The Career Woman and the Princess

Fashioning Black-American Female identity in ‘Scandal’ (2012-17).

  • Rachel Velody
Keywords: Television, Race, Semiotics, Fashion, Identity


Fashioning is critical to explorations of television identities and American melodrama-thriller series Scandal (2012-17) provides opportunities to explore representations of ethnicity together with depictions of interracial romance and intercourse. Utilising semiotics I explore the contribution of costume designer Lyn Paolo to the construction of the Black-American heroine of the series, Olivia Pope, successful career woman and lover of a white, male President. Arguing for the potential of female spectacle and soft-core pornography as progressive I consider Paolo’s influences, suggesting that Olivia’s fashioning transformations illustrate her as dandy-flâneuse, one controlling the visualisation of her identity.

Author Biography

Rachel Velody

Rachel Velody MA in Media Arts (U.SC. 1990), was course leader for the Fashion Media degree programme (part-time) at the London College of Fashion from 2003 to 2016. At present an independent researcher her areas of expertise concern screen genre, identities and semiotics. Representations of the body within British and North American television drama are of special interest. Her doctoral project starts in Autumn 2018 at the University of Bristol and will explore the fashioning of the female detective in contemporary British television crime drama. 

April 30, 2018
How to Cite
Velody, R. (2018). The Career Woman and the Princess: Fashioning Black-American Female identity in ‘Scandal’ (2012-17). Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 11(1), 20-37.