South African model-turned-actress Christina Storm is set to co-star as a lesbian prostitute in the new TV series tentatively titled Flesh, according to South Africa’s News24.com.
The psychological thriller by producer Franz Marx — who created the long-running South African soapie Egoli — is set in Cape Town and stars Shaleen Surtie-Richards as an experienced detective investigating serial killers.
Shaleen has starred on Egoli since 1992.
In the pilot, Surtie-Richards’s character Penelope de Vos pursues a killer targeting gay men, one of whom is played by Gert van Schalkwyk (Egoli).
According to News24, the other well-known actors who play roles in the pilot episode include Ashley Dowds, Jill Middelkop (Egoli), "and a model, Leigh, who plays a lesbian prostitute."
The pilot has reportedly been finished, and is now being shopped to local television networks.
Storm became well-known in South Africa for dating one of the country’s star rugby players, James Small; they have since broken up.
It’s unclear exactly how Storm’s lesbian prostitute character figures into the storyline, but if the series gets picked up, she would be one of the few lesbian characters on South African television.
Mbali Ntuli currently plays a lesbian on the soapie Rythm City, but her character development has been minimal so far, and her love life non-existent. The popular 2007 mini-series Society, which featured a prominent lesbian character, has been re-cut as a feature film and is currently making the film festival rounds, but there are no plans to bring it back to TV.
By including a regular or recurring lesbian character, Flesh would dramatically increase lesbian visibility on South African television. The fact that she’s a prostitute, however, may create/reinforce stereotypes about lesbians, rather than challenge them.
We’ll keep you posted if/when we learn more.
Thanks to RainbowSheep for the tip!