LEX SCOTT DAVIS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RIE RASMUSSEN
STYLING BY SCOT LOUIE
StSTORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Baltimore native Lex Scott Davis dreams about giving back to her community. The actress who played Toni Braxton in the film “Un-Break My Heart” opened up to us about her childhood, her love for dance and of course, her upcoming projects.
Dress: Now PR LA @NowPRLA
Imagista: What was growing up in Baltimore like?
Lex Scott Davis: Growing up in Baltimore was a lot of fun. I think Baltimore in the 90’s was a really cool town. It has of course developed so much since then. My parents had me fairly young so I was able to be part of their generation. My parents created a diverse background for me, coming from an intercity family, they always made sure I was part of extracurricular activities and made me go to schools that help diversify me. As a child I was dancing, playing piano. I did acting programs in the summer and travelled for dance during the summer also. I attended various summer camps around the city where I was doing a bunch of activities. My parents wanted to be as well rounded as I could be. I am an only child so I think that is why they made me do so much.
I love being where I am from. I am grateful that I grew up in a town that has so much to offer.
Dress: Vitor Zerbinato @vitorzerbinato
Imagista: You seem to love where you are from, why did you move to New York City?
Lex Scott Davis: Unfortunately for me, as I got older and began scouting for college, I did not find the right amount of resources for what I wanted to do as a profession which at the time was dance.
I wanted to become a dancer and because I was traveling so much as a child for dance I was aware that there were more opportunities in other places.
After High School I went to Philadelphia as a dance therapy major and I would always make trips to New York City. I love traveling and even though New York was not that far, going to New York for me was a big deal.
I noticed Philadelphia was lacking what I personally needed in an agent, I was also modeling a little at the time. I had bad luck and dealt with some representation that was not the best. The reality was that the big opportunities did not exist in Baltimore. This is something I am very passionate about and down the line I hope to go back to Baltimore and rebuild schools. The two major places where I grew up dancing and acting do not exist anymore and it is hard for me to even talk about with girls who reach out to me and ask me what to do. It hurts that I can’t give them real answers. Not everyone can just skip town like I did, which is why I want to figure out a way of creating new arts programs for children in Baltimore who want to do what I did.
Imagista: Do you find there is a correlation between acting and dancing?
Lex Scott Davis: Dancing and acting for me go hand in hand. When you are on stage performing as a dancer, you are exercising every part of your body to tell a story. Your entire body is your instrument and your goal is to reach everyone watching. There is so much emotion coming through your body and your face.
At first I was very nervous about speaking on a stage but as I got older and more confident in my voice and my ability to impact a room, I started to experiment with having speaking parts on stage. In my college we would incorporate a lot of visual arts while we were performing.
Dress: Vitor Zerbinato @VitorZerbinato
Imagista: You portrayed the iconic Toni Braxton in the movie “Un-Break My Heart”, what was that experience like for you?
Lex Scott Davis: That experience was so exciting. I was so anxious and nervous because to play a legend is a huge responsibility. Not only was I playing a legend but I was playing someone that everyone knows and sees on a weekly basis because of her reality television show. There were no mistakes to be made and I had huge shoes to fill.
I was fortunate enough to have Toni Braxton present on set with us and through pre-production as well. This gave me the chance to speak with her and watch her, the way she speaks, the way she moves, the way she interacts with people. I learnt so much by just watching her. What attracted me the most is what she did when she thought no one was watching her. That is how I picked up on her nuances and her way of being.
I was so nervous to be honest. It was my first film ever I had never done anything major until that project so I was extra nervous. I did not even have an agent or a demo-reel, I didn’t even know how to read a call sheet. So to have this crash course on how to both make a movie and be the lead in the movie was a lot of learning in very little time.
At the end of the day I feel that every obstacle we are placed in is for a reason and if I am somewhere it is because I am meant to be there. I just had to build my confidence and everything ended up flowing so naturally from dancing to my relationship with my cast members, everything just turned out great and I think it is because I changed my perspective.
Imagista: You have a lot of new projects coming out including The First Purge and SuperFly. Can you tell me a little bit about each of these projects?
Lex Scott Davis: Audiences can expect two completely different performances. As an actor, there are so many different characters to play with and so many experiences to draw from.
The First Purge is the one we shot first. It was such an awesome experience. I remember during the audition process, I really wanted that role. I was praying for it, which is rare because usually I just go in with the mentality of “what is meant to be will be.” However, this role was speaking to me. I was so attached to it because of the dialogue I believe it will create. It’s a political piece and a social commentary piece just as much as it is a thriller. I am really excited to see how people will perceive it. The character I get to play is this huge voice in her community. She is an activist and wants to do right by her people as well as defend her brother and the people that seek safety from her. To have that leadership role, as a black woman, is such an amazing opportunity and experience. I wanted it to be a story that I got to tell.
When talking about SuperFly, there are some similarities but the projects are so different from one another. I play Georgia who is one of the two women who are in a relationship with the same man who is a Priest. Georgia takes charge at times and what I love about her is her dominance and poise and how she balances the two. There are a lot of situations in the film where Georgia is the voice of reason and the most mature thinker out of those around her. Priest confides in her and she gives him the best advice out of everyone in the project (I swear I am not being biased). I love that there is a level of quality between the men and women in SuperFly. She balances work and home, legal and illegal conversations that go on through their world.
Imagista: Do you have any advice for young women who look up to you?
Lex Scott Davis: I believe in being uniquely who you are. I understand the idea of looking up to someone who we see as amazing or beautiful. People need to understand that the reason these people are in that position is because they were shamelessly themselves and uniquely who they are. I believe in owning your own voice and owning your own style. It is beautiful to be inspired by but I think that you should always add your own twist. I have been inspired by a lot of women but at the end of the day I am always Lex.
I really want people to push hard for whatever it is they want to do. Ask questions, seek guidance and do whatever you need to do to make your dream a reality, because it is possible.
I also want to add that everyone’s journey is different and just because someone wants to do exactly what I did, the path to getting there will always be different. I don’t wish the obstacles I went through on anyone else, it is all a matter of trial and error and growing up.
Trust your path and trust the obstacles.
Imagista: Who has been your biggest inspiration and or influence as an artist?
Lex Scott Davis: There are so many people that come to my mind for all different reasons. I think just speaking on a more personal level I really look up to the women in my family. Specifically my mother and my two aunts, they are all entrepreneurs in their own way, they are all creative in their own way. To watch them take a leap of faith was truly inspiring to me. I grew up with that kind of energy and strong women around me had a lot to do with how I turned out. I love seeing women in charge, I love seeing women lift each other up- I think it is really beautiful to see.
Imagista: If you only had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lex Scott Davis: I’ll say seafood salad, but the real kind from Baltimore. Not from anywhere else, just the one from Baltimore. My aunt who is a cook gave me the recipe and it is so authentic to where I am from. The secret of it is real crab meat and old bay seasoning, I could eat seafood salad for the rest of my life.