“Close to Home” is a series inspired by the fact that so many of us are spending more of our time at home and learning to appreciate our sanctuaries now more than ever. At the same time, we know that our readers—and viewers—care about giving back to others all over the world, so our interview subjects discuss both their homes and their passion projects, efforts they’ve committed to that have resulted in social impact.
In the latest in this series, we spoke to actress Javicia Leslie, who in January will become the first Black Batwoman, starring as the titular superhero role on the CW’s “Batwoman.”
Javicia Leslie is currently in Vancouver filming the CW’s “Batwoman,” but home for her is actually in Los Angeles—a two-bedroom apartment she bought earlier this year. At the moment, the apartment is being gutted, and she hopes the renovation is complete by the time she gets back stateside.
Her design style: “Clean and modern as modern can be,” she told Mansion Global and Penta. In terms of the apartment itself, it was the view, the large windows and the amenities that really appealed to her. “Lighting affects how I feel,” she said.
And thanks to the recreational amenities, “it almost feels like I’m in a resort.” She’s making everything feel more modern and sleek, replacing dark cabinets to light or white colors.
While Ms. Leslie, 33, is passionate about her home design as well as her groundbreaking role as the first Black Batwoman—“I love that this is where it starts,” she says of her big break—she also has a foundation called The Chandler Foundation, which is geared toward giving back to children in need.
As part of the Chandler Foundation—coined for her family name—she’s raised money to build a school in Haiti, collected athletic supplies for Los Angeles’s public schools, and even had a backpack drive in Washington, D.C.—close to where she grew up—where kids picked up pre-packed backpacks and could have their hair cut and braided, for free, before the start of the school year.
“A huge passion of mine is being able to give kids the opportunity to feel free to follow their dreams at their fullest capacity,” she said.
Another issue of great importance to her: social justice. “This isn’t new for us,” she said of the Black Lives Matter movement. “I pray that as a country, as a world, we find a way to shed light… and to understand we can’t do this ourselves. We need help.” During this highly politicized environment, it’s important “to hold people accountable,” Ms. Leslie said. “Don’t allow people just to tell you what they’re gonna do.”
And lasting change will come when everyone does their part, she said. “In order for us to make a change, we have to do this together. As Black people, we’ve been doing this by ourselves for so long. This is real life for us. This isn’t a movement for us, this isn’t a hashtag.”