Actress Kerry Washington made a conscious decision to become a fashionista after realising she could boost her Hollywood career by stepping out in the latest styles.

The Django Unchained star admits she was once clueless about clothes and couture, so she turned to the help of a stylist in order to look her best on the red carpet - and bag more film roles.

She tells America's Glamour magazine, "It started out as, like, Good-Student Kerry. Ok, I'm going to admit this: There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand career wise-because they knew how to work that red carpet. I was like, 'I'm missing a really important tool. If I am the Ceo of the Kerry Washington Corporation, my marketing department is really lax.' So I sort of developed a new character: Red-Carpet Kerry.

"And I researched her like any other character. I actually called (actress) Tracee Ellis Ross, who's a good friend, and literally asked, 'How do you pronounce (French retailer) Hermes?' Red-Carpet Kerry needed to know."

Washington's hard work paid off - she landed the top spot on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List in July (13).