updated 09/03/2015 AT 7:49 PM ET
•originally published 08/24/2014 AT 3:50 PM ET
PEOPLE spoke to the Scandal star about her second consecutive nomination for playing the feisty political fixer on the ABC drama.
Does it feel any different the second time around?
Maybe, I don’t have as much anxiety the second time around. Sometimes when you do things for the first time, you’re more anxious, because it’s the first time, so I think maybe I’m not as anxious as last year, although I don’t remember being very anxious last year either. I think it’s a bit more surreal, because I can’t believe it’s happened two years in a row. It’s such an honor.
How are you feeling about your chances?
I really make it a focus of mine to not get caught up in winning. To be nominated is such an extraordinary opportunity in itself, and I think every woman who was nominated deserves to win. So I really don’t go in with any expectations, or trying to logic out the odds. I feel like that’s really none of my business.
If you should win, you would become the first African-American actress to triumph in outstanding lead actress in a drama category. How does that feel?
It’s sort of similar to when our show first aired. People would say, ‘Oh, do you feel a lot of responsibility for the show to succeed?’ I just don’t think that it’s about me. I think similarly, with the Emmys, I don’t have a responsibility to I’m not every Emmy voter, you know? It’s none of my business whether I win.
Do you like preparing speeches?
I remember last year, maybe the day before or something, I thought, ‘Well, just in case, I guess I should think about what I would say.’ But you know, there have been times for different award situations where I have prepared and times I haven’t, so I don’t know. I don’t think I’m consistent in that area.
What are you looking forward to at the Emmys?
The hosts are always fun. It’s fun to see friends. We’re all so busy that a lot of times, these award shows are the time when you get to see people that you really adore. I love Mindy Kaling so much, but I feel like the only time we get to hang out is at award shows.
Between the two nominations, your marriage to Nnamdi Asomugha and the birth of your daughter Isabelle, it has been an incredible year for you.
I feel really blessed. I know how extraordinary my life is right now, and how the opportunities I have are, so I’m very, very, very grateful.