For W’s second annual TV Portfolio, we asked 26 of the most sought-after names in television to pay homage to their favorite small-screen characters by stepping into their shoes.

What do Brandee Evans, her mother, Diana Harrington, and Angela Bassett have in common? Lots, as Evans will tell you—a lifetime, in fact, of resemblance. The breakout star plays Mercedes in P-Valley. She’s a preacher’s daughter, a stone-cold hustler, and a stripper at the Pynk, a fictional club in Memphis’s real-life “Dirty Delta” region. Although Evans has never worked in the latter occupation, she knows a thing or two about the former two identities. Evans, who herself is a Memphis native, got her start as a professional dancer, performing for NBA teams and opening for musicians including Lil Wayne. When she happened upon an acting class with the renowned coach Tasha Smith, she found she had a knack for the craft—and made a quick pivot to Hollywood, pursuing auditions and whatever work she could get. But while her career blossomed, her personal life grew tough—her mother has multiple sclerosis, and in recent years also developed Alzheimer’s.

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Article Written by:
Maxine  Wally