Dominique Fishback isn’t afraid of overexposure. As prostitute Darlene on HBO’s The Deuce, the New York native is eager to swap her athletic wear for booty shorts and crop tops.
“She gives me an excuse to wear risqué clothes,” Fishback exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It’s exciting. My friends are shocked to see me play a character so confident with her sexuality.”
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With the 1971-set drama about NYC’s sex trade heading into its finale, Darlene and her pals from the street are finally learning to gain back power from the pimps.
Fishback, who is bringing her one-woman show back to NYC on December 4, bares all to Us.
Us Weekly: What’s Darlene’s mind-set going into the finale?
Dominique Fishback: She’s getting restless. She has two choices in front of her: the porn industry, which is not for her, or the massage parlors. There, she’s even more in a box. The rooms are so small. She hears everything that someone says, that someone is doing. At least on the streets she can walk around, see fresh faces. She doesn’t know what she wants out of life, but she’s realizing she does have control. Now, she’s weighing her options.
Us: What made her realize that?
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DF: Going back home. When she left to go to New York, she didn’t go to be a sex worker. I personally said she went because she wanted to act and follow this dream. Her town was too small. But I think going home and coming back made her realize that she’s not where she wants to be. She is still young and she can do something different. I feel like she gets bored easily and never stays in one place for too long. Now, the time for her might be running out.
Us: Do you ever want to shake and be like, “Darlene, there is more out there”?
DF: I don’t think about it like that! A Deuce fan on Twitter said, “We want you to get out of the life” and then I said, “Do you really want her to get out? You won’t see her as much!” In my heart, I want her to get out of that life. I want something more for her. But I get excited to see her around and see what she’s going to do next as part of the Deuce world.
Us: How do you relate to her?
DF: I grew up in Brooklyn and I just remember I felt trapped. I was working at a movie theater and I was traveling home late, walking down the street saying, “I don’t want to do this.” I had to remind myself that I was working hard and that one day I would be walking down these streets at night, coming from a set and it would be all worth it. We connect like that, in our dreams.
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Us: How does the dynamic change between the woman and their controlling men?
DF: The pimps are getting desperate. They’re losing grip but exercising power because, moving forward, they’re not going to have any. When the girls start to realize they can do movies, be the star and be in control, that’s when things shift. Some people may feel like it’s impossible for a young girl who has been trafficked to have power over someone but a pimp is human too. They have their weaknesses. Nobody is stone cold.
Us: Let’s talk research. Have you met with women in the business?
DF: I actually had a woman write me on Instagram that she turned on her TV and said, “Darlene is me!” We don’t see stories like those with characters this full. Now, people who are in the life get to hear their voices. That’s so powerful. There are so many reasons why so many of these people get into this. This is diverse storytelling.
#larrybrown his #darlingdarlene . I can’t believe it’s only two more episodes left in season 1. Don’t miss us too much or do ??#thedeucehbo #thedeuce
A post shared by DOMINIQUE FISHBACK (@domfishback) on Oct 18, 2017 at 11:33am PDT
Us: The women on the show really support each other. How does the resonate on set?
DF: From the beginning, we were going to see movies together and doing painting parties. I can call anyone of them at any moment and they’ll be there for me. Being on set and doing content like this, it can get scary. Maggie [Gyllenhaal] and the producers make it so safe for you. Maggie is aware of what’s going on around for the younger actresses and makes us comfortable. I really appreciate having someone who has been in the business a long time looking out for me.
Us: Do friends and family flinch seeing you naked on screen?
DF: I had a viewing party for the first episode of The Deuce. At first, I wasn’t going to do it because Darlene is topless in that episode. I talked to my mom and she said, “Dom, you’re an actress playing a character.” Once my mom said that, I was able to feel more comfortable. It’s always just been me and my mom. When I was younger, if I felt like I couldn’t tell my mom something then I knew it shouldn’t do it because we always had such an open and close relationship. Just having her support in doing the show made everyone else’s opinion not really matter that much to me.
The Deuce finale airs on HBO Sunday, October 29 at 9 p.m. For more on her solo play, Subverted, check out abingdontheatre.org/ghostlight.
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