Emma Sells of Vogue Paris writes…
In Javicia Leslie’s Family Secrets, the new star of Batwoman introduces us to her high-kicking mum and brother, as they all train and explain how the art of muay thai became part of their family dynamic.
“They wanted to shoot Batwoman doing her own stunts,” Javicia Leslie reveals of the Hollywood courting process she underwent before being cast as DC Comics’ new Batwoman in the hit TV show.
The show’s creators couldn’t have chosen a better candidate, since Leslie has been in training for an action role since childhood. It all began with her older brother Donnie’s love of combat exercise, influenced by their mother Jacqueline’s career in the army (both of whom star in Leslie’s Family Secrets with Vogue). From a young age, Leslie was quietly collecting hand-me-down tips and tricks in the art of Thai boxing, also known as muay thai.
Nowadays, you only need to take a cursory glance at Leslie’s Instagram to see how those roots have developed into a love of high-adrenaline stunt work in her industry. While filming Batwoman, Leslie was mechanically propelled into the sky for one scene: “I get to fly, basically. Last Friday, I went up 50ft and I could see all of Vancouver and it was just so freaking epic.”
Leslie is the new star of the TV show for season two (picking up the cape from Ruby Rose) and has spent the past few months filming in Vancouver, Canada. Embarking on a day job that involves suiting up to keep the mean streets of Gotham City clean means she’s only had to up her fighting skills. Luckily for her, her brother is a bona fide muay thai coach who she now consults on all things action: “He’ll watch videos that I put on Instagram and he’ll say, ‘That was good, but you’ve got to make sure you turn your foot, or you’ve got to make sure you do this.’” With a four-month stint as a superhero under her belt, Leslie is now an expert, too. “Going into the second season, there will be a lot of stunts done by yours truly,” she reveals.
While Leslie and her brother may be close, bygones are not always bygones between siblings. “Ever since she was a kid, she’s been acting, she was one of those kids that would start crying on demand and, as soon as you get into trouble for doing something, she stops crying,” teases her brother. “Are you serious? This is messed up!” retorts an indignant Leslie — while their mother laughs heartily in the background at the pair, suddenly children again.
Proudly sporting a Batwoman necklace throughout sharing her Family Secrets with Vogue, let the actor introduce her family members to you before her brother’s muay thai class begins, putting the family through their paces. Expect them to throw kicks and punches, work up a sweat and have plenty of laughs in the process.