BELLO IT GIRL
Javicia Leslie: Finding purpose in a constant yearn for knowledge
By Alexandra Bonnet
Humble and kind, Javicia Leslie is open to the world and experiences that are set on her path. Playing on the series “God Friended Me” (which has a second season coming out) and starring in the film ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, Leslie goes above and beyond to perfect the roles she plays. Although, acting isn’t the only gift she has. Having already written a play adjacent to the time she was helping soldiers and their families in Washington D.C., the attractive actress shows true compassion and instinct. In order to find true purpose, Javicia Leslie constantly yearns for knowledge, connecting her to the world a little more every day.
Share with us what prompted you to becoming an actress.
I’ve wanted to act since I was a child. I used to put on plays and talent shows with my cousins. We’d spend the summer practicing and perfecting our acts, then we would put on a full show for our family. I also had a crazy imagination!! You couldn’t tell me that whatever I’m pretending to do wasn’t real. Lol.
What are some of your favorite things of being on set?
Ok, to be honest, my favorite thing on set is crafty! Lol!!! If there is ever a break, you can find me eating snacks by the crafty station. I also love getting to know our crew. There’s so much to learn from each other, and it only provides more inspiration in our art!
How are you feeling about the second season of “God Friended Me,” coming out this Sunday?
I am so excited for our second season!! I feel like our first season really hit home for our viewers, and I’m amped to say it’ll only get better!!! There are so many stories waiting to be told, and I love that our show isn’t afraid to tell them. I’m most excited for my character, Ali. She spent a lot of time last season helping and guiding others. This season, she’ll be the one who needs the help! She has a big secret she’s keeping from her father and brother that is really going to shake the Finer family to the core.
Tell us more about your lead role in the film ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID.
In the movie Always A Bridesmaid, I play the lead Corina. Corina is stuck being everyone’s bridesmaid. Deciding to no longer be a lady-in-waiting, she bravely re-enters the dating scene. Time will only tell if Corina will Always Be A Bridesmaid or if the love of her life is around the corner.
What would you say was the funniest moment of filming on that set?
We have a character named Dawson, played by Affion Crocket. There’s a hilarious scene where Corina gets set up to go on a blind date with Dawson, the foot doctor. Midway through filming the scene, Affion starts to adlib all of his lines. He’s so funny that I couldn’t contain my laughter, which made it extremely difficult to play annoyed. Then he takes it a step further and proceeds to put his foot on the dinner table to show me his toes and what they represent. It was so hard to stay in character because I could not stop laughing! I know that was probably a very difficult scene to edit! Lol!
Please share with us some key lessons you learned while working in Washington D.C. helping soldiers and their families.
When I worked in Washington DC helping soldiers, I specifically worked with the families of deceased soldiers. These were soldiers who passed away after they came back from war. One thing that really stuck with me was that a lot of our soldiers are battling PTSD. I believe it’s important, that as a country, we do our best to protect and heal our soldiers physically and mentally!
During that time, you also produced your own play. What is it about?
I produced my first play in Washington DC right before I moved to LA. It was a fun melodrama with lots of singing and I really enjoyed the entire process! I am currently studying to become a director. On my current series, I trail our director throughout the entire process of the episode. This begins with scouting locations, all the way to the director’s edit! I believe it’s important we get more female directors of color, so that all perspectives can tell the story.
Do you feel that your international side plays a big part in who you are?
Being born abroad has definitely widened my views, allowing me to dive into all kinds of characters! I strongly believe that traveling and spending extended periods of time abroad helps to build internal depth for characters you’ll play! I love constantly changing my environment and meeting new people.
If you could give your audience any piece of advice, right now, what would it be?
We all have secret powers! But our strongest power is our knowledge. I believe a constant yearning for knowledge gives us a purpose! When it comes to our skills and talents, that power of knowledge is what’s needed to excel and be the best at what we do! Never stop learning! When you stop learning, you stop living.
Featured in BELLO issue #191.
Talent Javicia Leslie @javicia
Photographer: Shannon Wallace @shannondotwallace