So, we don’t want to be politically incorrect in any way, shape or form – really we don’t. But, we have to say, as ABC’s Scandal goes, The First Lady is…how shall we say this tactfully? Smokin’!
We’re the first to admit, we weren’t sure what to expect when going into our photo shoot with Bellamy Young, who plays the buttoned up First Lady Mellie Grant on Scandal. A part of us was expecting a highly intimidating woman in a Chanel pantsuit, another part was hoping she was as delightful of a surprise as Crossroads, the restaurant she chose and a vegan spot that manages to be both ultra-cool and healthy at the same time. Well, we’ve gotta say, she was a complete surprise. The absolutely beautiful Bellamy Young actually had us questioning (Just for a second! Scandal fans please don’t send us hate notes…) the Fitz/Olivia Pope relationship.
Possibly one of the sweetest, funniest women we’ve met, Bellamy Young is also a stunner. Seriously, we’re already planning to pitch Shonda Rhimes a romantic spinoff for her as we write this intro. Anyway, we’ve gotten away from the interview, which includes all the lifestyle tidbits you’re going to want to know about Bellamy Young. Yeah, that’s right, we had lunch with the First Lady…God, that never gets old.
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
If I could teleport, my dream food day would be to wake up at my house to a giant green smoothie (aloe, hemp milk, chia, chlorophyll, Udo’s, Vega protein powder) and some oatmeal. I’d work for a little while, then have lunch on a coastal farm in New Zealand, chatting with the owners about what delicious things are in my salad and how their mom made my bread from a generations old family recipe. Then I’d run a few errands and have dinner in Florence, Italy under the stars with a bunch of friends and a bunch of wine.
What’s different about playing the First Lady on Scandal from other parts you’ve played?
I’ve been lucky to play a lot of different types of parts, but I’ve never before been lucky enough to get to play them all at once! Mellie is so empowered and so flawed – so lovable and so loathable. It is an honor and pure joy to get to play such a beautifully written, fully realized character.
Do you live tweet during the show? Who from the cast/crew got you into Twitter?
Absolutely I do! And I love it! I am the biggest luddite, so it took some acclimating, but now I just adore getting to talk to people and hear how the show is affecting them. It’s like when you’re doing a play and you can feel the energy from the audience. Making art of any kind is an exchange of energies; it’s amazing to live in a time when this immediate yet virtual interaction can take place. This was all Kerry’s brainchild. She was way ahead of the curve – as always. And forging our Twitter family gave us our second season, without a doubt. Our gladiators are MIGHTY and TALENTED! I remain in awe when they share the art they make in response to the episodes. It is astonishing to be able to have that experience instantaneously. All of the sudden, the world seems so small.
How do you think the cast tweets affect the show’s momentum?
I think it has redefined must-see TV. People expect an interactive experience now, in any medium, and TV hadn’t quite caught up to that evolution. Our Thursday nights with our Gladiator family is something we as a cast all look forward to and it feels mutual. We create a communal experience that elevates already amazing content (but then, I’m prejudiced). It also addresses the new paradigm of binge watching an entire season over a long weekend. We meet up and go through something incredible together every week. It gives it a larger life of its own.
If there were certain Los Angeles spots Mellie would be sure to be found in, what would they be?
In playing the part of the First lady, where do you draw inspiration? Do you look into past First Ladies?
I do! It’s been a big perk of the job to better my knowledge of First Ladies a bit (since our historical inclination is to focus on learning about the President instead), but I have to admit that our scripts come to us so gorgeously crafted that it’s sort of all there on the page. I see my acting coach as often as I can, and I try to play the deep human truth of any situation Mellie finds herself in. I add tiny little details when and as I’m able, but truly, I get such lovely material. I just try not to mess it up.
What’s the most shocking discovery you’ve made in all your time of playing that part?
That the enduring subtitle for the office of the First Lady is “The Nation’s Hostess.”
What are some of your favorite Los Angeles food spots when shooting Scandal?
We order a lot of Café Gratitude, M Café, Tender Greens, and Veggie Grill for on set lunches. After work, it’s nice to meet friends. I’m an east side girl, so I tend to go to Sage in Echo Park, Baco Mercat, or Shojin downtown. If it’s a special night, you’ll find me at Crossroads.