In the realm of pop culture, strippers are often relegated to specific stereotypes and storylines.
They’re either seen as broken victims (Natalie Portman’s Alice in Closer), doing the job as an act of desperation while looking for an escape (Demi Moore’s Erin in Striptease) or just plain villainous (Salma Hayek’s Santanico Pandemonium in From Dusk till Dawn).
Stan’s new drama P-Valley, however, takes a very different and refreshing tact, taking the time to flesh out the lives and stories of the people who work at The Pynk, a strip club located deep in the Mississippi Delta.
Created by award-winning playwright Katori Hall and based on her play Pussy Valley, P-Valley delves into the uneasy sisterhood at play in the club, the backstories of the dancers and the athleticism, danger and power that comes from stripping.
Take a look at the trailer for P-Valley, premiering on Stan. Post continues below.
If by some chance the mention of the gritty and glossy world of strippers turns you off, then know that one of the series’ lead actresses Elarica Johnson initially felt just the same way.
The British actress portrays Autumn Night, a newcomer to The Pynk who is shown the ropes by veteran dancer Mercedes (Brandee Evans) after arriving in town hiding a dark secret.
“If I’m being really honest, when my agent first told me about the project I thought ‘hhmmm, I’m just not sure’,” she told Mamamia.
“What we’ve seen far of strippers, whether it be for TV or film, is that you never get to see them as real people. They are there for shock value, it’s just about them being these half-naked girls in a club. You hardly ever get to see their faces or their bodies, but this is a different look at strippers.
“I wasn’t sure about it, but then my agent told me Katori Hall had written it, who I only knew her from her plays. This is the first TV show based on her plays, so I was really intrigued and wanted to be part of it.”
“It’s about strong, wonderful women who just happen to be strippers.”
The Pynk is lovingly but firmly run by gender non-conforming owner, Uncle Clifford, played by Nicco Annan, who dons wigs, makeup and dramatic outfits alongside her dancers each night.
Uncle Clifford is desperately trying to keep The Pynk kicking along financially, knowing that it’s both a home for the employees and patrons and a safe place for people rejected from the community. She knows many queer men and women who’ve been murdered in their homes in this little Mississippi town.