Brandee Evans doesn’t seem to half-ass anything. It’s been months since the actor wrapped filming on season two of P-Valley, the Starz drama hit set in a Mississippi strip club called The Pynk, but when she picks up the phone on a sunny June morning, she’s not putting her stiletto-chapped feet up at home in L.A. She’s back in Georgia, where the series is shot, keeping up with her beloved boot camp classes at E.F.F.E.C.T Fitness in Atlanta. “They don’t care who you are, you will get cussed out and yelled at in this class, and I’m here for all of that,” Evans tells SELF, laughing.
Also on her schedule: Physical therapy for an injury incurred portraying Mercedes, The Pynk’s veteran dancer. Although the character hurt her shoulder onscreen, “For me, it was my back—because, child, it’s been two years since we got on the pole,” she says. Even for Evans, a seasoned dancer and choreographer, the herculean feats of stripper strength that mesmerize the show’s fans are harder than they look.
Evans is awaiting word on a P-Valley season 3 and hopes to make more movies in the meantime, on the heels of 2021’s B-Boy Blues and A Rich Christmas. And while her Instagram grid features the red-carpet-ready outfits and glitzy events you’d expect of a rising star, you’ll find more posts that capture the time she spends caregiving for her mother Diana Harrington, a.k.a. Momma.
Harrington was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004, and early-onset Alzheimer’s soon after. After Evans had to place her mother in a nursing home following a bad fall in 2014, she grew increasingly dissatisfied with the facility’s level of care. In 2016, Evans moved her mom into her L.A. home and the actor became one of the estimated 53 million people caring for a loved one in the U.S. (according to a 2020 report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, that number is steadily rising). Though Evans’s P-Valley success eventually gave her the financial freedom to hire several caregivers, she still devotes much of her time to her mom—and to creating community with fellow caregivers.
By: Samantha Vincenty