Some actors will tell you how much fun they have on set, but when Darby Stanchfield gushes about the lead of Scandal (Kerry Washington), you can hear the schoolgirl excitement in her voice (and we should know, we felt the same after our October cover story)! As the hit drama returns to City tonight for its third season, we catch up with the Alaska native about her character Abby Whelan’s makeover, her own personal style and the hardcore fans she loves so dearly. Also check out our interview with co-star Guillermo Diaz and Kerry Washington’s scoop on Scandal‘s style. And stay tuned for our Scandal fashion recaps every Friday as we break down the best looks from each episode.
FLARE: What does this season have in store for Abby?
DS: This season is just as crazy, if not crazier than last year. [The scripts] seem to get more insane; I am still reeling from the shock of the last reading. This season you’re going to see a new Abby; she has a little bit of a makeover, but along with that makeover, she changes inside. Abby melts a little bit.
FLARE: Can you tell us more about your makeover?
DS: [Scandal’s costume designer] Lyn Paolo really bumps up the fashion for Abby this year. Abby has always been stylish, but there’s another level brought to her this season. I mentioned that she’s softening a little bit—her hair’s not so stick-straight; you see some loose waves; smokey eyes; and a lot more accessories. The story is that Abby spends more time in front of the mirror and is feeling a little bit better about herself. She found love again; it may be in disarray, but she is beginning to feel alive since leaving her husband.
FLARE: Do you share similar style with your character?
DS: There is not one character I have played on television that aligns perfectly with my personal style, but there are some crossovers with Abby. I am a chameleon when it comes the way I dress. I am constantly changing it up and I really can’t commit to one thing because dressing for the day or for an event is really a mood thing. I like variety and I don’t mean just designers, I mean mixing the high-end garments and the cheaper clothing.
FLARE: Do you have any favorite designers?
DS: I am a bit in love with a new designer George Hobeika; I have worn him a couple of times on the carpet. Ralph Lauren is another one I really have fun with. Abby has a really beautiful moment in a Ralph Lauren garment; it’s a Purple Label Ralph Lauren satin green….I can’t say more but when you see it, you’ll know what I am talking about. I was like, ‘I would like to take this home now, please!’ I love that Lyn puts me in Vince leather jackets, Vince suede leggings, and some really delicious Donna Karan fall coats [this season].
FLARE: You tweeted that Lena Dunham convinced Clare Danes to watch Scandal; have you had other actors tell you they love the show?
DS: They were on E! going on about how much they love Scandal and I was like, ‘That’s so cool!’ Last Year I met Allison Janney at the Emmy’s and it was great because she had seen Scandal and worked with Josh Malina on The West Wing. We commiserated together and had a chuckle [about] how he’s made both of us cry on set. It was fun because I really love her work.
FLARE: Do you enjoy being able to directly interact with the fans on Twitter?
DS: Yes, that’s one of the many rewards and privileges of the show. The fan base on twitter is such an unstoppable force. Five of the top 10 worldwide trends were Scandal-related last year! When I’m not on set, I am at home tweeting with the fans. We all put on our pajamas, get out the red wine or popcorn, watch the show and tweet together; it’s like a big slumber party and is so much fun.
FLARE: What was the craziest Scandal related tweet you’ve seen?
DS: When I went behind Olivia’s back and started to give away information to David Rosen (Joshua Malina), there was a lot of trash talk and I got such a good giggle out of. I had a lot of people tweeting ,”Hey, Red, snitches get stitches!” [It was] one of my favourite trending Twitter phrases for a little while.
FLARE: What’s it like working with Kerry Washington?
DS: We have a blast [on set]. It’s like summer camp and I’m not exaggerating. Kerry Washington is the most fun: she cracks me up! Everyone talks about how drop-dead gorgeous, smart and fashionable she is, and she is all of that, but I must add she’s the hugest goofball. She has the best sense of humor and lightheartedness that makes coming into work everyday so delightful.
FLARE: What is your most scandalous moment?
DS: I honestly can’t tell you; it’s too scandalous. All I can say is it involves a really cute guy and a Catholic church.