As the Emmys draw near, we make our case for Scandal's savvy, sassy leading lady, played by Kerry Washington

By Anya Leon
Updated September 13, 2013 06:40 PM

Even if you’ve never watched Scandal, we bet you’ve heard the buzz about tough-talking crisis manager Olivia Pope (played by the fabulous Kerry Washington), who’s proven herself to be the cornerstone of the nation’s capital.

But behind Olivia’s no-nonsense persona is a classy woman who can capture even the coldest hearts in D.C. – all the while managing to look like she’s come straight from a fashion photo shoot.

So why are people so obsessed? We could go on and on, but here are eight reasons we love her – and why we’ll be rooting for Kerry on Emmy night:

1. Her signature strut.
Whether she’s storming into her company meeting room or bursting into the Oval Office, if she’s doing the walk (hair blowing behind her, big steps, fast pace, you get the point) – watch out! She’s ready to take on the world and not letting anyone stand in her way.

2. She’s a gladiator – with a heart of gold.
Olivia will never back down without a fight; battling bigwigs is all in a day’s work. But the same woman who deals with murders, adultery and government cover-ups on a daily basis also has a softer side. After all, she helped a homeless vet, saved a friend from an abusive husband and gifted another pal with a new identity.

3. She inspired Vera Wang to add elbow-length gloves to her collection.
From presidential balls to date nights on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, Olivia’s elegant ensembles aren’t complete without a pair of classic gloves that extend to her elbows. Designer Vera Wang took notice, and when she took Washington to the 2013 Met Ball, she was sure to add black gloves to the star’s floral gown.

4. She can clean up a crime scene in record timing – wearing white.
Walking into a room to find a guy lying in a pool of blood? Not a problem! (Well, it is a problem, but, you know ) Olivia – with help from her crew – can swiftly wipe a crime scene clean without staining any of her favorite beige or white designer pieces. Impressive, lady!

5. She wears the pants – literally.
No, we’re not talking about her relationships – that’s a whole other issue. But when it comes to her impeccable style, Olivia skips the skirts (she saves those for flashbacks) and pulls out one of her timeless pantsuits. We’d say she’s singlehandedly brought a whole new level of sexy to this look, which has since taken over Hollywood.

6. Her friends are her family.
For the most part, her pals Abby, Harrison, Huck and Quinn are all she’s got, and she’s fiercely loyal to them. Sure, she may have left them in the dark when it came to her love affair, but Olivia has always been willing to take one for the team – or call in a last-minute favor to a Supreme Court justice (must be nice!).

7. She has most of Congress on speed dial – and vice versa.
Olivia is a force to be reckoned with – and we’re not the only ones who think so. From a potential politician hiding a long-term affair with his sister-in-law to disgruntled opponents risking it all for White House access, when Congressmen have a problem, Pope is their solution.

8. Her famous fast-talking speeches can shut anyone down in seconds – even (and often) the President.
Oh yes: With her arms folded and her perfectly glossed nude lips pursed, she can silence (and outsmart) the best of them with her quick thinking and excellent intuition.

Once she’s delivered her lines (ie., “I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me! Until then, we are done.”) D.C.’s ultimate problem-solver won’t wait around for a presidential pardon – she takes no issue telling it like it is. And that’s what makes her so awesome.