The Real “Olivia Pope” Visits Morgan

Woman Behind ABC's Hit Series Scandal Speaks to Students in USC

smith for appAs Olivia Pope from ABC’s highly anticipated drama would say, “It’s handled. Little secrets always come out.” Well, it was no little secret when word went out that Judy Smith would be coming to Morgan State University. When the Office of Student Activities made her this year’s speaker for the Women’s History Month Lecture, Scandal lovers were absolutely astounded.

“Hands down, Scandal is my favorite show out right now,” said Morgan senior political science major J’Keyah Irby. “I am glued to the screen every single Tuesday night with my ladies to watch it. Olivia Pope is my girl. I couldn’t wait to meet her.”

Smith is the real-life inspiration for the character Olivia Pope, which is played by movie star actress Kerry Washington, on ABC’s new highly anticipated new drama, “Scandal,” which premieres every Thursday 10/9c on ABC.

Morgan State University cancelled classes on Monday due to snow. However, the Office of Student Activities still pushed for the lecture to happen. The event was free to the Morgan community, but a ticket was required for admission.

“Judy Smith is a highly successful African American woman that about 10 months ago the general public did not know,” says Toya G. Corbett, Coordinator for the Office of Student Activities. “Who would’ve thought that a black woman was the pioneer handling all these historic matters behind the scenes? She was the perfect woman for this year’s Women’s History Month Lecture.”

Judy A. Smith is the founder and President of Smith and Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm that helps companies and/or individual clients navigate through a crisis. Smith is perhaps best known for her expertise as a crisis management advisor. She has handled the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles Riots and the memorable President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky.

Smith received a standing ovation from the Morgan community as she entered the Calvin and Tina Tyler Ballroom at precisely 7:15 p.m.

After being introduced to the audience by Corbett, which included a reading of her impressive list of accomplishments, Smith immediately walked off the stage towards the audience in order to have a more intimate dialogue.

Ms. Smith also serves as a consultant for a number of prominent celebrity and entertainment figures such as actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Mike Vick and former Idaho Senator Larry Craig.

She opened her lecture by clearing up the majority’s main suspicion. “First thing, no sex with the president, ever!” said Smith humorously. The entire ballroom roared with laughter and dedicated “Scandal” lovers cheered on the woman behind the show. Smith’s character on Scandal is madly in love with her former boss, United States President Fitzgerald Grant.

“Anytime there’s politics and sex involved, you know for certain there is going to be news,” said Smith. She continued her lecture by telling the audience about the story of her first day with former President H.W. George Bush.

“Growing up in Washington, D.C, I never thought I’ll be working at the White House. You have to be prepared. Once you find something you like, excel in it. It makes the best difference,” she said. Prior to “Scandal, I did not have a website or any business cards. Only way you could reach me was if you called me directly on my phone. I was recommended to the President. We spent the entire day together and didn’t talk about one thing work related. At the end of the day, I was hired.”

After her story, Ms. Smith opened the floor for any questions and comments.

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