Lex Scott Davis wants to be a different kind of movie star.
The actress stars in The First Purge as Nya, a community activist trying to stop her low-income neighborhood from participating in the Purge, an annual 12-hour window where murder is legal. The movie serves as a prequel to the popular thriller franchise and finds its heart and center in Nya’s story.
It made for a huge breakthrough for Davis, and she’s making sure her career is off to the right start.
“I’m not only worried about the glamorous side of it at all,” she says of her image. “Even in The First Purge, I’m not wearing makeup. I want younger actors and artists, or even younger women who aspire to be models one day, to see entertainers shown in different ways. Not just the glam and beauty.”
Davis grew up in Baltimore where she danced her whole life and even enrolled at Drexel University for the medium before moving to New York in 2013 to pursue acting. Two years later she starred as Toni Braxton in Lifetime’s Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart and she hasn’t slowed down since.
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With The First Purge getting her on screens all over the country, Davis is hoping this leads to more action roles in the future.
“I grew up watching Angelina Jolie be Lara Croft and kicking butt, and Zoe Saldana in Colombiana,” she explains, adding that she loved learning to do stunts for Purge. “So now I can finally start to learn that choreography — it was a huge learning experience. I’m all about the strong female leading role.”
Davis has a strong leading female role in Purge, which she admits stretched her when it came to her acting. The actress says she wanted to make sure Nya came across as a believable activist due to the importance these women have in communities all around the country.
“Her story isn’t necessarily the same upbringing I had, but I do know women who are so heroic without wearing capes. Someone like her exists in every city and I just wanted to service truth as much as I could,” Davis says. “She’s the voice of the people — she’s the resistance. She’s extremely aware of this scenario and wants to educate everyone else on the fact that this feels like a set up.”
The First Purge is in theaters now.