"To Be or not to be, I will always be the greatest at whatever I do!” - Harriett D. Foy
We are excited for the premier of P-Valley tonight and we couldn't think of a better way to get ready than to sit with one of the stars, Harriet D. Foy, and get the inside scoop on who her character Patrice Woodbine is, what it was like to work with an all-female directing team and writer, and what makes her feel BOLD!
DR: When did you fall in love with creating stories and what has sustained that first love throughout the years?
HDF: I have been a creative person since I was in elementary school. I used to produce plays in my grandparent’s backyard in NC and when we lived in Brooklyn, I would make my friends be an imaginary choir and I would conduct them. What sustains me is the connection with the audience and how my performances may affect them. Nothing is more humbling than having an audience member tell you that they have been changed by your performance.
DR: You went to an HBCU. How did that impact the way your experience of art making?
HDF: Yes, I am HBCU made…Howard University – The mecca…"you know!" I always honor my professors in the College of Fine Arts, Department of Drama because they created a space where we were safe to create, explore, compete, design, laugh, cry, and be our most authentic selves without judgement. We worked with professional artists and toured the DMV in various shows that gave us invaluable experience as young artists. The people that I met in Fine, Fine Arts became my family. These friendships are life-long…we roll deep.
DR: You’ve created many roles on and off Broadway, what advice would you give to people who are looking to create their own path?
HDF: Discipline is the key to success! An artist must take care of their instrument at all costs. What you put in, is what you give out. Study…do your research, don’t be afraid to explore and ask questions. Create your own stories, employ your people…be your own boss!
DR: Tell us about P-Valley? Who Is Patrice Woodbine and what would she have to say to the world in this moment?
HDF: P-Valley is written by Broadway’s own Katori Hall and is based on her play Pussy Valley! We find ourselves in the world of people who are living their most authentic lives in the Dirty Delta. The story takes place in the strip club called the PYNK, owned by Uncle Clifford. We follow the lives of the featured dancers Mercedes, Autumn Night, Miss Mississippi and Gidget as they navigate their complex personal lives in and out of the PYNK. How it all unfolds and connects is a masterpiece and not what you would expect.
Patrice Woodbine is the “muva” of Mercedes. She is a gospel-singing pimptress, larger than life, wanna-be preacher who can squeeze an offering from a stone and have an entire congregation speaking in tongues. She is also fighting her way up the ladder in the world of men at her church.
Patrice Woodbine would tell the sinners and saints to, “listen and pray…harden not your hearts when you hear God’s voice and pay your tithes!!”
DR: What was it like working on a show written by a Woman And directed by an all-female
HDF: Extremely empowering! Our cast was well taken care of. Katori’s door was always open for a discussion regarding character, costumes etc. Each director made us feel safe on set, especially during the many intimate moments. We had the best crew all around!! It was truly one of the best experiences of my career.
DR: When did you feel most BOLD on set?
HDF: All the time! But especially in episode 5…
DR: What do you want people to leave with after watching P-Valley?
HDF: We are not defined by life choices, family or whom we love…We are empowered by how we choose to live, take care of self, and navigate the journey.
Catch Harriett on P- Valley on Starz tonight and every Sunday at 9pm. You won't want to miss this BOLD storytelling!