Lex Scott Davis plays Georgia in SuperFly and Nya Charms in The First Purge, both of which are currently playing in theatres. In the two films, her characters are depicted as smart, confident women who take charge. Davis talks to us about her roles, her experience on both sets, and what she hopes people take away from the films.
Tell us a little about yourself. For those who may not know you, how would you introduce yourself?
My Name is Lex Scott Davis, I am a former dancer turned actor from Baltimore, Maryland.
You’ve been acting since you were very young. How supportive were your parents of you pursuing acting?
I have been in the performing arts since the age of 3. Dance was my passion for a very long time, I was actually afraid of the idea of acting for a while because I had a nervousness about actually speaking on stage. Because I was so young, doing Dance was more my parents idea at first, it was just an extracurricular activity I did after school as with many kids. As I got older of course it became my choice to stick with it and make it a serious thing. That being said, my parents were and still are extremely supportive of my career choice.
You initially attended Drexel University, then moved to New York City and attended New York Film Academy. What triggered your change in direction?
I had been dancing for my entire life and went on to become a Dance Physical Therapy major at Drexel and found my passion for Dance became stagnate. I started to feel I had reached a cap on my capabilities to grow as a dancer and evolve into something better. I knew that I wanted to perform in some way forever, so I had to ask myself how I could do that and make a living at it into adulthood. The answer was acting. It is a career path with longevity; there is no limit to the amount of work one can do regardless of your age or physical abilities. I love the idea that you can be 80 years old and still able to perform as an actor.
Big names, like Damon Wayans and Issa Rae, attended NYFA as well. What was it like knowing you were roaming the same halls as some very notable entertainers?
NYFA gives everyone different experiences because the professors are continuously rotating since they are also working actors. Throughout my 1-year program in NYC I had some of the greatest teachers. I loved having access to these professionals, and also having the students from the director, writer, and photography majors within reach. This way we were able to intertwine our projects, developing short films that would help all of us succeed no matter the focus. Example being, a director student may be assigned a student film project. They’d find a writer from the writing majors, the actors from my classes, the editor, and the equipment all under the same institute. Which gave everyone something to add to their resume and/or demo reel.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up listening to listening to Toni Braxton. What was it like playing such an icon?
This was one of my best experiences ever. There was a lot of added pressure of course to play her and do it well. I had grown up in a household of Toni fans and my mother was also often told in the 90’s that she resembled Miss Braxton. That made it extremely surreal for all of us that I had been given the opportunity.
How did you prepare for the role?
From the start of pre-production, I listened to a lot of her music and watched as many music videos as I could. Because her music was truly from my parent’s generation I really only knew the chorus and not the actual verses to most of her songs. When I was able to meet her and be around her during filming, it gave me the opportunity to observe her. I remember people wondering why I didn’t asking her more questions, people involved would say, “she’s right here why don’t you have any questions prepared for her” …and really that wasn’t my process. I believed I learned more about her through not only watching her speak to other people, but more importantly how she listened. I think we all do a hell of a job telling people what we think we are like, but really there are so many nuances that we all possess that we aren’t able to see in ourselves. If we were to have a mirror in our face all the time, we’d show ourselves what we wanted to see. But someone who observes you when you don’t even know they are watching… often reveals more about you then you, yourself would recognize. With this I was able to capture the essence of her, how she spoke, how she walked in and out of a room, what she did when she thought no one was paying attention, and I brought that to life beyond just telling the story that was on the page.
What’s your favorite Toni Braxton song?
“Making Me High”! It’s so dope and extremely sexy, unfortunately too sexy for Lifetime to include in our film but oh well, I still got to wear her infamous white leather cat suit.
Let’s talk about Superfly. Can you tell us a little bit about your character, Georgia?
Georgia is 1 of the 2 women in the relationship with Priest. She is an art curator and also works closely with the mayor of Atlanta played by Big Boi of Outkast. Georgia is the voice of reason in this story; she, unlike most of the other characters, thinks before she speaks, and she gives the best advice to Priest during his journey to get out of the drug game.
In Heed Magazine, you mention that you wanted this remake and your character to show what it means to be a woman in 2018. Why is that important to you?
It’s important because times have changed since the original film where the women were not depicted in the strongest light. Yes, they were beautiful, but they were certainly seen more as objects as compared to the leading men. We wanted our version to showcase the strength of women today because otherwise it would have been degrading and not as relatable to our audiences.
What was the vibe like on set?
The set of SUPERFLY was always a party. Having Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell anywhere together is its own separate movie on top of the one we were making!
In an interview with LRM, you talked about how the fight scenes had you on the edge of your seat. What do you love about them and what sets them apart from other fight scenes you’ve seen or done before?
In general, I enjoy fight scenes; I think with any audience it’s the turning point where things get really exciting! I didn’t have to be in the fight scenes to be able to enjoy the show as a theater goer, so it was awesome to be a part of it all!
In the same interview, you also brought up that you love that Georgia didn’t have to show unnecessary skin to command the attention of a room. Why is that something that really stood out to you?
I feel that women can exude sex appeal without baring themselves, and in a time like today where the skin of a woman is so often shown and taken for granted, I wanted to challenge that thought and prove my theory. I find it sexier when a person doesn’t overextend themselves, and to let what is naturally true shine through effortlessly. That is the approach we took with Georgia. I want young women who watch the movie to take that fact away from watching a character like her.
I feel that women can exude sex appeal without baring themselves, and in a time like today where the skin of a woman is so often shown and taken for granted, I wanted to challenge that thought and prove my theory.
Being able to command a room sounds like a cool superpower. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
My superpower would be to fly and/or teleport. Basically, enhance my travel skills so I’d no longer have to sit in LA traffic!
What do you hope people take away from the film?
I hope that young adults will be encouraged in watching a relatable peer who realizes how his choices put him at a disadvantage, and then watch him work hard to overcome his circumstances to better himself and his family.
You can also be seen in the upcoming horror film The First Purge. Tell us about your role.
In THE FIRST PURGE I play Nya Charms, an activist and leader of the community and the older sister to Isaiah Charms. She is anti-purge, and she struggles to get as many people off of the street and to safety throughout the evening.
What was being on set like?
In spite of the “horror”, this set was so much fun to be on! The chemistry built with our cast was inevitable while shooting in a place like Buffalo, NY, we became like a family on set and off set. This was definitely one of those sets where you show up on your off days just to be amongst your peers to cheer them on during their scenes.
In your opinion, what makes The First Purge different from other horror films?
This is the prequel, so unlike the others, we are able to get to know the characters before this crazy night existed. The audience and characters, together, will go on a journey trying to figure out what this is and how it became a reality.
What are you most excited for with the release of The First Purge?
I’m excited for The Purge franchise fan feedback. I am a fan of all the films myself, so I really am curious if they will love it just as much as I do.
What do you hope the audience’s reactions will be to the film?
I want the audience to be on the edge of their seat, from beginning to the end. This film is so entertaining that despite all of the destruction, they are able to just simply enjoy themselves.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in the entertainment industry?
If I wasn’t in the entertainment industry, I’d either be a chef or interior designer. Cooking and home improvement are both beloved hobbies of mine that I could totally imagine as career paths.
Television series or movies? Which do you prefer acting in? Or what do you enjoy about each?
I am a fan of films first, so I see myself doing more films in the future. But truthfully, as long as I get to perform, it doesn’t really matter which avenue.
Lastly, any advice for our readers on work or personal life?
Just to be persistent with whatever it is you want to do and to not be discouraged by the naysayers. Achieving a goal is minuscule to the determined mind.
STORY DARREN BRIDGES
PHOTO GRAY HAMNER
HAIR LARRY SIMS
MAKEUP JO BAKER
STYLING NICOLAS BRU