Shannon Thornton speaks to Female First all about Keyshawn's journey in P-Valley / Picture Credit: Starz
Shannon Thornton speaks to Female First all about Keyshawn's journey in P-Valley / Picture Credit: Starz

Following an incredible debut season, hit STARZ TV series P-Valley is making its return. We caught up with star of the show, Shannon Thornton, to discuss what the future holds for her character Keyshawn, how the pandemic plays a part in the new episodes and more!

Your character, Keyshawn went through quite the journey, both emotionally and physically, in Season 1 of P-Valley. Where do we find her when Season 2 starts?

You find her really… she’s dealing with the consequences of her actions [in] Season 1. You also see her in this new space, where she is finally enjoying the benefits of all of her hard work. She’s very successful now, she’s on tour with Lil’ Murda, you see her face on her own line of products, so Keyshawn has had this big glow-up this season and it’s a fun journey she goes on.

How did you find the fan response following the first season for both the show and your character in particular?

The fan response was explosive. It was absolutely incredible; we were all just so happy. I expected the show to do really well, because it’s written so well and it’s shot so beautifully, that I knew it was going to be special to people but, I had no idea people were gonna get tattoos!

I remember people dressing up like us for Halloween, which was really fun, and people were actually finding what we had actually worn in the show – I think someone found Lil’ Murda’s blue jacket and wore it for their Halloween costume, which was cool. P-Valley watch parties… it’s been really cool to see how the fans have just embraced us and really enjoyed the show.

The show is really celebratory of women and, both grounded and realistic when it comes to telling a variety of different female-centric stories, which I imagine is part of what led you to take on this role - what else factored into your decision to join this series?

I fell in love with the writing and, with Keyshawn in particular. There are certain parts of, just her personality and her story that really resonate with and really touched me and, I just thought there’s absolutely no-one else who could play this role but me, I had to audition. It’s such a fun show and it was something that was very refreshing. I hadn’t seen writing like this in all my 11 years of acting, I hadn’t come across a script like this, so I knew it was very, very unique and very special.

We heard that the series will include the recent pandemic, so how was it bringing that very real-life aspect into the show?

It was very real, because we were living that so, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic so, behind-the-scenes, we’re also, in-between takes, putting our masks on and face shields and all of that, social distancing, testing three days a week and all of that stuff. I actually thought it was pretty genius of Katori [Hall, creator] to reflect on the times that we’re in now and focus on what the world is like for a space that’s just – the strip club is for gathering, so to be forced to socially distance and see how everyone at The Pynk adjusts, it gets really creative and finds creative ways to stay open but still follow COVID protocols, it’s actually really cool to see.

Picture Credit: Starz
Picture Credit: Starz

Can you tell us a little bit about a typical day on the set of the show? If indeed there are any typical days on a show like P-Valley!

There is no set like a P-Valley set! There is no typical day. I think one thing that has been a constant for us is music. In the hair and makeup trailers, we’ll put in requests and it gets really fun, then we’ll have battles like, ‘nope, my song choice is better, put that thing on right there!’ We’re just always dancing and having a really good time, I think that’s something that’s been a constant, we make it fun.

How have you found carving out a career in this industry, both as a woman and from a minority ethnic background?

Now is our time. It’s a really beautiful time we’re in, where marginalised groups of people are being able to tell their stories in ways that we haven’t before. So, I’ve been really fortunate to come across some really beautiful scripts with writers of colour and work with directors of colour and women, it’s really amazing that not only in the last season, but this season we get to work with all female directors. It’s been a really interesting and very fortunate time for me being a woman and also a minority.

We like to ask all of the people we chat to for Female First three questions! First, which women in your life that you admire have helped shape you as a person?

That would be my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother for sure. All of them are just extremely thoughtful and kind and resilient and, just super encouraging and, all of them have just loved on me in ways that have just really helped mould me into who I am today. I always say I have three moms!

Secondly, who have been some of your favourite women to work with?

Oh my gosh! Some of my favourite women to work with… I absolutely adore Katori Hall of course, I think she’s great, I think she’s a great listener, I think she’s just amazing to collaborate with and, my cast! I have a showmance with Elarica Johnsonwho plays Autumn Night, she’s one of my besties so, it’s been a real joy to work with her and to have scenes with someone who’s been a really, really close friend.

Finally, what does the idea of being a woman mean to you?

Women are so special. Our bodies are able to bring forth life! We’re able to bear children and, if you want something done right, you ask a woman! I just absolutely love being a woman and I think we’re really special beings.

Picture Credit: Starz
Picture Credit: Starz

Following its Season 2 premiere on Friday, June 3rd 2022, new episodes of P-Valley will air every Sunday, beginning June 12th, 2022 on STARZPLAY. Season 1 is also currently available on the streaming platform.

MORE: P-Valley Season 2 trailer: The critically acclaimed drama is back for more

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