Bellamy Young reveals how Trump’s presidency changed the arc of Scandal

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Donald Trump’s election shook up the hit television show Scandal, so much so that the series added an extra season, according to actress Bellamy Young.

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On the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast, Young – who played Mellie Grant, the Republican president of the United States in the show’s final season – said the surprise outcome of the 2016 election had a major effect on the popular ABC drama.

Had Hillary Clinton been sitting in the Oval Office, “we would have ended a year sooner,” the actress said of the show, which topped off its final season in the spring of this year. With Trump in the White House currently, “we definitely got an extra year.”

Young explained how the cast of the political TV series quizzed creator Shonda Rhimes about how she decided on writing a seventh season of the show.

“We asked Shonda [Rhimes] at the beginning of last season, in sort of our back-to-school dinner, ‘Is it going to end the way you thought it was?’” Young explained. “And she said, ‘No, I thought it was going to end with [Mellie Grant’s] inauguration, but then the world changed, and I thought, oh, I’ve got a couple more stories to tell.’”

Young, who backed Clinton in the 2016 race and even stumped for the Democratic candidate on the campaign trail, discussed her own political involvement on the podcast.

“I have always felt that democracy is a verb and something we all have to show up for,” she said. “But, I am conflict-averse; I am just not a fighting human, and so speaking about politics had always made me very, very nervous. But there has never been a greater time to really meditate through the nerves and show up for the conversations about equality and inclusion.”

When asked about the criticism some Hollywood stars have faced for their public political posturing – like, in recent weeks, Kanye West’s proclaimed affinity for Trump – Young defended celebrities.

“We’re all just people, and I hope everybody raises their voice,” she said. “I want to have a conversation; I don’t want to do a monologue. I’m not trying to force my views on anybody; I want us all to care enough to work together to move this country in a direction that we all agree on and are all really proud of.

As for Scandal’s own tackling of politically charged issues – including episodes that centered around police-involved shootings or the defunding of Planned Parenthood – Young counts it as a point of pride.

“I was always proud that we were saying what people were saying at home,” the actress said. “And I was always proud that Shonda was moving stuff forward.”

To hear more from Bellamy Young about her acting career, her political involvement and what she learned from her seven season stint on Scandal, listen to the full podcast here. Women Rule takes listeners backstage with female bosses for real talk on how they made it and what advice they have for women looking to lead.



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Pravin Auti Author