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“P-Valley,” the new Starz! series about the trials and tribulations of a group of exotic dancers working at a club in the heart of the Deep South, was shot by and stars all women.

The show has a female director, showrunner, executive producer and its creator, playwright Katori Hall, said that the all-female production staff filmed the show from the woman’s perspective.

Hall said she did try to hire male directors for “P-Valley,” but when she’d ask them what their idea of the female gaze was, they’d draw a blank.

“Nine times out of 10, the men really didn’t have an answer for it because they hadn’t had to think about it,” she said.

The behind the scenes team took great care with the show’s writing, editing and cinematography so that it aligned with the female gaze. For example, the team had a template for filming the actress’ bodies so that the camera doesn’t linger over them in an ogling way.

“We were going to appreciate a woman’s body,” she said, “but it was much more about the experience and what her body could do, versus how her body looked.”

Hall, a native of Memphis, TN, said strip clubs are cultural and social touchstones in the Deep South, where men and women flock for a night out or a major milestone.

“Having grown up down there, I actually went to strip clubs all the time,” Hall said, “bachelorette parties, birthday parties – a baby shower – it’s just part of your coming of age.”

She spent years in and out of strip clubs, interviewing more than 40 dancers for research in order to create the characters inhabiting “P-Valley’s” gritty nightspot in the Mississippi Delta.

“You step into that space and you see all kinds of people,” she said, “but the people who are the most impressive are the women who are up on that stage.”

“P-Valley” premieres July 12 on Starz!

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