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.