[The following story includes spoilers for Minx season two.]
In the second season of Minx, Idara Victor’s Tina and Oscar Montoya’s Richie have not only gotten expanded storylines but also a tighter relationship.
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It’s a noticeable screen time pivot for the duo, who frequently found themselves on opposite sides of the Bottom Dollar coin during the show’s first season. That hasn’t quite changed in season two, but as Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) and Doug (Jake Johnson) seemingly move farther apart with the presence of Minx‘s new wealthy investor Constance Papadopoulos (Elizabeth Perkins), the business-minded Tina and artistic-minded Richie have come to find solace in one another amid the chaos.
And much in line with the second season’s theme of “getting bigger” and “going harder,” in the first six episodes of the Starz show’s second run, viewers have been given substantial looks at both Oscar and Tina’s home lives, families and romances in ways that deepen the arcs of the Bottom Dollar photographer and managing editor. The result is a part-funny, part-heartfelt and part-painfully relatable exploration of what it means to navigate 1970s America as a Black woman and queer.
In an interview conducted ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike, The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Victor and Montoya about expanding their characters’ lives outside of Bottom Dollar, how Tina and Oscar are leaning on each other amid the Minx pandemonium, and what their moments capture about the experience of being a person of color in the workplace.
In season two, Richie’s really stepped into himself, away from Bambie, Joyce and Doug. He gets a love interest; we see him with his family; he takes some captivating self-portraits; he pitches a gay photoshoot concept. What conversations were you having with showrunner Ellen Rapoport about expanding Richie’s arc?
OSCAR MONTOYA: The thing about Ellen is that she wanted to tell all of our stories. She was like, “I’m not gonna put you as someone who is just there to be there — a checkmark, our sassy gay character — and that’s the end.” Because, trust me, I’ve played a billion of those in my career. (Laughs.) She wanted to give Richie depth, and my queerness was never the joke. My life was never the joke, my Latinidad was never the joke. To take the time to express all sides, all facets of Richie in that way — while dealing with his demons, how he parties, his love life — it wasn’t just a big moment. It was just the way that character lived. To me, it was such a gift. It was such a gift that Ellen gave me that platform to be like, “OK, what do you see Ritchie doing? Let’s talk. Let’s have that conversation.” She valued my input and really honored that. I have to appreciate Ellen and all the writers who just turned it out this season.
We see Tina’s life expand in similar ways this season, most comedically through Doug’s visit with Tina’s family, which is topped off with her telling Doug she got promoted. It’s an episode that is really key to understanding a lot of Tina’s motivations, which aren’t as clear as Richie’s. Can you talk about that scene in terms of how pivotal it was to understanding Tina’s moves?
IDARA VICTOR: In season one, I certainly had this question, but then so many other people — friends, fans — would ask me, “Why is Tina still there? Why doesn’t she leave?” (Laughs.) I had to ask myself that question a lot as we were shooting season one. What is it that’s keeping Tina here? Why doesn’t she feel like she has the power to step away from this? So, I felt like seeing her family and understanding her position in her family, and understanding the loyalty that she had with her family, that’s a trait she has that we can see throughout. She has the loyalty there [with family]. She has the loyalty to Doug and Bottom Dollar, but also, you see that she took a huge risk already leaving her family and going to Bottom Dollar. So in a way, Bottom Dollar had to work, in order for her family to feel proud of her or for her to be able to say, “I did the right thing, even though I left the family business.” That scene was for her to realize, “I’m never going to make them proud with my decisions. This isn’t even about them anymore. This is about me and me deciding what is really best for me.”
It was about her having to stand up to her mom to say, “You can’t dictate my life.” And not just her mom but Doug by proxy. I think it seems that she slips this information [about the promotion] out in that moment, but when you really think about it, maybe that was the easiest way for her to share it with him — because it was a very difficult thing to even tell him and know that he might not actually be happy for her. She had this overbearing mom, this family history where she had a position in her family of importance, but she was having to figure out how do I let go of all of the roles that have been placed on me and just step into who I am? It was a really pivotal moment — and for her to slap her mom’s hand away? That action? (Laughs.)
MONTOYA: Because you know how dangerous that is. (Laughs.)
VICTOR: It’s like, well, there’s no turning back now!
This season has really embraced Tina and Richie’s relationship, including one scene where they’re commiserating about their experiences as people of color at the company. With this being a workplace comedy, can you talk about what that specific scene tries to capture about them individually but also as a personal and professional friendship?
VICTOR: We were talking earlier about how in the workplace, people of color — especially when there are a few of you — can be dispersed into separate sections, and you almost don’t get to talk about the commonality of your experience. You don’t always get the opportunity to do that. When you do, you have moments like that. But when you don’t — and usually you don’t — you have to figure out how to navigate it on your own. Each person has their own way of doing that. That’s dependent on who you are as a person. It’s dependent on your own experiences and the people you’re dealing with. So I think that because Tina has been dealing with somebody like Doug for so long, she has learned the most clever, most interesting ways to navigate things to get what she wants. (Laughs.) Richie’s been in his own spaces, even though he’s on his own. He was first a makeup artist, now a photographer, so he hasn’t had to navigate around authority in the same way that Tina has.
They have different perspectives on the way that you’re supposed to get things done. They try to share with each other what those perspectives are. But there’s a point when each of them does it their way, and they know that they have to because, at the end of the day, it’s about survival — survival and stepping into who you really are. It’s an individual journey, but they certainly do learn from each other. They act as catalysts to one another. When one of them does take action, the other one can watch and be like, “Oh yeah, I can take my own action as well, in my own way.” I do think that it makes sense to me that they would have different perspectives on how to handle things based on their experience. You can even see with Tina, she never vocalizes her opinion on how they’re treated and the handling of Richie’s homosexuality, but you see the clever ways in which she deals with it with Joyce and Richie. And that’s based on the experience she’s always had.
MONTOYA: We’re the same coin, opposite ends, but our partner coin is Doug and Joyce. Tina has been Doug’s right-hand woman for so long, and she’s sort of in charge of the business aspect of Minx with Doug. I’m on the same side as Joyce in terms of making a statement about the artistic value of Minx. So, you and I are on the same page, but we’re on opposite ends. You’re on the business side of it. I’m on the artistic side.
VICTOR: And we’re fighting in our own ways. We’re doing our own acts of activism.
MONTOYA: Absolutely. I think, ultimately, it really is about art and how you deliver that to the world. There is that balance of commerce and artistic expression. We finally find a way to come together, eye-to-eye, but it is a struggle. How much of that is artistic expression? And how much of it is we need to make money?
VICTOR: I think that reflects the struggles of people of color through time. Who is going to go out there and fight and protest? And who’s like, I don’t want to protest anymore? Let’s just blow up — or buy — the building. (Laughs.) You know? Everybody has a different perspective on how to approach it.
MONTOYA: Exactly. Who is going to protest this building, and who can’t because they have six jobs?
VICTOR: But what they can do is do something at their particular job and do it in the way that works for them.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Minx season two is airing on Starz.
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