Scandal star Bellamy Young talks about the future of the female presidency


In last night’s Scandal season 6 finale, we watched Melody Margaret Grant sworn in as the first female president and here’s how star Bellamy Young thinks she’ll do.

Since the very beginning, Scandal has always portrayed its female characters as ambitious women. For the most part, their proximity to the president of the United States served as a stepping stone to their own goals. Obviously, this rang especially true for President Fitz’s ex-wife, Mellie Grant.

(Caution: Several spoilers follow for Scandal’s season 6 finale.) 

When we first met Mellie Grant, she was the noisy person in the background who stood between Fitz and his happiness. But just below the surface, a much more tortured protagonist lay in waiting. The more we learned about her, the more it became apparent that Mellie deserved much more than to just be the First Lady.

So over the course of six seasons, we watched her naturally progress from First Lady to divorcee to grieving mother to senator, and of as last night’s season 6 finale, the first female president of the United States.

Of course, the journey took forever and we almost didn’t make it — but Shonda Rhimes closed the penultimate finale with arguably exactly what the audience needed. For Mellie fans, or just for anyone starving for a political win, Mellie’s ascension felt natural.

Though according to The Hollywood Reporter and an interview with Bellamy Young, the star who’s played Mellie for six seasons, it almost didn’t happen. Further, it doesn’t mean everything will be perfect in season 7.

When THR asked, ‘What kind of president will Mellie be?’ Young answered:

"It’s interesting when something you wanted your whole life finally shows up. Who are you anymore without the identity of wanting it? Can you be the person you thought in your dreams you would be? This last chapter of trying to become president was formative for Mellie. She went through hell and had a very naïve notion of being president instead of being the president. Now that it’s a reality, I hope it will ground her in her power. She fluttered above power for years because so much of her opposition was ornamental and not functional. I hope she’ll allow herself to come from a place of truth and, if not integrity, strength and wisdom. But it will be interesting with Olivia having gone so dark to see how much friction there is between the two of them next year."

Last night, we also saw Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope come full circle as well. In between Mellie’s swearing in, we watched Olivia attempt to kill her mother, reinstate B613 and actually kill Mellie’s VP, Luna Vargas.

As Young elaborated:

"A lot changed from the time we started [production on season six] in the summer and when we came back in January [after a break to accommodate Washington’s pregnancy] for episode six. [The writers] had to change a lot of where the rest of the season went. I am not sure that Mellie was meant to be president — and I don’t know if Shonda will ever tell us that. I really wonder though because so much has changed. I feel in my heart it might have been a response to the current situation in the world but I have no way of knowing that for sure."

While it remains unclear whether this was Shonda Rhimes’ plan from the beginning, we do know that season 7 put Mellie and Olivia in new positions that we’ve never seen them in before. It feels like they ended up where Scandal always intended them to be. But the journey changed them.

Which makes the anticipation for Scandal’s seventh and final season all the more exciting.

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Scandal returns to ABC later this year with President Mellie Grant leading the way for its final season.