Starz’s latest drama is P-Valley, based on Katori Hall’s play of the same name (except in the play’s title, the “P” is “P*ssy”), tells the story of a group of women who work in a Mississippi Delta strip club called PYNK. Hall and the other producers and directors took great care to tell a story of sex workers without being exploitative or gratuitous and therefore every actor had a body double. They also went to great lengths to ensure everyone’s comfort on set.
But one star, Brandee Evans, chose not to use a body double. Here’s what you need to know about how grueling she discovered pole dancing can be, but why it was important to her to do it herself.
Evans is a Professional Dancer
Prior to landing her P-Valley role, Evans was a professional dancer and choreographer who worked with stars like Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg, and Katy Perry, according to Black Doctor. She told the site in 2015 that she fell in love with dancing in ninth grade when she made her high school dance team.
For P-Valley, Evans told the New York Times that she insisted on learning pole dancing and doing her own stunts — and she has the scars to prove it.
“I’m scarred up and I’ll be dropping that behind-the-scenes footage for y’all. But it’s worth it. I look at it and smile. I’m not even mad about it because I wanted to know what these ladies truly did,” said Evans, adding that these sex workers are athletes, something Hall wanted to emphasize on the show, in addition to telling their stories.
“We’re uplifting these women and giving them power by telling their stories,” Hall said. “Because narrative is power, story is power in this world. And everyone — I will say this, everyone — deserves their story to be told.”
P-Valley Season One Is On a Collision Course With Autumn’s Past
Starz describes P-Valley as a show where “down deep in the Mississippi Delta lies an oasis of grit and glitter in a rough patch of human existence where beauty can be hard to find. This southern-fried, hour-long drama tells the kaleidoscopic story of a little-strip-club-that-could and the big characters who come through its doors—the hopeful, the lost, the broken, the ballers, the beautiful, and the damned. Trap music meets film noir in this lyrical and atmospheric series that dares to ask what happens when small-town folk dream beyond the boundaries of the Piggly Wiggly and the pawnshop.”
The episode descriptions tease that in the premiere, viewers meet Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson), “a mysterious beauty with a harrowing past” who “washes up on the shores of the Pynk — Mississippi’s hottest ‘shake junt’ — seeking employment.” Mercedes Sundayz, “a night headlined by the club’s OG, brings unexpected trouble from a number of patrons.”
As the series goes on, surprising guests from Autumn’s past come back to haunt her, while at the club, souls are bared and deals are negotiated in the privacy booths. Eventually, Mercedes and Autumn will make major moves toward building new lives for themselves and surprising bonds will be formed as everyone fights to secure their future. But in the season finale, Autumn’s past finally catches up with her.
P-Valley airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.
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