"Scandal" star Kerry Washington became the fifth African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series on Thursday.
Access Hollywood caught up with Kerry on the set of the Shonda Rhimes hit to get the details on her reaction to the honor - including where she was when she learned she'd been nominated.
"I actually was in an airport and Michelle, my publicist and friend, called me to tell me," Kerry told Access' Shaun Robinson on Thursday. "I didn't want to cause a stir so I was like, 'Uh huh, uh huh - yeah, no, I hear you.' I was trying to pretend that everything was normal!
"The best acting I've ever done in my life was this morning at the airport," she added, laughing.
Though many critics were shocked when Kerry, 36, did not receive an Emmy nomination last year for her incredible performance as crisis manager Olivia Pope, the actress said she wasn't expecting a nom this year.
"I don't think you can assume this kind of stuff or take it for granted," she explained, when asked if she had a feeling her name would be read at the nomination announcements Thursday morning. "I'm not a person who's ever at a loss for words, but I feel so honored and grateful and humbled by the news. Just kind of floored."
Kerry, who recently wed NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha in a secret ceremony in June (and is notoriously private about her personal life), coyly admitted she called a "handful" of "important people" to share the happy news this morning, but said she couldn't wait to celebrate with her "Scandal" co-stars.
"I'm grateful to the cast too. I feel like we are all a reflection of each other's talent," she said. "When you're doing 22 episodes, you have to lean to each other for support and I'm so dependent on the talent around me."
Adding, "We have a table read today, so I get to celebrate with everybody and share this with everybody - this [nomination] really belongs to our entire cast."
As for the fact that she's only the fifth African-American actress to be nominated in the category (others before her include Cicely Tyson, Alfre Woodard, Debbie Allen and Regina Taylor) - and, if she wins she would be the first black actress to do so - Kerry said she can hardly wrap her head around the news.
"It's unbelievable. When I think about the other African-American women who have been nominated, I'm so awed that I get to be historically in a category with them," she said. "These are women who I respect and admire and adore and look to. I'm thrilled I even get to be mentioned in the same sentence as them."
"Scandal" will return with its Season 3 premiere on October 3 at 10 PM on ABC.
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