Do you know any Aquarius folks? Supposedly this zodiac sign is defined by their honest, intelligent and imaginative natures — and this description pretty much nails Aquarian Kerry Washington, whose birthday falls on January 31. As an actor, Washington is most well-known for her role in Scandal. But as a mother of three (two biological and one stepchild), she’s perhaps best known for speaking candidly about keeping her kids off of social media.
“These are their lives,” she told InStyle for her March 2020 cover story. “But it’s not about pulling a Rapunzel and hiding them away in a castle from the world — we don’t want to do that.” Still, Washington told the publication that she is “really, really vigilant” about keeping her kids out of the spotlight. “I think any parent would want to keep kids from a situation that causes them to feel scared. I don’t want them to be exploited, particularly in this social media world.”
With 5.5 million Instagram followers, Washington uses her influence not to show cute kid pics, but rather to teach her followers — and her children — about the world, her work, and prevalent injustices. And even though her kids are nowhere to be found on Instagram, Washington sends subtle messages about her family through her posts about love, life, and empowerment. Her daughter Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha is five, her son Caleb Kelechi Asomugha is only three, and her stepdaughter (whose name has not been made public) is 12, which means they’re not on social media themselves. Still, if Instagram is a reflection of her real life, then Washington’s posts serve as a fair representation of what she’s like as a mom. Let’s take a look at some of Kerry’s best family moments, as captured on Instagram.
Taking her daughter to Disney
Taking your kid to Disneyland is basically a celebrity parent rite of passage. Isabella was only a few months old when she accompanied her mom and dad to the World of Color show at Disney California Adventure. Gotta start them young!
Watching Game of Thrones…with her kids?!
Kerry posted a boomerang of herself in April 2019 wearing a “Mother of Dragons” T-shirt in honor of Game of Thrones’ season finale. “If you’re wondering why my kids have been roaring all day… @gameofthrones,” she captioned. By inference, this means that her kids might’ve caught a glimpse of the much-anticipated episode filled with roaring dragons. She’s not just a regular mom, she’s a cool mom.
Showing off that kid-friendly dream home
OK, so aside from the white couches, this home is the perfect space for kids to play and enjoy time with their friends and family. Washington’s “NYC Nest,” as she calls it, features her children’s drawings on the kitchen walls and colored paper hearts on the windows. “This is a favorite activity of my kids. They get to enjoy the view and spin around,” she says, demonstrating in a swivel chair that overlooks Manhattan’s beautiful skyline. Goals much?
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#FBF I'm soooooo excited to share my NYC nest with you all. I am truly grateful for the experience of working with #RestorationHardware and the #RHInteriorDesign team to create a gorgeous, but family friendly space for us to live in during the run of #AmericanSonPlay on Broadway. And it’s featured in this month in @archdigest. Can't wait for you to see it! Link in bio.
Sharing how voting affects children
She’s friends with the Obamas (exhibit A, this photo of her and the former First Lady walking the hallways of an elementary school) and like them has made it very clear that she supports children’s rights. She showed her followers how exercising our right to vote can help children. She also publicly condemned the family detention camps and has made it her mission in life to help fund low-income children’s educations.
Empowering kids through art
Kerry is very involved in a program called Turn Around Arts that works statewide to empower and transform schoolchildren through the arts. “Last week we took our annual @turnaroundartsca trip with the students of #WarrenLane to see the #HotChocolateNutcracker. I look forward to this every year! So much fun,” she posted in 2017. If she’s showing these kids that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to, we can only imagine the inspiring values she instills in her own children.
Reading to her kids
In 2017, Kerry posted a photo of Eric Carle’s iconic book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which she called “a family fave.” She hashtagged #TheMagicofStorytelling, a campaign formed by Disney and ABC to donate one million books to low-income children. One book is donated for every “shelfie,” a selfie photo taken with a favorite book or in front of a bookshelf. Most parents know by now that reading aloud to your child can stimulate their imagination, strengthen their vocabulary, and curb their difficulties with attention.
Dog-momming with the best of them
Because she’s constantly posting photos of her dog, it’s led some of Kerry’s followers to mom-shame her stance on eschewing posting her kids on social media. “Where the hell is her damn kids! She has two [sic] now, she always shows this damn dog, where’s your kids aren’t you a proud mother? Or just a proud dog owner?” one follower commented in 2017 when she was at the Golden Globes. Others, though, love the fact that she’s a “crazy dog mom” like them. Plus, according to a study published in 2018, children who feel close to their dogs are also more securely attached to their parents and have better bonds with their best friends. Sound like Kerry’s landed a win-win tactic here.
Supporting President Obama’s initiative for clean diapers
Not everyone has access to clean diapers, which is why one of Barack Obama’s final priorities as president was to team up with Baby2Baby to provide children living in poverty basic necessities that they deserve. Washington posted a picture of (most probably) a few-months-old Caleb laying down on a Baby2Baby blanket: “I proudly stand with the @WhiteHouse and @baby2baby so that your fight continues for every family to have access to clean diapers. #diapergap,” she captioned. Seeing as this is seemingly the only visual evidence of Washington’s kids on the internet, we think she picked a prime moment to break her usual kid-pics ban.
A version of this story was originally published January 30, 2020.