07/03/2013 10:43 EDT

Kerry Washington Vanity Fair: Actress Stuns in Sexy White Swimsuit

Kerry Washington is making quite the splash on the cover of Vanity Fair.

The VF August issue features a swimsuit-clad Washington flaunting her fabulous bod in a white one-piece with sexy cutouts. Inside the pages, the 36-year-old actress also bares all (so to speak), opening up about her role as Olivia Pope in the ABC political thriller "Scandal," and the way her character cuts across racial boundaries.

"One of the most profound things for me about the show is the number of white women of all ages who come up to me and say: 'I want to be Olivia Pope,'" she told the magazine.

"The fact that white women can see this woman of colour as an aspirational character is revolutionary, I think, in the medium of television."

Indeed, not only is the Vanity Fair cover super steamy, but it's also a significant milestone for the publication: Washington is the first black woman in six years to score a VF cover (the last black woman to land a cover by herself was Beyoncé in 2005).

Vanity Fair has been criticized in the past for "whitewashing" -- notably in 2010 for the "Young Hollywood" issue that exclusively featured white women -- but Washington's gorgeous cover photo is sure to turn heads at the newsstands this summer for all the right reasons.

Check out the sexy cover and tell us what you think.

Want more Washington? Scroll through the gallery for some of Kerry's best looks.

Photo gallery Kerry Washington's Style Evolution See Gallery