Her strikingly powerful silhouette fits perfectly into the Batsuit formerly worn by Ruby Rose for season one. Introducing Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, the heir to Kate Kane’s cape and cowl. Born into a military household in Germany, Javicia moved to Maryland at a young age. In 2012, Los Angeles came calling and Javicia headed to Hollywood with her sights set on an acting career.
A self-confessed superhero fan, Javicia would often play make-believe as a child. Having landed her dream role over Zoom amidst the height of the COVID pandemic, she’s already proven a lot to the world and her physical skills certainly leave nothing to be desired. Working 16-hour days would certainly pose an unsustainable challenge for most, but for Javicia it’s an opportunity to play out her fantasies and optimize her mental and physical health. Her schedule is rigorous, and her principles are squeaky clean- I love this girl- and I know you will too.
“I’m on a fast at the moment,” Javicia begins. Speaking from set in Vancouver, her telephone introduction was as casual and comfortable as that of a lifelong friend. “Every year in January I fast for 21-days. I’m on my fourth year of it now and will only eat plant-based foods that can be sourced organically in the garden. Nothing processed is allowed; no meat, no alcohol, no toxins.”
“For me, it’s a spiritual act that helps to open up those waves of communication and understanding. A lot of the toxins we put into our bodies can prevent us from being able to operate optimally. Fasting is a great way to jump-start the year and start it off as healthy as possible. The 21-days comes from the biblical Daniel Fast. I drop weight pretty quickly, so any longer wouldn’t be great for me physique wise. I weigh 125 pounds and I’m just under 5’4″ but I’d prefer to be 130 pounds because I carry a lot of muscle tone.”
A Batwoman who runs on plant power. Love that! But how?
“I don’t feel weak when I fast and train because my diet is pretty much plant-based anyway,” says Javicia. “I might have a little bit of salmon here and there, but I never eat meat, so my body is used to not having animal foods. When I’m working out I’ll take a bag of cashews for protein and I use a specific vegan protein shake with nuts and nothing processed. I eat as much protein that comes from plants as possible. Avocado, nuts, grains and quinoa form a large part of my diet whether I’m fasting or not.”
Javicia stays superhero ready by practicing a variety of physical skills.
“I started doing Muay Thai two years ago as a way of adding in extra training,” she says. “I try to lift heavy weights two-to-three days a week to train my shape. I also maintain my cardio on the Peloton bike. The Muay Thai is something I usually do twice a week. It’s fun and helps me to relieve my tension when I hit the mats. Also, I do Bo Staff, which I’m just learning and that’s another great way to connect the brain and the body. That’s my routine when I’m not filming every single day. When I’m on-set, my time is somewhat limited, so I follow a strict routine to help keep my mind and body in-check.”
“Including travel time, I’m away for 16-17 hours a day. It’s an hour to get to work, two hours in hair and make-up, 13 hours of filming including lunch and then an hour home.”
Javicia’s Daily Self-Care Schedule when Filming
- Wake-up 90 minutes before leaving for work
- Peloton bike 20 minutes
- Abs 10 minutes
- Stretch 10 minutes
- Meditation 10 minutes
“My meditation also includes sage and crystal work,” Javicia says. “I started doing crystals about a year and a half ago. When I got here to Vancouver I went to a crystal shop and bought all the ones I thought I connected with the most.”
Having landed the role on a Zoom call, Javicia had to get creative in order to portray her alter ego to the best of her ability. “My Zoom audition was a video I created showing off all my training,” she says. “My partner Jacob is my trainer. He got me into MMA and helps me choreograph and film routines. I also showed off my calisthenics skills. My brother was a semi-pro MMA fighter, so I was always around it, then when I got to LA I finally started to learn for myself. ÒA lot of the toxins we put into our bodies can prevent us from being able to operate optimally.”
“I love training with Jacob, but we’ve been apart since I left LA for Vancouver in August 2020. He sends me step-by-step Bo Staff videos and some mornings we’ll wake up and FaceTime and do yoga together to start off our mornings. I’m here until May but he can’t visit because of the pandemic. I was able to go home in December for two weeks to spend time with him, which was lovely.”
“Physique wise I was already in shape before Batwoman, but I did make sure I got back into my cardio to build up my stamina,” says Javicia. “We’d been in quarantine for a while so I hadn’t been doing as much as I used to do, but I didn’t have to change my shape, just maintain my muscle tone and ensure I didn’t drop weight since I can get skinny easily and I don’t want that.”
“Muay Thai is something I usually do twice a week. It’s fun and helps me to relieve my tension when I hit the mats.”
“I love the squat rack. I love leg extensions and leg curls. My lower-body is my favorite part and I love to lift as heavy as possible. I don’t train my upper-body much because it only takes a few push-ups a day for me. Filming is such a great workout too. It’s my dream role.”
Returning to the subject of diet, Javicia says there will be no real change when the fasting period is over. “I always have three-to-four main meals per day, plus lots of snacks including nuts and seeds,” she says. “I’m a huge snacker. I miss wine, but I will keep it mostly plant-based after the fast is over.”
“On-set they prep my meals for me. They know my dietary restrictions and they’re always offering me cashews and plant-based snacks.”
“I’m super, super into vitamins and minerals. I’m definitely a herbal supplement person and I love sea moss. I make my own sea moss gel. I soak it for about eight hours, then put in just a little bit of water to create the gel and I use that gel with different herbs. I try to drink a gallon of water a day. It must be specifically spring water because filtered water doesn’t have all the minerals we need. Chlorophyll is a huge part of my diet. I try to drink it at least once a day in my water. Sleep is really important too. I try my hardest (I don’t always succeed), to get at least six-to-seven hours a night. Breathing exercises are important so that your body gets the oxygen it needs. We don’t always take the time to just sit and breathe. I do these things every single day.”
So, what’s next for this pint-sized powerhouse? “More action and I’d love a biopic role!” Javicia says. “I’d love to represent an athlete and play out true events, as opposed to taking on another fantasy character next. That would be really challenging. I want to do everything though!”
And some words of wisdom from the first black Batwoman to grace Hollywood. “No matter what obstacles you’re facing, go find work ethic in the gym and in taking care of yourself. That kept me going when I was auditioning. If you’re feeling directionless, learning a new physical skill and maintaining a healthy lifestyle might feel like a hurdle but it will make you feel so much better. When I first started training it was for aesthetic reasons, but now it’s not about how I look, it’s the fact it makes me feel good throughout the day. Just take twenty minutes a day to find something physical that makes you feel alive.”
Photographer: John Jay / @johnjayusa
Hair: Sean Fears / @seanchristopherfears
Makeup: Dion Xu / @makeupbydion
Styling: Jyotisha Bridges / @jyotisha_
Batwoman promotional images courtesy of The CW