When Khandi Alexander landed the role of Olivia Pope’s mother in ABC’s hit drama “Scandal,” the news was so confidential that she couldn’t tell her manager, agent or boyfriend!
The seasoned actress caught up with E! News to spill all the details about Maya, more affectionally known as Mama Pope, the character gladiators thought died in a plane crash more than a decade ago. While Alexander said she was excited the land the role of a lifetime, she confessed disappointment that her wardrobe didn’t insist of designer coats like Kerry Washington’s.
“The executive producer, Mark Wilding, called me and offered me the part. And he said, ‘The only thing I can tell you is that you’re Mama Pope and you can’t tell anybody anything. Do you want it or don’t you? Is it a yes or a no?’ I said, ‘I’m in and I won’t say anything.’ And I didn’t tell anyone,” she said about the phone call the changed her life. “I didn’t tell my agent, my manager, my boyfriend. I didn’t tell anybody and I didn’t know anything…They knew I was doing the show but they didn’t know anything about what I was playing.”
When it comes to Olivia’s affair with President Grant, Alexander said she switched over to team Mellie after joining the cast.
“I was deeply invested in the love triangle and I wanted her to be with Fitz,” she said, but “after the Mellie revelation [that Fitz's father raped her], that was more powerful to me than shooting down the plane, because now that I know her backstory and what she sacrificed… It’s like, she can’t be with him.”
“And aside from that, I love Scott Foley,” she said of the actor who plays Jake Ballard, Olivia’s other boo thing. “I have always loved Scott Foley. I mean excuse me if I had the choice, hello! I mean, what’s the problem here?! Either or! Absolutely I’d take Scott Foley. And Tony, I’d take that, too.”
She went on to say her character got the short end of stick when it comes to fashion. “I had visions of Chanel in my head! And I showed up and she said, ‘OK, so what size jumpsuit do you want?’ And I said, ‘Wait, what? Excuse me?’ Because I had no idea what I was doing,” she revealed. “I said, ‘No one’s told me anything! Is it a 70′s flashback?’ She said, ‘Nope, you’re gonna be in grey. What size do you want? Do you want to eat in this jumpsuit? I can give you a large.’”
Tell us how you think Khandi Alexander is doing on the show so far, and be sure to check out what happens when Olivia finds out her mother is alive on the next episode of “Scandal,” airing Thursday, December 5th.