Kerry Washington is determined to achieve empowerment without having to rely on "outside sources".

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

The Hollywood actress has revealed that she considers empowerment to be a deeply personal thing - which she admits is difficult to achieve in the entertainment industry.

Kerry shared: "Honestly, I think about power as more of an internal phenomenon.

"I tend to think about empowerment for myself so that I have the courage and ability to act on the ideologies and priorities that resonate with me."

Kerry, 41, is best known for her acting work but has also delved into producing.

And the Hollywood star - who plays Olivia Pope in the Shonda Rhimes-created drama series 'Scandal' - has revealed that the transition has boosted her own sense of "empowerment".

She told Marie Claire magazine: "I've always wanted to cultivate a sense of empowerment within myself without seeking approval from outside sources, which is hard to do as an actor, which is part of why producing is so important and which is where some of my freedom, or learning, to take that sense of freedom and bring it to a larger audience and larger space has a lot to do with having my employer be a black woman."

Kerry loves working with Shonda, saying she's never felt under any pressure to change in order to conform to a stereotype.

The actress explained that Shonda simply "got" her from the beginning.

She said: "I didn't feel like I had to twist myself into some other understanding of what black womanness is supposed to look like, because Shonda got me, and so I could get closer to my truth ... Just her existence and working with her so intimately changed the idea of what power looked like in this business."