Here's How Much Money Scandal's Olivia Pope Would Have Made In Real Life

We know her, we love her, and we wish we could be her. ABC's hit show, Scandal, introduced us to Olivia Pope, a powerhouse of talent, power, and courage. She wears all white, takes care of business, and settles tough and often ridiculous situations. Watching the show leaves us wondering: "Is this a real job? If so, who in their right mind is doing it?"

Unbeknownst to many people, yes, in fact, Olivia Pope is based on a real-life person. That's right, the force of a character is inspired by Judy Smith, a crisis manager, lawyer, author, and television producer (whose favorite color just happens to be white). The seven-year-long series was full of drama, zero sleep, intense affairs, murder, and corrupt politics. Although not all of it is true, Smith's life was indeed the inspiration behind the hit show. 

So, how much would the real Olivia Pope (aka Judy Smith) make doing a job like this for such high profile clients?

The real Olivia Pope had a lot to do with the making of the show

When Shonda Rhimes was an intern at a law firm in Washington D.C., she met with Smith for a quick chat. Within 15 minutes, Rhimes said, "I must do a show about your life." Smith worked as the deputy press secretary in the White House for President George H. W. Bush, and after leaving the White House, she became what she is today — helping high profile clients get out of scandals (via ABC). 

Smith collaborated with Rhimes on the show and the two sent back and forth ideas. Rhimes would write the script and ask Smith how she would react in each situation her character would face on the screen (via Washington Post). Smith also notes that Rhimes told her that she was going to create a character who was involved with a president. Although Smith did remain close with Bush over the years, she never had an affair like the one featured in Scandal. "I said, 'With the president?' Well as any good crisis manager would have it, I had to quickly call President Bush to help frame the message, to help form the narrative, before he heard it from anybody else," she says. 

The former President had a good sense of humor when hearing about the role in the show. "His response? 'I'm going to confirm the affair.' I said, 'What affair? There was no affair.' He said ... 'I have young people working in my office now. They said I need to stay relevant, that it's good for my reputation.' I'm like, 'What reputation? You're almost 90. What are you talking about?'" (via Hollywood Reporter). 

Despite the craziness, Smith is passionate about what she does

Smith told Boston University, "What I love about this job is it's unpredictable and I never get bored. At 9 a.m. we're dealing with a hostile takeover; at 11 it's a CEO about to get fired; at 11:45 it's a celebrity in crisis — and that's all before lunch." 

The powerful lawyer has 30 years of experience in her field of fixing big disasters, and she hides the stories we aren't meant to hear (via Fast Company). Just like Olivia Pope, Smith promises her clients full discretion, as they are powerful people. The Washington native works 24/7, just like the character Olivia Pope (via WGN). Scandal's character is notoriously terrible at having relationships, friendships, or any real time to herself. With little free time to spare, and a whole lot of work to do, a person like that has to be making a huge lump sum. 

The real Olivia Pope's net worth is probably a higher than the Scandal character

The real Olivia Pope, Judy Smith, has a net worth is somewhere between $1 to $5 million, and this shows her worth has increased as of late — in 2018, her net worth was around $100,000 to $1 million (via Trend Celeb Snow). It's likely that Olivia Pope would be making less than the real version of herself, simply because Smith does so much

The iconic fixer on the small screen would definitely be making a big chunk of change, to be sure, but the real crisis manager is bringing in the big money. Representing people like Monica Lewinsky, Paula Deen, Jesse Jackson Jr., Wesley Snipes, and so many more, she has built quite a name for herself (via CNN). 

And just like Pope, Smith can be found late at night picking up phone calls from politicians, athletes, and celebrities who are on the brink of disaster, with their crimes, mishaps, and drama exposed. And once again, just like Pope, Smith saves them.