Character actress Giovannie Espiritu is the lead in new LGBT series on Amazon Prime network.
Character actress Giovannie Espiritu is a chameleon. She plays one of the lead characters on the LGBTQ series, DykeCentral, a dramedy about a group of queer friends living in Oakland, specifically focusing on three women who share a house together that they fondly call, “DykeCentral.” The ten-episode series will be making its debut on the Amazon / Amazon Prime network on February 2, 2018. Espiritu plays a gender-neutral, fiercely loyal, good-natured lothario named Gin. The series itself has already received many accolades from the queer community and has been named as a top lesbian series to watch by many LGBTQ publications including Curve Magazine, Bitch Magazine, BuzzFeed, AfterEllen, and Fusion.
Series creator, Florencia Manovil, and Espiritu originally met in 2008 when Manovil was directing her first feature, called Fiona’s Script, about an introverted bisexual named Fiona who writes a script and interacts with the characters in her head and her real-life friendships. Espiritu was cast as the best friend to the lead, and her performance earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the MethodFest Film Festival in Calabasas, California alongside Academy Award nominees Amy Irving and Alfre Woodard. Espiritu and Manovil developed a friendship on set and continued to work together over the years.
DykeCentral amassed an army of supporters through its film festival run and was placed on smaller niche networks like Revry and OutTV Canada, but this deal with Amazon is the first widespread release of the series. One of the main reasons for its success is the inclusive, diverse representation of queer life, including plotlines that deal with mental health, substance abuse, consent and domestic violence.
Espiritu is nearly unrecognizable as Gin. Even at film festivals, directly after the screening, most audiences cannot identify her since she is about 30 pounds heavier and more masculine in the series. It was important for Manovil to have a “soft butch” in the series and depict larger bodies as desirable and sexually active. Tackling body image and changing stereotypes has been a key component of Florencia Manovil‘s work as a filmmaker. The cast also includes Rain Dove, the androgynous model famous for breaking down the gender binary (Cosmopolitan and Vogue), D’Lo, a Tamil comedian and trans-activist (Transparent, Mr. Robot, Sense 8), Dalia Ali Rajah (Scandal, NCIS, How to Get Away with Murder) and Mahasin Munir (Sense 8).
Espiritu, a filmmaker herself as well as an actress, moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago and is following in Manovil’s footsteps by creating content featuring women of color in lead roles. Her short film, Paranormal Huntresses, screened at the Palm Springs LGBT Film Festival and she was just hired by Varut Chee, a CBS Diversity writer she met at the Upright Citizens Brigade, to direct the season two finale of his digital series. In typical Angeleno fashion, Espiritu has several other projects currently in development, including an action thriller called, Hummingbird, a dark rom-com tentatively titled, The Corruption of Grace, a solo-show, and a few shorts in pre-production.
The full season of DykeCentral is now available on Amazon Prime, Seed & Spark, and more! https://www.amazon.com/Pilot/dp/B079F5L98N/ref=sr_1_1