Maya Mani interview: ‘Batwoman’ costume designer

A new Batwoman picked up the cape and cowl in Season 2 of The CW series “Batwoman.” The show shifted its narrative focus to Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), an ex-convict who takes over the Batwoman mantle from Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) as a way to protect Gotham City and avenge her mother’s death.

With that change came a new opportunity for the show itself and especially costume designer Maya Mani. As the longtime Arrowverse fixture tells Gold Derby during the Meet the Experts: Costume Design panel, creating a new Batwoman costume with the show’s in star in mind was paramount to the process. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“Javicia Leslie is obviously a very different actress, she brings a new perspective to the role,” Mani says. “A different physicality. She was a track runner, she was in the Army — in real life, not her character. So I wanted to showcase her physical strength by changing her costume and celebrating her physicality.”

SEE Watch our Meet the Experts panels

Leslie is notable for being the first Black actress to play Batwoman in a live-action DC Comics property. Mani says that she felt the responsibility to reflect Leslie’s background in the wardrobe.

“The original wig had to go,” she says, adding, “I think I added just more curves to it. Javicia has curves, let’s celebrate them, let’s show them off. It’s part of her strength and it’s part of her being a woman of color and her physique, so that’s where I went with that.”

Mani has worked on a number of Arrowverse shows including “The Flash” and “Arrow.” She says working in the superhero genre is a balance of respecting the original designs from the comic book pages and using her own ideas.

“In the end, it’s really just my opinion. I do try and pay respects to the original but then I riff on it,” she says.

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UPLOADED May 27, 2021 7:28 pm