ToppBottom reached out to Amira Shaunice, writer and creator of the web series New York Girls TV, after seeing how people were going crazy for the show on Instagram. The series is already deep into Season 2, so if you haven’t seen the show, it’s time to catch up. Seasons 1 and 2 are available right now on the New York Girls TV YouTube channel. Amira agreed to answer a few questions for us. Here’s what she had to say:
What made you decide to create New York Girls TV?
I’m an aspiring screenwriter and a web series was a great way for me to break into the TV/Film industry. I decided to do a lesbian series because there was a demand for it. I had no idea what to expect when I started the show, but the entire process has been an amazing journey and learning experience. From writing to filming to editing – I love every minute of it. There’s a major lack of sleep though. The majority of the scenarios in New York Girls are based on real life experiences. I can’t elaborate too much without throwing people under the bus, but my writing is inspired by friends, family and my own personal dating experiences. It’s exaggerated, of course, to be more entertaining.
How was the cast selected and how has it been working with them?
I chose my cast based on three things: attitude, dedication and vibes. The cast is full of great personalities. Everyone vibes well and is dedicated to New York Girls TV. It’s been fun working with everybody. We’re a family and I try to spend as much time as I can with them outside of filming. A few of the cast members have done commercials and documentaries previously. The majority of the cast, however, had no prior acting experience. I even made an appearance in Season 2, episode 3 after being pressured into it. It was also fun to act alongside porn star legend, Sinnamon Love, but I prefer to stay behind the camera.
Did you learn anything from Season 1 that helped you develop Season 2?
I was forced to change the story line mid season after two cast members left unexpectedly. As a result, I did a lot of hesitating during Season 1. I was unsure of how I wanted to portray the remaining characters. I was more confident going in to Season 2. I have a loyal cast, strong characters, and I wasn’t afraid to push the envelope this season. There’s so much to look forward to with the new season. I’m introducing some new faces and providing a deeper look in to the lives of Cameron, Stacy, Tye and Mya. You’ll understand why these women behave the way that they do. The audience will see how their environment and social status affect each character’s relationships or lack thereof.
Were there any other web series that inspired you, and if so why was it inspiring?
I wasn’t inspired by other web series. My inspiration comes from movies and television series, such as The L Word and Orange is the New Black. The L Word had strong leading feminine characters. Bette Porter was one of my inspirations as I developed the character Mya. I love how Orange is the New Black tells each character’s story so it’s clear why the characters are the way they are. I wanted to do the same with my characters so the audience can relate to them even more.
What do you feel other (women of color) lesbian web series are missing that you’re bringing to the table?
In comparison to other lesbian web series, New York Girls TV brings a more realistic and raw approach. It doesn’t hold anything back; the music, sex, profanity and raunchiness are in your face. Each character has an indomitable spirit, perseverance and passion. New York Girls TV also brings diversity to the table. We represent a number of different races and our story line doesn’t revolve around one specific type of lesbian. I purposely created dominant femme characters such as Mya and Cameron to prove that femme voices can be heard without having to base the story line around a stud. However, an equal number of feminine and masculine identified women are incorporated. Our cast includes femmes, femme aggressive, transgender, no labels and studs.
Outside of the series, are there other projects that you’ve created or are currently working on?
I’m currently writing my memoir Write To Keep From Crying, developing a spin off to New York Girls TV and am also writing a stage play based on the Stonewall Riots.
Any plans for a season 3?
If the series hasn’t been picked up by a major network, New York Girls TV will return with Season 3 this Fall 2015.
Are there any crew members that you’d like to mention?
I’d like to recognize my videographers Carissa Who and Natalya Acosta as well as my production assistant, Arielle. They bring my vision to life.
Major shout out to Amira and the rest of the cast of New York Girls TV. Catch all their episodes on the New York Girls TV YouTube channel. Make sure to also show support by visiting newyorkgirlstv.com and following New York Girls TV on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For booking email NewYorkGirlsTV@gmail.com.