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Vintage Playgirls Helped Prepare the Minx Cast for Nuanced Nudity

Series creator Ellen Rapoport set the tone for the show from the start.
  • Idara Victor in Minx (Photo: Starz)
    Idara Victor in Minx (Photo: Starz)

    The cast and crew of Minx can’t be shy. The series, which started on Max and found new life on Starz for Season 2, is all about male nudity — prominently displayed penises are the norm. But at the same time, the point of the show is to not objectify or shock in those moments, but celebrate and normalize seeing the male form through a female gaze. Before even filming Season 1, series creator Ellen Rapoport sent packages to everyone on the cast to set the tone for what to expect on set.

    “When we first got the [roles], Ellen sent all of us vintage Playgirl magazines,” Idara Victor told Primetimer during a press day in June, a month before SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on strike. “It was a whole package of Playgirl magazines and it was an immediate launch into the world that we were going to be entering.”

    According to a July 10 interview with Paul Feig, Rapoport carried a similar package with her while initially pitching the series, dropping piles of Playgirl magazines on conference room tables to sell the concept of the show. Feig credits Rapoport’s vision for creating a more nuanced and almost “innocent” view of sexuality in Minx, one that stays more true to the spirit of those centerfolds from the ’70s than the hypersexualized internet porn or shocking television nudity of today.

    Before handing off magazines to studio execs and her cast, Rapoport dug into Playgirl herself, applying details from its history to Minx. Doug (Jake Johnson), for instance, is partially based on Douglas Lambert, the publisher of Playgirl, and Season 1’s centerfold, Shane (Taylor Zakhar Perez), is an amalgam of real Playgirl models. Rapoport even turned to behind-the-scenes photos of the Playgirl offices to inform the production design and depiction of the office culture.

    "What I took from that is how much fun they were all having," Rapoport told USA Today in a March 2022 interview. "It didn't seem like a dirty, grungy experience, which is how that decade and the porn industry is often portrayed."

    For the cast members, getting a glimpse of the series’s inspiration took the edge off the constant on-set nudity, inspiring some to delve even further into the world of 1970s pornography.

    “We didn’t watch [porn] as a group,” Victor said, laughing. “But it was fun doing our own research and getting acclimated to the world of it to the point where it was very normal to us and every day, almost pedestrian. We’d be hanging out, talking to people, they’d be naked.”

    The normalcy of nude interactions with cast members translates well to the screen in Season 2 — because Victor as Tina appears relaxed and comfortable while surrounded by bottomless men, it’s easier to focus on the story that Rapoport set out to tell than the swinging genitals. And that’s all thanks, at least in part, to Playgirl.

    Minx airs Fridays at 9:00 PM ET on Starz. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Minx, Starz, Ellen Rapoport, Idara Victor, Jake Johnson, Paul Feig