Dominique Fishback does not shy away from playing the role of a sex worker. Known to her friends and family as “Dom,” the 22-year-old actress and Pace University alum, plays tenderhearted prostitute Darlene on HBO’s “The Deuce” –– a fictionalized account of the rise of the porn industry in 1970s New York.
“I believe in telling history, no matter how ugly it is,” Fishback said in a video interview with the Washington Square News. “When I approached playing a sex worker, it was only that I made sure that she had heart and that she had different levels … I try to make her know only what she knows now, not what I know.”
Fishback’s experience as a playwright eased the character development process for Darlene.
“Being a playwright, obviously, it does help immensely, because that is who I am in my soul,” Fishback said. “I’ll be journaling and then, all of a sudden, something flows out, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s so Darlene; it’s not even me.’”
Right before filming, Fishback uses a set of specific techniques to help her channel Darlene.
“I like to give a song for each scene,” Fishback said. “It doesn’t have to be of the ‘70s –– it just has to be a mood. I do pray, and I ask that I can be a vessel for people who don’t always have a voice or the opportunity that I’ve been granted.”
When asked how Darlene’s young age affects her relationships with other characters, the actress said Darlene’s perceived weakness is her strength.
“Her young age is what allows her to navigate in this world because no one takes her to be intimidating or to be thinking about changing things or overthrowing power,” Fishback said. “I think that’s what makes her very powerful and very strong.”
Before starring in HBO’s gritty period drama with TV-MA rating, Fishback developed a passion for acting by watching much more kid-friendly shows.
“I used to just see ‘Sister, Sister’ and ‘I Love Lucy’ when I was ten and think, ‘I want to do that,’” Fishback said.
Soon after, Fishback joined the MCC Theater Youth Company, in which she wrote and performed the critically acclaimed play “Subverted.”
Although “Subverted” received fervent praise in the news, Fishback recalls criticism and doubt from those around her as she was growing up.
“I remember being in middle school in east New York, where I’m from, and a guidance counselor, she told me I didn’t have the ‘it factor,’” Fishback said. “On her board behind students when you come in the room, it says, ‘Some people just can’t.’ Now I’m just like, ‘Look at that. Don’t tell me I don’t have the it factor.’”
While Fishback is enjoying her time on “The Deuce,” she has her mind set on a vastly different role in the production of the show.
“Getting in the writers’ room is my ultimate goal,” she said.
Email Sarah Jackson at [email protected]