Mimi Rogers plays a bisexual photographer on “Mad Men”

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This week’s episode of Mad Men is titled “New Business,” and said business comes in the form of Pima Ryan (Mimi Rogers), a talented photographer hired to photograph the agency’s latest ad campaign. When we first meet Pima on set, she is cool and confident, dressed in menswear and sporting a grey streak in her hair. Peggy is enthralled with her talent and vision, while art director Stan feels threatened. Pima represents not just new business, but a new kind of woman: self-assured, confident, and brazenly independent.

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Pima asks to see some of Stan’s work, and he immediately becomes anxious to hear her honest opinion. Flustered and unable to find work he thinks is “on her level”, his girlfriend Elaine offers to pose for some sensual photographs. Pima joins Stan in the dark room as the photos develop, and she easily seduces him. This isn’t just sex; it’s a power exchange. Pima uses her sexuality not to gain anything from Stan, but to assert her dominance. Much like her photo shoot, this is an exercise in control.

The tables get turned, however, when she tries the same thing on Peggy. While they go through the test shots together, each woman chooses her favorite shot. They have to agree on one, but neither is folding. Pima strokes Peggy’s hair and tells her how much she’d like to photograph her. Peggy seemed shocked, but immediately recognizes the situation for what it is: a power play. Peggy resists her affections, because she is no stranger to people (usually men) in suits trying to manipulate her. And Peggy Olson refuses to give over creative control to anyone, no matter how seductive.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson and Mimi Rogers as Pima in Mad Men.Wanna be the Sontag to my Liebovitz?

Towards the end of the episode, Peggy tells Stan that Pima is “more interested in advertising than art,” and Stan bristles at the idea that Peggy rejected her. But Peggy isn’t hindered by her ego like Stan is. She sees Pima the Smooth Operator, playing to her audience’s desires and wants like a good advertisement. Peggy doesn’t fall for her seduction because she doesn’t fall for advertising; she invents it. In the end, she realizes that Pima isn’t in fact new business; she’s merely filling out the suit differently.

Besides, we all know that if Peggy was gonna lez it up with anyone, it would have been Joyce Ramsay (Zosia Mamet). Now there’s someone we’d all like to give our business to.

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