The 33-year-old actress on what it’s like to be the first Black woman to play Batwoman, being open about her bisexuality, and staying grounded.

When it dawned on me that I would be the first Black woman to play [Batwoman], I felt honored. I was a big superhero kid—I loved action. So to be an example to other little girls means a lot. I’m proof that it’s possible.

I was talking to my mom—we had to have a conversation when I got this role because I knew my sexuality would be discussed. She and I had never talked about it. She was like, “You don’t have to talk to me about it. I’m your mother, I’ve known since you were a child.” Once that was said, I didn’t have to speak to anyone else about it because my mother knew me and understood me.

I’m an empath, so I’m easily affected by other people’s emotions. I’ve learned that I have to constantly empty my cup because it fills with other people’s stuff. I’m a huge meditator, and that helps. I have a room in my place that’s strictly for meditating. I have a beautiful handmade rug in there—it’s special because it wasn’t made in a factory; someone spent time making it. I’m also an avid journaler—sometimes you just need to write things out. Doing those things helps keep me grounded.

The best advice I’ve been given is that it’s OK to say no. I’m a people pleaser, and I do not like disappointing people. Learning that lesson has really changed my life. I’m an introvert, and learning it was OK to tell people I didn’t want to go out—and that I didn’t need a reason—was huge. When I started to say no and instead focus on replenishing myself, it was such a healthier place for me to be. 

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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Health January/February 2021