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"It's a revolution." P-Valley on Stan is your next unmissable show.

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.

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“Uncle Clifford is a beautiful, black and non-binary queer and uses the pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’,” Nicco Annan told Mamamia. “As a gay man and an actor, it was amazing for me to be able to live the full life that Uncle Clifford is living in the show. It was life-affirming for me, for the writer to acknowledge that these people exist.

“Katori has a symphony in her head when creating these characters and I worked very closely with the design team. I wanted to be very clear that Uncle Clifford’s make-up is not drag makeup.

“There are more people aware of the drag world now because of RuPaul’s Drag Race and other visibility that is happening but this is another level. It’s a different part of our community.

“When you watch P-Valley I hope that you are feeling the revolution happening literally in your own home and in your own heart,” he continued. “There’s a lot going on in the world right now.

“People are starting to be being seen and heard. I just hope that when people watch this show, they can make that same kind of revolution happen in their own life.”

"It’s about strong, wonderful women who just happen to be strippers." Image: Stan.

For actress Shannon Thornton, who portrays The Pynk dancer Keyshawn, there was an extra level of responsibility tinging her performance, as her character is suffering from domestic abuse.

"Keyshawn's got a big amazing personality but she’s also really insecure about being a dark-skinned black girl," Shannon told Mamamia. "She’s also a mum and has an abusive boyfriend. She's really chasing a dream to get out of that small town.

"It’s a job for Keyshawn. In that first episode, she hands off her baby to Uncle Clifford before getting up on stage and after being beaten up by her boyfriend.

"But when she’s on that stage,  she’s a superstar."

"I think this part of her story is going to touch so many women, especially women who are currently dealing with that situation themselves. People's hearts are going to break for her, that’s for sure.

"There’s a huge stigma around women who do sex work and women who work as strippers," she continued. "Oftentimes they are just summed up as sluts or whores and nothing more. We really bring life to these women, we make them human.

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"Our cinematographers and cameramen shot us the way you would athletes. There's a scene where Mercedes is at the top of the pole and she’s doing these incredible moves but then the music stops for the audience. So you’re tapping into her mind and you see the concentration it takes to be a pole dancer, it’s dangerous work and you could die."

Shannon Thornton as The Pynk dancer Keyshawn in P-Valley. Image: Stan.

Actress Skyler Joy's character Gidget falls on the other side of the spectrum, she sees stripping and pole dancing as an art form. It's her chosen profession rather than a last resort.

"Gidget is a second-generation pole dancer at The Pynk, it's actually her dream to compete at the World Pole Dancing Championships," Skyler told Mamamia. 

"She sees pole dancing as an athletic sport. Throughout the series, you see what she goes through outside the club because she really uses The Pynk as an escape.

"One day I’d be shooting a scene at the club, dancing in a wig, covered in tattoos and heaps of makeup. I’d get home at 3am and the next day I'd be shooting a scene at Gidget's home, which is a trailer.

"I found a part of her story I really related to. I grew up in a home with a foster care system and all the sisters I grew up with had a history that was not beautiful, but very painful. And a lot of their stories could relate to Gidget's personal life.

"I actually reached out to one of them before filming, because I felt her life mirrored Gidget’s and I was able to use some of her experiences.

"It’s about making people feel alone at what they're going through."

At its core, P-Valley is a story about dreams, sisterhood and survival. It's also utterly unmissable.

P-Valley premieres Sunday July 12 only on Stan.


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