‘Lucifer’ actress Lesley-Ann Brandt talks about Hollywood life

Exclusive: Lesley-Ann Brandt speaks out about women empowerment, #BLM and what to expect from season five of ‘Lucifer’

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Netflix drops season five of Lucifer on Friday 21 August and South African-born actress Lesley-Ann Brandt is one of its stars.

She gave The South African an exclusive glimpse into her time on set, as well as what fans can expect from the fantasy drama series.

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Image: John P Fleenor/Netflix © 2020

The Hollywood actress was born and raised in Cape Town, Mitchell’s Plain. After matriculating from Pinelands High, she emigrated with her family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1999.

In 2009, Brandt landed her first big acting role in the hit New Zealand comedy series Diplomatic Immunity as Leilani Fa’auigaese. She then went on to play Naevia in the international TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

She moved to Hollywood in 2010 and has since starred in various television shows such as Chuck, CSI:NY and Gotham. Her big break however was playing the demon Mazikeen (also known as Maze) on the hit show Lucifer.

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Image: Supplied

Season five of ‘Lucifer’

With five seasons of Lucifer already completed, Brandt is a veteran of the series. As well as acting, however, Brandt also does most of her own stunts.

“It comes down to what the actor or actress feels comfortable doing and what they can do convincingly. I’m fortunate that stunts are something I love and am good at,” said Brandt.

So far, she said, she had no significant injuries from stunts, only a few “bumps and bruises here and there”.

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Image: Supplied

Brandt’s most entertaining stunt

We want to know, of course, what her most entertaining stunt was. The answer: “Me in a fight versus 10 guys this season. It’s going to be epic!”

Looking at the end of season four, fans have been dying to know what the Eve and Maze relationship dynamic is after Maze professes her love for Eve.  

Brandt urges fans to tune in on Friday to find out, as “it’s a wild ride”.

The actress also says to watch out for a character called Trixie, played by Scarlett Estevez.

“She does a scene at the tail end of this season. I literally couldn’t stop crying in between takes,” said Brandt.

Initially season five of Lucifer was to be the final season but there are talks about a sixth season, unconfirmed at this stage.

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Image: Supplied

What it’s like to play Mazikeen?

Playing the role of Maze has become a “second skin”, said Brandt.

“We both are protective of people we care about,” she said.

“We do not suffer fools and have no problem setting people straight or having uncomfortable conversations.

Brandt on playing Mazikeen

“If you lose our trust you lose us, period. We are tough but extremely sensitive at the same time. We love fashion and we care madly and deeply about family and friends.”

Brandt said the most challenging aspect had been keeping her portrayal authentic and nuanced.

When watching Lucifer, the audience sees Mazikeen often challenging society’s expectations of  women. She does this in how she acts as well as the way she dresses, and more.

Brandt said people often labelled women of colour who spoke up as “difficult”, “aggressive” or “intimidating”.

“That’s a cop out to be honest. I don’t subscribe to that type of labelling.”

- ‘Lucifer’ actress Lesley-Ann Brandt talks about Hollywood life

What women’s empowerment means to Brand

Women’s empowerment means respect, gender equality and so much more to Brandt.

“I want our young girls to have the same opportunities, I want equal pay, I want equal education,” Brandt said.

“I want young girls and women to dream and for them to have the opportunities to realise those dreams.

“And I want South Africans to stop killing women and for them to be held accountable by other men.”

Brandt is unapologetic and not afraid to be vocal about a cause she believes in.

She said when girls were raised, educated and taught to see themselves as equals, they were unstoppable.

“Traditionally feminine traits like sensitivity and empathy are not a negative thing to be taken advantage of,” added Brandt.

Giving back to South Africa

The actress is affiliated with a handful of charity organisations in South Africa, including the Earthchild Project.

“I simply reached out to help. Nothing is required of me but I’m committed to helping the kids in the communities they work in. I see myself reflected in their faces.

“Life could have dealt me different cards so I’m doing my part.”

She said it had always been a dream to have a charity foundation in South Africa “servicing children in Cape Town and focusing on the arts”. 

Black Lives Matter

Being a person of colour in the US film industry has been “tough” for the actress.

“I also think it’s important to acknowledge that the world has always rewarded a lighter hue, even in my case,” she said.

“What that also comes with is people feeling comfortable with casual racism in my presence as if I don’t exist right in front of them.

“My accent is disarming. My hair texture is disarming, I confuse a lot of people over here. It’s been a journey navigating that to be honest,” she said.

The Black Lives Matter movement has a lot of meaning for her.

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Image: Supplied

Aside from hearing and comforting friends reliving their own trauma, Brandt recalls her father talking about his apartheid trauma experiences. These included stories of police brutality.

“It was and still is so incredibly painful,” added Brandt.

Despite change occurring within the industry, she highlights that there is “much work to do”.

Overall, the actress is committed to “uplifting all black lives” in both the US and South Africa.

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