If Darby Stanchfield looks familiar it could be from a number of places. The actress has had roles on NCIS, Mad Men and General Hospital, among several other network hits. But you might know her best from her role as Sienna, Michelle Paradise‘s cheating ex-girlfriend on Logo’s Exes & Ohs who just wouldn’t go away.
Stanchfield now has a starring role in Shonda Rhimes‘ Scandal, a new series based in Washington, D.C.’s world of politics. But she still looks back fondly on her time spent on Exes & Ohs, and wishes it were still on air.
“Michelle Paradise is lovely,” Darby said of the show’s creator and star. “I think she is such a wonderfully unique individual, I love her storytelling. I recall that I tested for one of the regulars at the time and although they went a different direction, they invited me back as their guest lead and it evolved into me being the main ex. I adore [Michelle's] comedic timing and she’s such a great person all around. All the girls were great. It was really fun. I love playing a bitch!”
There’s a little bit of a bitch in Darby’s Scandal character, too, but mostly she just speaks her mind.
“I think lesbians will like that I’m a very outspoken, strong woman [on the show],” she said. “My character Abby doesn’t pull any punches. If there is a pink elephant floating in the room, I am the first and probably only one to say ‘Guys, there’s a pink elephant.’ And a couple of other people in the office will be like ‘Abby, Abby stop!’ Sometimes what I do can border on inappropriate but it purely comes from a place of a woman who is very comfortable with herself and all of her experiences which you’ll find out some of Abby’s backstory when you tune in leading up why she is who she is. She’s a deliciously strong woman who loves her job and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Women, lesbians — we can all really find inspiration out of Shonda’s storytelling.”
Darby says she’s a huge fan of Shonda’s other shows (Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice) and how Rhimes has a talent for creating three-dimensional characters.
“I love the fact they’re not simply good or bad; they’re human,” she said. “That they’re actually modeled after real life people. All of us have secrets, all of us have contradictions. It’s so refreshing.”
As Abby, Darby butts heads with Kerry Washington‘s character, Olivia Pope, who tries to mediate and fix issues within the world of D.C.’s corporate, political and public figures. This means they get to share some fun scenes together.
“Kerry is a gem to work with,” Darby said of her co-star. “There’s one particular episode — it’s the fourth episode of the series — in which she and I have some things to kind of address and work out and it was so fun because we built this trusting relationship with each other and we totally went for it in terms of the storytelling. We could completely go nuts and not hold back and the other one was there to catch the other. She and I both saw it and we were both very happy.”
Scandal premieres April 5 on ABC.