washington: ‘I Didn’t Think I Had What It Takes to Compete With Hollywood’

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation hosted its seventh annual Los Angeles Golf Classic on Monday morning, where Kerry Washington was presented with the actors inspiration award and celebrity golfers, including Tim Allen, Ioan Gruffudd and Joe Mantegna, gathered to raise funds for the nonprofit’s emergency assistance and healthcare programs.

Washington, who stars in ABC’s “Scandal” and recently portrayed Anita Hill in the HBO film “Confirmation,” was recognized for both her philanthropic efforts and her support of the acting community at large.

“I was terrified to be an actor. I didn’t think that I had what it takes to compete with Hollywood,” she shared with Variety before the fundraiser, citing SAG-AFTRA’s role in her pursuit of an acting career. “In my career in the arts, like anybody else, there have been lots of ups and downs. I’ve certainly been one of those actors who has faced unemployment. The foundation has always been there; I feel indebted.”

Washington was presented with the honor by SAG-AFTRA president JoBeth Williams, who preceded her award presentation speech by initiating moments of silence for the Orlando nightclub shooting and the recent passing of former SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard.

“Kerry’s known for playing these strong female characters who stand up for what they believe in, which is not unlike Kerry herself. Her work and her influence stretches far beyond her big and small-screen successes,” Williams said of the actress.

Washington is an advocate for civil rights and public service, earning her an appointment to the president’s committee on the arts and humanities by President Barack Obama in 2009. Her humanitarian achievements have also been acknowledged by an NAACP president’s award and GLAAD Media vanguard award, among other honors.

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