Lesley-Ann Brandt is a South African actress best known for her role in Netflix's 'Lucifer' as Mazikeen. In 2015, the actress married her six-year boyfriend, actor Chris Payne Gilbert, and in July 2017, the pair had their son, Kingston Payne Brandt-Gilbert. Lucifer's final season premiered in September 2021. She recently starred in Shudder's Horror Noire, a project that showcases horror stories from Black directors and screenwriters, and it was recently announced that she will star in and produce the drama series Hanover Street, which will be produced by Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary's Revelations Entertainment.
In recent writing for Self Magazine, “Lucifer”, actor Lesley-Ann Brandt has detailed her struggles and experiences about her abortion and the pregnancy that came three years later. She also spoke against the anti-abortion law that was recently passed in Texas.
Lesley-Ann Brandt found out that she was pregnant seven years ago but was aware that neither she nor her then-boyfriend and now-husband were ready to raise a child. In her writing, she has shared that she was seven months pregnant towards the end of the shooting of season two of ‘Lucifer’, and was performing her modified stunts with a tight around her ligament.
The actress shared that whenever she would walk, her baby would move and hit her sciatic nerve and caused her left leg to collapse beneath her which followed to two days of painful labor for her; prodromal labor which is described as labor where you have all the signs of active labor but with little to no progression but with god’s grace and will power she had in her, Lesley-Ann Brandt made it to the other side with a healthy baby.
Further, she mentioned that actors don’t get paid maternity leave and in their contract, pregnancy is considered a disability. She mentioned, “As the main breadwinner in our household at the time, I had no choice but to return to work a mere six weeks after my son was born. I did have an incredible postpartum doula, a group of fellow mothers I could lean on, and of course, my husband. But I wasn’t coping, I was drowning. My body had barely healed when I was suddenly back to work, breastfeeding through the nights and showing up on set the next morning, often pretending to be fine”.
Lesley-Ann Brandt shared that breastfeeding was probably the hardest part she had to do physically, even more than giving birth. She described that she was overproducing milk and her son couldn’t latch properly, so her breasts were not getting adequately drained. Lesley mentioned that she pumped used cabbage leaves, pressed on despite bleeding and chapped nipples, and quoted, “I cried through feedings and thought about quitting more than once. I had to have a painful massage to unclog blocked ducts to avoid getting mastitis”.
In her writing, Lesley-Ann Brandt wrote that her husband use to wait for her with their son in the trailer, and she would race to feed him. Lesley mentioned that she use to feel guilty if she showed up in the trailer, and he would be crying, but she was firm and determined on sets. The actress said, “My superpower is being able to soldier on, no matter what, no matter how hard, chin up and keep moving. But eventually, it takes its toll. And looking back now, I suspect that I experienced postpartum depression to some degree”.
Furthermore in her writing, she mentioned that the first time she got pregnant two years into her relationship with her then-boyfriend and now husband, Chris Payne Gilbert, but none of the two wanted children. The actress booked an appointment at a private abortion clinic because the couple knew that they were not ready to raise a child. Lesley-Ann Brandt added, “Ironically, I got a call that day to test for a show where women couldn’t become pregnant. I auditioned in front of Warner Bros executives, producers, and the director, and booked that pilot while pregnant. At age 32, my abortion gave me choice, autonomy over my own body, and opportunities in my career”.
Lucifer actress mentioned that people have abortions for many reasons and considering her story, she was not read and that’s a good enough reason. Lesley-Ann Brandt further quoted, “I didn’t want to be a mother at that moment in my life, so I made a decision that was best for me and my relationship. I could afford to have that abortion. I also had the means to start my family without skipping a beat in my career. Millions of women do not have those luxuries, with many being forced into a situation they don’t want and are not ready for.”
She wrote that the truth is that banning abortion will not stop abortion, but it just makes already vulnerable people’s lives more difficult. The actress added, it stops safe abortion because, rest assured, wealthy people will still have access to abortion services. Lesley-Ann Brandt wrote, “It is the poor who suffer. It is those people already struggling who will bear the brunt of archaic legislation and fake cries of “pro-life.” At the very same time that the Texas anti-abortion bill was passed, legislators in that state made it easier to buy a gun and harder to vote”.
Lesley-Ann Brandt lastly added, that in a country like the United States, with poor health care and no federally mandated maternity leave, and where women are still fighting for equal pay and adequate childcare support, how can anyone question a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her and her life? She added that she is now off crutches and pain medication and is back to her auditions, meetings and has started her physiotherapy. “Knowing my body, I’ll soon be back doing stunt work and working out at the level I’m used to. I’ll push through the way I always do, and I will continue to speak up and fight for women to have autonomy over their bodies. I will support those who decide to carry to term and those who don’t. And I will fight to ensure we are treated as more than just “host bodies” in every aspect of society”, Lesley added at the end of her writing.
Lesley-Ann Brandt ended her detailed letter by expressing her love for her son, Kingston, and she said having him was the best decision of her life. Lesley-Ann Brandt is dedicated to making a difference in the world; she is a vegan, a passionate philanthropist, and a loving mother.
Information Source: SELF Magazine