Press Archives - Javicia Leslie Archives


The CW has released the press release for the season two finale of Batwoman, entitled Power and airing on June 27, 2021! Check out the full synopsis below, courtesy of

“Power” – (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) (TV-14, LV) (HDTV)

SEASON FINALE – In the Batwoman season finale, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) questions her place as the city’s hero as she, Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) and Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) must join forces when Black Mask (guest star Peter Outerbridge) instigates chaos in the Gotham streets. Meanwhile, Alice’s attempt to rescue her sister means another encounter with Circe (guest star Wallis Day). In an epic standoff, unexpected alliances and transformations will upend Gotham as we know it. Holly Dale directed the episode written by Caroline Dries (#218). Original airdate 6/27/21.

21Ninety did an awesome exclusive interview with Javicia Leslie on May 19 that you can check out at their website. I’ve also attached it below for posterity.

It’s safe to say that the imaginary world of superheroes is becoming more and more diverse as the industry starts to catch up to the reality of society. Films like Black Panther and the presence of actors like Ray Fisher, Teyonah Parris, and Adepero Oduye in the Marvel and DC universes are exciting proof of a change that is a long time coming. So, when the CW announced that actress Javicia Leslie would be donning the suit of one of the most cherished comic book characters in history as Batwoman, the pride and excitement were hard to contain. Not only did she become the first Black woman to wear the suit, but she also continued the tradition of having a queer actor step into the role originated by Ruby Rose in 2019.

Though many came to know her the moment the casting was announced, Javicia has climbed the ladder of success one rung at a time. From serving tables to working her way up to leading lady status through a string of guest star roles, she is the true representation of what hard work, perseverance, and unmatched passion can do for you. There is nothing overnight about her success; all of it has been earned.

Iman N. Milner: Who is Javicia Leslie?

Javicia Leslie: Javicia is Jackie’s daughter; that’s a huge part of me. A single mom prior soldier who raised me to be a version of a person who will take care of her family, no matter what. I’m very influenced by where I am. Being from Prince George’s County, an all-black county, really does influence my perspective of how our people are seen in the world. I didn’t come from a place where we were the minority.

So, moving into the world, it was weird to me that everyone else didn’t see us the way I was raised, but it also empowers me to show what my reality is. And I am an artist who lives and breathes to create. Everything for me is about artistic expression in any way possible; it’s almost like I fiend for it. If I’m not acting, I’m making music. If I’m not making music, I’m drawing. I am always creating in some capacity.

IM: Who is Ryan Wilder?

JL: Ryan Wilder is a young girl in the city who has been looked over all of her life. Who has had to deal with the brunt of systematic racism. The brunt of a community that doesn’t see her as worthy enough to care about. But she’s a fighter. She’s been through so much in her life. In general, being raised without her parents and going from foster home to foster home. That internal strength that she has makes her fight even if it means she may not make it through it. That’s what I love about her because it’s like she may die today, but she’s going to fight for what she believes in; she’s not afraid to die. And now, Ryan is Batwoman.

IM: You’re doing some things that we’ve never seen from Black women on TV. Has the gravity of that really hit you? And how have the fans embraced Ryan as Batwoman?

JL: When I am working, I try to keep my head down and focus on the work because everything that comes with it can come and go. You can’t get connected to any of that stuff. It’s beautiful that people feel represented by this version of Batwoman, but as an artist, it’s important for me to focus on the work. But when I do come up for air, and I’m able to hear words from people I’ve admired in this industry, and they tell me what this means to them or their children, I am reminded of how important what I’m doing is. As a child, I said I wanted to make history with my art, and to know that that’s already starting to happen, it’s a good feeling.

IM: Many people may not know your journey to this place in your career, but nothing happens overnight. Can you share some of that?

JL: After graduating from Hampton University, I worked in DC for a few years, and then I moved to LA. I knew that I would never be happy if I didn’t pursue my art. So, I moved out here in 2012, and I took every necessary step. People will call you an overnight success, but that “overnight” could be ten years. Over the time I’ve been here, I’ve done all the things.

My first lead role was in a Lifetime film called Killer Coach. My first guest star role was on Macgyver, then I landed God Friended Me, and after that was Always A Bridesmaid. Every single step mattered. As artists, we sometimes think there is a carved-out route to success, and there isn’t. This is a marathon, not a race. So, if you don’t get your mind right for that and accept that you may be serving tables for seven years like I was, you’re going to burn out.

It’s all a journey, and we all get a chance to earn our keep. If you skip any steps, I don’t know if that will create longevity because you don’t have the true support to get you through the hard times. You may have something big and then get nothing for a while, but if you’ve been in the game surviving for nine years, you can understand that. You know how to keep yourself sane during the slow times. You know how to rise in the silent times. You start to learn how to create your own work or find new outlets for your creativity. You have to constantly be in the flow.

IM: How have you prioritized your mental health in this role especially coming off a year like 2020?

JL: 2020 was hard. I was in New York finishing God Friended Me, and my character was fighting cancer. I was emotionally exhausted by March, and I got back to LA, and they’re telling us the end of the world is about to happen, you know? And then the murder of George Floyd and the world stopped again. It was getting harder and harder to see the silver lining. During my hiatus time, I started taking acting classes again, and my teacher is very vulnerable and sensitive to what’s happening in society.

She brought up everything that was going on in the world, and that’s when I remembered how important my art is to me to get through any of this. What we do matters because not only does it matter for everyone else, it matters for our own mental health to be able to express ourselves. Sometimes you just need to cry, you know? So why not cry, make some money for it, and free other people to get their emotions out. And then Batwoman happened.

It was such a beautiful moment where I wanted to be the happiest version of myself, but it came with its own struggles. I am getting this negativity from people who have never met me and for something that is out of my control. I had to take a step out of all of it and dive into my own mental safety. That’s what’s been important to me—mental protection. It doesn’t matter how many roles you get if you’re not safe in your own mind.

IM: When you hear the word ‘beauty,’ what comes to mind?

JL: I remember seeing people like Regina King and Nia Long gracing the covers of ESSENCE when I was a little girl. Beautiful Black women represented beauty for me. Always have and always will.

IM: How about ‘wellness’?

JL: I think of meditation. I do a lot of crystal work and saging. I think of water and seams—my echinacea and morning elixirs. I think of being outside and my dogs.

Javicia is a part of Advocate’s Women of the Year special! Tracy E. Gilchrist writes…

In 2020, when much of the world was shuttered, Javicia Leslie became a superhero. In July, she landed the lead, Ryan Wilder, in the CW’s Batwoman. As a Black bisexual woman portraying the queer Batwoman she became a first for visibility on several fronts and a hero to those who saw themselves in her identities’ intersections. As an artist (she’s also a director) with a platform, she embraces the fact that living authentically inspires people across a wide spectrum.

Being a “first” of any kind is often fraught with pressure. But Leslie, whose work includes BET’s delicious crime series The Family Business and the romantic comedy Always a Bridesmaid, is focused on her new job while remaining aware that what she’s doing is meaningful to the fans.

“As far as what identity means in this situation, that’s always tricky,” she says on a break while shooting the series in Vancouver. “I’ve never been a person to have to introduce myself as a title, but when you’re going into the world as an artist, those titles inspire people, and that’s something I do understand and respect.”

“I’m just walking in my own truth in my own shoes, but the fact that me being exactly who I am in this position, the fact that that can inspire and open doors for people, that right there is amazing,” she adds. “As artists, that’s one of the biggest blessings to be able to have — to be able to make a difference doing what you love.”

Leslie is in the Batmobile’s driver’s seat for the second season following Ruby Rose’s departure from the series as Kate Kane (Batwoman). Stepping into a role once inhabited by another comes with expectations, but in the short time since Leslie’s episodes began airing in January, she’s created an indelible character in Ryan.

A child of the foster system who’s on parole after 18 months in lockup for taking the fall for someone she loves, Ryan is living in her van when she’s introduced. Her circumstances change when she finds Kate Kane’s Batsuit following a horrific plane crash. Trained in martial arts and armed with protection from the Batsuit to help others, Ryan takes on Batwoman’s identity and begins to work with Kate’s team to find her, hoping she’s still alive. Of course, there are plenty of nefarious goons for Ryan to thwart in Gotham City. Thus begins her career fighting crime and the city’s corrupt system. There’s something wonderfully meta in Leslie’s parallel experience with her character as they both step into their new roles.

“I always say that Ryan’s on her journey to become Batwoman, just like I’m on my journey,” Leslie says.

“I have a lot of fun playing with Ryan because she’s a badass in her own right, but she’s got so much to learn when it comes to being a superhero. It’s fun to be a part of her mistakes and her wins,” she notes.

Leslie is new to the role, but it’s one she’s inadvertently prepared for over years. Not only has she actively practiced the martial art Muay Thai since moving to Los Angeles a few years ago (her brother was a semi-pro mixed martial arts fighter who opened a Muay Thai gym), she’s a true aficionado of the Batman universe.

“Batman was a huge part of my experience for comics,” she says; the Michael Keaton-led Batman movies were the first she watched. She’s not only followed every big-screen iteration of the superhero that has come out in her lifetime. Like a true fan, she went back and watched the campy 1960s TV series starring Adam West. “I loved [Batman], still love him as my favorite because a lot of superheroes have magic powers and things like that, but he didn’t. It was all about being able to use his mind to outthink the criminals and having partnerships [like with his assistant Lucius Fox] to really be able to outsmart criminals.”

Something else Leslie loves about the brooding caped hero? His resilience in coming back from failure. “It also made it cool to see him lose. A lot of times he lost.”

While Leslie’s knowledge of the superhero universe stretches back years, her road to playing Batwoman was swift. After Hollywood essentially shuttered as of March 2020, Leslie first submitted a self-tape and later auditioned for the role over Zoom.

By summer, she was on set in Vancouver, where productions were innovating in terms of COVID-19 protocols. Now Leslie is busy at work with a cast and crew that welcomed her with open arms, but she’s yet to experience the fan interactions common with stars of superhero franchises.

“I look forward to doing Comic-Con where I can really sit and talk to people,” she says.

One response to her casting that resonated with her occurred shortly after she booked the role.

“There’s a little girl that was watching it on the news. She was with her dad and she was just like, ‘Dad, that woman looks like me,’” Leslie says. “It was because we chose a picture when my hair was like big and curly and natural, and she had really big natural hair and she hadn’t seen a superhero that had her look.”

Later she received a message from the girl that read, “Thank you for looking like me and being a superhero.”

With her newfound visibility, Leslie has already been the subject of media coverage that didn’t quite get it right. Several outlets misquoted an interview and asserted she had to “come out” to her mother upon landing the role. Leslie clarifies, “It was a conversation, I’m 33. So it was just a conversation.”

She explains why it was critical for her to make a distinction between a coming-out and a conversation.

“I feel like that takes away the gravity of the situation for a lot of other people who did have to go through a journey to be able to tell their truth to their people. I never want to take away that from someone else. I feel like, for me, it wasn’t really like that,” she says.

“I’ve always lived my life as I have…. I’m a very private person, but I didn’t want [my mother] to feel like she was hearing something that she had never heard from my mouth. So I just had a conversation with her, like ‘Hey, I’m just letting you know that…I just feel like it’s important that I tell my entire truth. And I just want you to know it before everyone else does.’”

As sometimes happens with those conversations, her mother was way ahead of her. “She was just like, ‘I already knew. So there’s nothing to tell me that I don’t know. You’re my child, I pay attention.’”

Batwoman is still in production. But Leslie is also excited to highlight her filmmaker identity. The short film she directed, Black Excellence, about a family that unplugs from modern-life problems to cope with individual trauma, premiered at the Pan African Film + Arts Festival in March. It’s already slated for other festivals.

In an early episode of Leslie’s Batwoman tenure, “Bat Girl Magic!,” Ryan tweaks the Batsuit to truly reflect herself. While Ryan searches for how to be her own true Batwoman, her sexual identity just is, something that is built into the show by creator Caroline Dries and the writers. Notably, the series features several queer characters (especially women).

“You get to just watch [the queer characters] exist, watch them just walk in their truth. It’s almost like you’re hopping into their lives, post the trauma of being a Black gay woman in America,” Leslie says. Trauma “always exists. But it gets to a point where it’s just like, ‘OK, I have to keep moving on with my life. And I have to continue to walk in my truth, and I have to continue to just operate even in a society where just because of the color of my skin or the people I choose to be with makes me the underdog.’”

“The writers just do this amazing job of allowing us to jump into the story and that element to just coexist within the story. I think that’s just really cool about this project,” she says.


Lucy Cohen Blatter of Barron’s writes…

Javicia Leslie recently spent several months in Vancouver, shooting her groundbreaking role as the first Black Batwoman in the new CW Batwoman series. But the 33-year-old actress, who also starred on BET’s The Family Business and Netflix’s Always a Bridesmaid, recently bought a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, which she had gut renovated.

Leslie, who also started the Chandler Foundation, where she focuses on giving back to children in need, describes her interior design style as “modern, modern, modern; clean and simple.”

Floor-to-Ceiling Windows (1)

Lighting strongly affects her mood, so finding a home that had a lot of natural light was key. “In the living room, I can see all of downtown L.A. The light is amazing. We had to get shades to watch TV in the daytime,” Leslie says.

A Very Comfy Couch (2)

“This was based off a Restoration Hardware couch,” she says. “I love that it’s big, but not bulky. The whole family can be on it at the same time.”

A Balcony Fit for Gardening (3)

“I’m huge into gardening,” Leslie says. Even her temporary Vancouver home is filled with plants (she has 12 there alone). In L.A., she has a balcony big enough for her potted plants, fruits, and vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, green bell peppers, blueberries, and blackberries. She also built a bench out of four-by-fours and concrete bricks, something she learned to do via a YouTube tutorial.

Indoor Plants Get Love, Too (4)

While she has “tons” of plants, one particular favorite is a banana tree plant in her bedroom that doesn’t need a lot of light. “She’s big, beautiful, and her name is Gloria, ” Leslie says. Her mom’s been watering and caring for Gloria in her absence, she says. “I’m a huge researcher so I started doing my research and learning everything I could about plants.”


Danielle Turchiano of Variety writes…

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Survived Much Worse,” the eighth episode of “Batwoman” Season 2.

In the summer of 2020 after it was announced that Ruby Rose would be exiting the CW’s “Batwoman,” in which she played the titular role, showrunner Caroline Dries penned a short note on social media promising that she would not kill off the character. Now, after only the eighth episode of the second season, the proof that Kate is alive, even if not fully well, was provided in form of a quick shot of her at the end of the episode entitled “Survived Much Worse.”

Wallis Day, perhaps best known thus far for a role in another DC property, Syfy’s short-lived “Krypton,” will take over the role of Kate and have her own storyline recurring throughout the rest of the second season.

“We tease seeing her a bit in [Episode] 209 and we realize somebody has a plan for her and that plan is going to have really dramatic impact on the life of Kate Kane,” Dries tells Variety.

While seeing Kate with her face bandaged was an emotional enough reveal on its own, it delivered an extra wallop in the form of coming right after new Batwoman Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) and Kate’s sister Alice (Rachel Skarsten) finally came to terms with the fact that Kate was probably dead.

“The first half [of the season was] our characters hoping, learning she still might be alive, trying to figure out where she is and then realizing, ‘Oh no, she’s dead.’ That allows them to close the chapter and move on without Kate’s shadow dominating every thought that they have. It gives our Bat team a chance to grow and find a cause that’s specific to them,” Dries says. “We start Episode 9 with a very beautiful funeral ceremony for Kate. The characters need to go through their grief — and I’m not saying you grieve in a month, but it allows us to not see everybody crying themselves to sleep in every scene. And it felt like we owed it to our characters to give them a pause.”

In “Survived Much Worse,” Ryan expressed certain concerns about her place as Batwoman should she succeed in finding Kate alive and returning her home, though. But now that she truly believes Kate is dead, Ryan will have to decide what kind of Batwoman she wants to be long-term.

“This is a woman who, everything good in her life has been taken away from her, and I think in the back of her mind, she always thought maybe the Batwoman legacy was going to be taken from her too, but now she’s realizing it’s not,” Dries says.

“What does that mean? Instead of trying to keep the suit warm, who am I as Batwoman? Who am I as Ryan Wilder? It’s really going to galvanize her to figure out what stamp she’ll make on the symbol, what stamp she’ll make on the city,” she continues. “Taking crime off the street is one thing, but how can we put good back into the street as well?”

Ryan will start by making a list of “Bat rules” for the team, that she will follow as well, Dries previews. (Hence, the ninth episode title, “Rule No. 1.”) But while they are moving on, the audience will be watching a parallel story where “this altered version of Kate” is put through the ringer.

Dries calls Kate’s journey “complicated, mysterious, tough,” and notes that what she has gone through has altered her personality, as well as her appearance. The character was always “incredibly complicated,” she says, but now there are additional multiple layers to her, which made the search for the right actor to step in the role complex as well.

After Rose exited the show, Dries toyed with the idea of recasting her right away but ultimately changed her mind and decided to introduce a new character — Ryan — instead because she thought “it would have been a clunky transition between Season 1 and Season 2 if we had just full-blown recast Kate with no organic story behind it,” she says. But, in the back of her mind, she always planned to bring her back in a new way since she was not killing off the character.

In May 2020, Day, whose other TV credits include “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Casanova,” and “The Royals” and will soon be seen in the feature film “Infinite,” tweeted that playing Batwoman would be “a dream job.” Less than a year later, she will make her debut in that role. She is ​is repped by Hamilton Hodell and UTA.

“Batwoman” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on The CW.


Listen to Javicia’s appearance on The Mo’Kelly Show from last night!

Listen to “‘Close Enough’ JG Quintel & the ‘Batwoman’ Javicia Leslie” on Spreaker.