When Javicia Leslie joined our Zoom call, she dialed in from her Los Angeles home. Over the past two years, it's been a rarity for the actress to be able to bask in the comforts of her abode. In 2020, she snagged the role of a lifetime as the iconic hero Batwoman in the CW series of the same name. For the past two seasons, she's migrated from her familiar L.A. surroundings to Vancouver to film for months on end. Now that she's done shooting and can regroup at home, Leslie has had a chance to reflect on everything she's accomplished over the past few years. Just six years ago, she landed her first major role in the 2016 Lifetime film Swim at Your Own Risk. Now, she's made history as the first Black woman to play Batwoman.
After working on the show for two years, Leslie has naturally experienced immense professional growth. However, it's her personal evolution she's most grateful for. Ahead, Leslie opens up about her self-development journey, prioritizing self-care, and the skincare products she always uses while filming.
Growing up, did you always want to be an actress?
I've always wanted to be a performer. I used to put on shows for my family, so I knew I would find a way to entertain people. However, my interest in acting started to form in middle school. I auditioned for a performing arts school, and I didn't get in, but I knew I still enjoyed acting. When I got to high school, I started doing plays. I also did plays during and after college. Then, after college, I moved to LA and pursued acting.
In 2020, the world found out you were the next Batwoman. When you think about the journey you've been on over the last two years, what are some of the emotions that come up for you?
It's been a beautiful journey. Along with becoming Batwoman, I've continued growing as a young woman. I moved away from everyone to shoot Batwoman. By being independent, I started to find myself and grew more into my spirituality. Now that I'm on the other side of two seasons, I feel so much stronger spiritually. I feel so much more comfortable with being by myself. I also feel proud of our cast and crew for completing two seasons during a pandemic. Being able to interact with the fans and know our show has impacted them has also been an honor.
Do you have a favorite memory from the past two seasons?
When I think of my favorite memory, it would be the first time I put on the suit. I also often reflect on how it felt to walk into the Batcave, knowing no other person of color had worn the Batsuit in the Batcave. I grew up watching Batwoman, and now I'm a part of this epic franchise. It has been such an honor.
The second half of the third season has started airing. What can viewers expect?
I'm known as the spoiler queen. People can expect more Batvillains that we are coming face to face with during the second half of the season. This entire season was based on the Bat trophies being lost in the river last year. And now ordinary citizens can be Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, and Professor Pig. So, I'm trying to clean up the city from a mistake I made in trying to protect the city against Searcy. Also, Batwoman's family dynamic comes in. There's this crazy battle between Marcus and me, and he's become like my Joker. The second half of the season is when stuff hits the fan. I cannot wait to watch all of this play out. I know it will be an epic second half of the season.
Do you have any advice for other young women, especially Black women, looking to break into the industry?
Make sure you take care of yourself first because you can’t be something to others if you're nothing to yourself. A lot of the work I have been doing for my growth has been done in the mornings. Once the sun comes up and everybody else wakes up, they're going to want things from you. You've got to find uninterrupted time in your day where you can dial in with whatever your spirituality is, journal, or drink a cup of water. Doing that gives you the strength to be a superhero or whatever you plan on being that day. It's essential for young artists, specifically young Black female artists, to find time for themselves. This world is tough on us, and we carry a lot on our shoulders.
Let's switch gears and talk about beauty. You showcase the beautiful versatility of Black hair on your Instagram. Have you always expressed yourself through your hair?
Yes, I'm that Black girl that has always been into hair. I used to work in a hair salon as the wash girl. When I went to Hampton University, I used to do hair there. I'd braid hair or give the girls a nice silk press. Hair has always been a part of my life and I like to wear different styles to reflect my versatility. I get that from my mom because she is constantly changing her hair. Being a hair chameleon is one of our superpowers as Black women.
What are some of your go-to hair products?
On the set of Batwoman, what are your must-have beauty products?
I had an allergic reaction during both seasons because we tried to turn my hair black with hair dye. I'm actually allergic to hair dye. So, it got to a point where I had to go back to the basics [to calm my skin]. One of my basics is witch hazel. I love witch hazel because it is a natural toner. I'm also a huge Dr. Bronner's fan. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap as a body wash and facial cleanser. It has helped keep my skin clear through the many makeup looks we do every day. I've also been using Laneige Night Cream. It smells so good and makes my skin feel soft.
When you do get some time off, how do you plan to spend it?
I bought my place two years ago, and I didn't get a chance to decorate it. As soon as I moved in, I moved to Vancouver for the show. During the first season, we weren't even allowed to leave Vancouver. During the second season, I got so busy I didn't have the opportunity to leave. So, I haven't had a chance to decorate my home. I plan to use my hiatus from the show to turn my house into a home. I also have some monthly goals that I am tapping into, like learning to play the piano. I'm also writing a book and plan to set a goal to get something done with my book every day. I also have a dog that I love so much, so I'll spend time with my dog and take them on hikes with me.