The film industry is fascinated with Virginia when it comes to location. Homeland shot its seventh season in Richmond and used most of the city to play the part of Washington D.C. Historic buildings, beaches, mountains and beautiful views; the versatility is a directors dream.
Which brings me to Javon Davis, one of the most consistent and versatile actors on-the-rise, known for his role as LaShawn in the award-winning Daughter’s In America web series.
The US Army veteran-actor-model-entrepreneur gave me a few minutes of his time to discuss various topics, including his brand and latest project. Check out the interview below.
Introduce yourself to the viewers! Let them know your name, and where you’re from.
Javon Davis, I was born and raised in Richmond, VA.
You’re a multi-talented artist, gifted in both acting and modeling. What brings you more joy, acting or modeling?
I enjoy both acting and modeling. I’m a deep thinker, so it’s only fitting that I say acting brings me more joy. As a deep thinker, I often wonder what makes a person become a certain way or what in God’s name went wrong. Quite often it allows an audience to see themseleves or it may remind them of someone in their own journey of life. We all may live different lives, however we all live and feel the same emotions. That’s something that connects us all as a human race.
What were you doing before modeling and acting?
Before modeling and acting I was just a nerd in school. All through school, I was serious about education. I’m not sure where that came from, but I gravitated towards it early in life.
What are your thoughts on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan?
That’s a heavy question. For those who are not familiar with me, I’m actually a veteran and Afghanistan is where I met poverty at an entirely different scope from what I’ve seen in the United States. The US withdrawl from Afghanistan was a tough decision to make. As a soldier, I have to ask myself was the mission complete. And the answer is NO. To sit at home and watch snippets of the Taliban celebrating the U.S withdrawal is a gut check. So many lives lost over the 20 years and it’s depressing. I forsee the humanitarian aide being a complete catastrophe and that will be another war in itself.
After your tour in Afghanistan, you were discovered on Twitter. Who reached out to you, and how did that open doors for you?
I was discovered on Twitter by Leighala Jimenez Hall. She is the wife of legendary singer/songwriter Ellis Hall. She invited me down to Atlanta where we sat and talked about the business and got to know each other. I also met some of her family in Alabama. Navigating the acting arena alone versus someone who can show me, makes a huge difference. Having her knowledge, support and encouragement allows me to focus on my talent rather than worry about when the next opportunity will come.
How and when exactly did you realize your passion for acting & theatre?
I didn’t catch that bug/passion until people started saying, “you look like you belong on TV.” Some friends of mine call me Hollywood or face. Once I saw Denzel as Alonzo in Training Day, I knew I wanted next.
Having a background in modeling can be beneficial when transitioning into acting. What was it like for you making the move from model agencies to movie sets? How did you get your start in acting?
Modeling set the tone, I began to get more attention. Thus, it was only a matter of time before someone asked, “Have you ever considered acting?” My first commercial was a local commercial for ParK & Go, a business that many airports may have located near them.
Your filmography includes the movie Harriet, and the TV series Homeland. What was it like filming those particular projects?
To be involved and witness the success of these projects was phemonal. For Harriet, I actually had to take lessons on rowing to understand the mechanics of using the oar. In Virginia, they took us out in the river where we practiced over and over in rowing to make it look good on camera.To anyone who wonders what it’s like to be on set, it’s long! Often the the same take over and over until they feel it’s perfect. Homeland made its debut October 2, 2011. It’s kind of full circle because in 2014, the show focused a little on Afghanistan in it’s story line with botched drone strikes on terrorists. I met Mandy Patikin who played as Saul Berenson while at fitting for wardrobe. In the show he is the CIA mentor to Claire Danes who play as Carrie Mathison. As I’m doing this interview, it’s too surreal because I’ve recently met some people within the Central Intelligence Agency.
I’ve been a fan of your work for a while. You really have a presence on screen. Does that come naturally or what are your secrets?
I wouldnt say it comes naturally. As I continue to grow in life, I’m constantly refining things. As the saying goes – The person you want to be is already within you.
Do you still get nervous going in front of the camera?
Each time that camera goes in front of my face, I get nervous. On the other side of the camera are many people watching, and it can be awkward. The trick is to center the nervousness to levels where it humbles you, but also allows you to tap into your greatness.
How do you prepare for and approach a role? How quickly can you assume a new role?
Preparing for a role, I often focus on the litte details, but it’s important for the development of the character. How the person walks, moves, his posture. What makes the character tick. What is the ticking time bomb in his mind that’s waiting to go off. His body language when trying to hide something. A great example would be Will Smith in Seven Pounds.
What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
The challenge about bringing a script to life is allowing yourself to become someone else without holding back.
Every industry, including the entertainment industry, is full of competition; what does Javon do to stand out amidst competition?
The competition in the entertainment industry is very full, however I bring a very disciplined tone. With my life experience in the military as well as Drill Sergeant, I seek nothing but perfection. It’s part of my total brand.
What makes a good scene partner?
A good scene partner is someone who is not afraid to push the enevolpe for the art itself. Being fearless is not something everyone can pull off.
If someone made your life into a movie, who would you want to play you?
That would probably be a toss up between Trevor Jackson from SuperFly, Michael B. Jordan, and Daniel Kaluuya.
Who are your favorite designers?
I’m very low key when it comes to clothes. I’m more of, if it looks good on me I’ll buy it.
Have you experienced any hindrances or setbacks in your career because of your race?
I haven’t experienced any setbacks due to my race. I’ve heard many stories about this issue, however I’ve yet to be faced with that in acting.
What do you want most from a director? Who are your favorite movie directors, and why?
A director who takes charge and knows what he or she wants, but also allows you to be in your element when the camera is on. My favorite director is Deon Taylor. His energy is crazy, and he believes in his work. He has NOW and that movie Black & Blue was perfect timing, especially with what was going on in society at the time. It opened another space for dialogue on important issues when it comes to policing. I met him in Utah around Januray 2020, at a small bar/restaurant at like 2:00am.
Let’s talk about the success of your Javon Davis luxury fashion and fitness brand. You’re both the creative and the business head of your company. How do you balance your time between those positions, being a fitness influencer, modeling and your acting career?
I’m not going to sugarcoat it and make it sound like I have it all under control & all balanced. It’s a lot to manage and it comes with a lot of stress. I just try to remind myself to breathe and take breaks in the midst of so many things. Family and close friends keep me grounded.
What are you current projects? What can we expect from you this year?
I’m working on a project now with Virgil Odell called Solemn Oath, where I portray an attorney that wins all of his cases despite his clients having all the evidence saying they’re guilty. The project should have been completed by now, but COVID-19 set us back tremendously. The project should be available by the end of the year.
Where can our viewers follow you on social media, and where can they buy your eyewear, apparel, and merchandise?
Facebook: Javon Davis