Any compliment on a post-baby body usually translates to “Good job getting your pre-baby body back!” However actress Kerry Washington, who covers SELF Magazine‘s September 2015 issue, isn’t interested in moving backwards after the birth of her daughter Isabelle, now 15 months old. She has no desire to return to whatever her body looked like pre-baby — pre-Isabelle.
“I’ve been really focused on not being ‘back’ to anything, but being the best version of myself right now,” the Emmy-nominated Scandal star tells the magazine. “My body is the site of a miracle now. I don’t want to be pre-miracle.”
In addition to a new way for moms to look at their post-baby progress, she shares what has worked for her, which includes using the Scandal set’s private Pilates studio two to six times a week.
“With Pilates, I get to bring my true self,” says Kerry. “I cry, I laugh. I get to go: Where is my body today? What do I need today? How can I take care of myself and push myself past my comfort zone? How can I be both loving and challenging?”
For her Bjarne Jonasson-lensed cover shoot, Kerry flexes those balancing and stretching skills in custom Scott Stevenson bodysuits (cover) and Nili Lotan dresses selected by stylist Melissa Ventosa Martin.
“I try to [exercise before work] so I can be back with my kid early I have to take care of myself in order to live life the way I want to,” she says. “It’s important to have rest days. But in the long run, if I don’t work out for, like, three days, I feel worse, not better.”
Kerry’s hair is styled by Takisha Sturdivant for Neutrogena Triple Repair, with makeup by Carola Gonzalez for Neutrogena and manicure by Ashlie Johnson for Chanel Le Vernis. See behind the scenes below.