(‘Strut’s trailer and following review feature some NSFW, but sex-positive, content.)

Sometimes the seemingly riskiest endeavors can ultimately transform people’s lives in unexpected positive ways. That’s certainly the case for the four female protagonists of the new original short form comedy series, ‘Strut,’ which can now be viewed on Revry TV, a global LGBTQ-first streaming media network.

The show, which was created and written by actress Misha Calvert and directed by Michelle Cutolo, quickly proved to be a leading pioneer in the comedy world, as it features a female creative team and LGTBQ-heavy crew. It also tears down barriers and taboos to create a relatable, complex sex-positive story from the perspective of diverse women.

‘Strut’ follows Eddie (Calvert), a geeky porn editor whose three best friends – Eva (Margaret Judson), her risk-taking roommate; Lucy (Manini Gupta), an aspiring journalist discovering her lesbian identity; and Chandaleer (Christina Toth), a fashion model who frequently gets herself into trouble by partying too much – vow to help her revive her romantic and sex lives.

The trio conspires to bring Eddie to a sex party, which later inspires the group to consider consistently seeking endeavors that will allow them to monetize their sexual experiences. So they debate the potential benefits and risks of sex work, which ultimately leads them to launch an escort business. But when the time comes to meet their first client, the friends realize they may be in over their heads.

The romantic comedy offers a powerfully new and positive outlook on the portrayal of sex workers by bypassing Hollywood’s archetype of escorts being down-on-their-luck, helpless, villainous seductresses in order to heighten the storytelling in films and television series. Calvert created four complex, uniquely distinct and relatable female protagonists who lead a story that bravely highlights the reality of sex workers.

While Eddie is initially hesitant to make the move from editing sex-driven films to actually partaking in sex work herself, Eva, Lucy and Chandaleer help her overcome the shame and ostracization that accompany the experience of being a sexually explorative woman. As a result, the initially timid Eddie is able to learn how to not only accept, but also embrace, her new image and work, and celebrate her new sense of liberation.

Calvert, Cutolo and their fellow crew members encouraged the actresses to indulge in their respective characters’ development and relationships throughout the season’s six episodes. In her acting duties, Calvert initially portrayed Eddie as a woman who’s hapless in, and wary of, love. But after being encouraged by her friends, she embarks on a powerful, memorable journey of self-empowerment and realization that she is truly worthy of romantic intimacy.

Judson also gives a fierce, bold performance throughout ‘Strut’s initial season that emphasizes the importance of female empowerment. She gives an edgy performance as the free-spirited Eva, who isn’t afraid to assert her independence and encourage her roommate to also follow her instincts over how she wants to lead her life and pursue her happiness.

With enthralling writing by Calvert, ‘Strut’s first season delves just far enough into each of the four main characters’ personal and professional lives to make them all enticing and relatable, while also leaving viewers anticipating what will happen to all of the women next. The natural, relatable character development in Calvert’s writing emphasizes the four female protagonists’ fierce, independent approach to pursuing their happiness on their own terms. That powerful character development is effortlessly brought to the screen by all four actresses’ passionate performances, which allows the show to stunningly explore the complexities of sex work from the female gaze.

Technical: B+

Acting: A

Story: A-

Overall: A-

A scene from Season 1 of Revry TV’s original short form comedy series, ‘Strut.’
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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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