Bellamy Young says her role on 'Scandal' helped silence her self-doubt: Mellie 'taught me to be stronger'

Bellamy Young paid a visit to the BUILD Studio on International Women’s Day 2019 to discuss what . (Photo: Mike Pont).
Bellamy Young paid a visit to the BUILD Studio on International Women’s Day 2019 to discuss what . (Photo: Mike Pont).

What Women Want Now is a program by Yahoo Lifestyle and her sister sites dedicated to creating content about the issues and stories that matter most to women. Read more here. Join the conversation with #WhatWomenWantNow.

Whether it was the record-number of women running for office or the industry-shaking power of the Time’s Up movement, there’s no doubt that 2018 was a game-changing year for women. But what do those who are actively reshaping the landscape actually want for the coming year?

For Bellamy Young, star of ABC’s Scandal and the spokesperson for humanitarian nonprofit CARE, it’s about paying attention to your inner voice. “Whatever your soul is saying — you want to help children in need, animals, climate change, gun control — whatever your heart is saying, your voice and soul matters,” Young says. “We’re all so capable of so much change.”

The 49-year-old stopped by AOL’s Build Studio on Friday as a part of a panel discussion about the results of a HuffPost/Yahoo/CARE survey tackling what women care about most, titled What Women Want Now. The survey covered personal finance, politics and power, revealing how women’s views on everything from racial discrimination to domestic duties are informed by who they are.

In her case, that personal mission is about equipping women and girls worldwide with the tools they need to support themselves and their community. On a recent visit to Rwanda with CARE, Young says she experienced this firsthand, witnessing women learning everything from bee keeping to textiles. “If you empower women they’ll bring up their whole communities with them,” says Young. “That’s what they do. It’s a joy to behold.”

Although when discussing her humanitarian work, Young seems effortlessly confident, she opened up on the Build stage about her own struggles with confidence — which persist to this day. “I have a lot of mean girls in my head,” she said. That’s why playing Mellie Grant, the lead role on Shonda Rhimes’ hit show Scandal, has been transformative.

“Mellie is unburdened by [self doubt],” says Young. “She’s very much my way or the highway. It was inspiring to get to live in those shoes. She’s made me more bold.” In Young’s eyes, she isn’t the only one who has been touched by the character’s moxie. “I‘ll be grateful to Mellie for all of my existence. She taught me to be stronger,” says Young. “She taught a lot of women around the world to be stronger. I was along for the ride and lucky to be the vessel.”

This HuffPost/Yahoo/CARE survey was conducted by telephone Jan. 21-30, 2019, among a random national sample of 1,008 adult women, with 71 percent reached on cell phones and 29 percent on landlines. Results have a 3.6 percentage point error margin for the full sample, including design effects due to weighting. The survey was produced by Langer Research Associates of New York. N.Y., with field work by Issues & Answers of Virginia Beach, Va.