Judy Smith is a crisis manager known as the "real-life Olivia Pope." She is the inspiration for which popular show by Shonda Rhimes?

And the answer: Scandal.      
Photo credit: roanokecollege

Scandal was created by Shonda Rhimes and starred Kerry Washington, with Judy Smith serving as co-executive producer. The inspiration for Scandal’s Olivia Pope, Smith was a White House aide during George H.W. Bush’s administration, before starting her own crisis management firm.

In 1991, long before television series such as Scandal were even an idea in Shonda Rhimes' mind, Judy Smith became the first Black woman to deliver a White House press briefing. Although she wasn't a household name during her time in the first Bush administration, Smith's subsequent work as a crisis communications expert was fictionalized in Scandal, putting her life and career in the spotlight. Yet Smith's reputation as a hard, honest worker only blossomed.

Since leaving the White House, Smith has become the founder, president, and CEO of the crisis management firm Smith & Company, a company that has taken on many high-profile clients such as Monica Lewinsky and Angelina Jolie, to name a few.

Smith's adapted character on Scandal involves a love tryst with the President, which Smith has described to be a topic of joking conversation between her and former President Bush. Smith describes in an interview with People Magazine:

"I remember he left a message on the cell phone because he's always a joker. It was like, 'I love you. I want you. You left me. By the way, I'm the former leader of the free world. Call me.' I called him up. I said, 'See, this is why I'm calling you now. Let's stop joking about this stuff.' And so I told him what the storyline was going to be, and he said, 'Oh, yeah. No, yeah. I remember that.' I said, 'No, there's nothing! There's no relationship. Don't even be joking that any of that stuff is true!'"

Jokes side, Smith was an executive producer on the Shonda Rhimes production, and remains a friend of the former President. Learn more about Judy Smith here.

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