'Hustlers' the movie: Karma Rx praises sex work's 'gnarliest businesswomen', as she separates fact and fiction in upcoming Jennifer Lopez film
Some of the most powerful women in the entertainment business come together to tell the story of a band of exotic dancers who decide that they'd had enough of living off singles and want not just a piece of the pie, but the whole of it, topped with cream and crumble.
An exotic dancer on the screen is more often than not stereotyped. They're either hapless souls who just want to be saved, or they're just treated like furniture that looks incredibly good on screen. They are much more than that and it's about time the profession got a little more than just the stereotypical mention and portrayal.
"I am actually not sure I’ve really seen any movies about dancers," says Karma Rx, a Southern California based exotic dancer, in an interview with MEA World Wide(MEAWW). When we asked her to recommend a movie about exotic dancers that really gets their job bang on she laughed. Hopefully, an upcoming movie will change all that. Come fall and one of the most anticipated sex work comedy-drama movies of the year, 'Hustlers' will hit theaters.
The film is based on 'The Hustlers at Scores' by Jessica Pressler, a 'New York' magazine piece from 2015. It talks of the time when the proverbial shit hit the fan and the sex industry went spiralling during the 2008 financial crisis. Some of the most powerful women in the entertainment business come together to tell the story of a band of exotic dancers who decide that they'd had enough of living off singles and want not just a piece of the pie, but the whole of it, topped with cream and crumble. Starring Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Lizzo, this film promises to take an empathetic look at gender roles and the things we are valued for, said writer and director Lorene Scafaria in an interview with the 'Hollywood Reporter'. It vows to challenge the norm of a women's worth being measured by the inches on their bodies and for how well endowed they are.
Karma thinks that it would definitely be a breath of fresh air if it actually manages to execute its plan. "Sex work, in general, seems to be portrayed either as girls who are empty bodies devoid of too much character or else as severely emotionally damaged and in need of rescuing," she says, "I hope this movie expands on those limited stereotypes a bit."
That being said, it's not always all fake she says. "There are girls in strip clubs who are severely emotionally damaged. But most girls see it as a hustle. It’s a job. Like all sex work. If you do any job that you hate, you could become a little depressed about it. But a lot of girls, such as myself, really enjoy their jobs dancing or in sex work in general," she says.
'Hustlers', at least from what we've seen in the trailer, does risk generalizing the dancers unfairly, but she says, she is OK with it, after all, they do get portrayed as victims all the time. "I believe the reality of strip clubs is that we are selling an experience," she says, adding candidly, "And in some ways, we are selling promises that everyone knows we will never keep." Karma, who has been in the adult entertainment industry for a while but started dancing only a few months ago, says that it's been an interesting journey for her so far. She says her day at work really varies and she has a variety of clients who prefer tailor-made services.
Regarding the treatment of the characters in the film she says that while all of the details couldn't possibly be packed into even in a longish film along, it's worth trying to show them as more than what we've already seen on screen. "Let them grow into fully developed characters with backstories and dreams and a full range of human emotion," she says. "Also, I do enjoy the idea of showing the hustling aspect of the work. Some strippers are the gnarliest businesswomen I know!"
The film will have its world premiere on September 7, 2019, at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is scheduled to be released in the United States on September 13, 2019, by STXfilms. Deadline projects that film could potentially make a hefty $24million-$26 million opening.