Dominique Fishback Is Dominating The Screen

Dominique Fishback Is Dominating The Screen

The rising star speaks on her HBO breakout role, embracing her natural hair, and the busy year ahead.

The rising star speaks on her HBO breakout role, embracing her natural hair, and the busy year ahead.

Photography: Ben Hassett

Styling: Anna Trevelyan

Text: Allyson Shiffman

This article appears in the pages of V112, on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com.

Anyone who’s seen the first season of HBO’s The Deuce can attest that the most riveting thing about the series is Dominique Fishback’s breakout, career-establishing performance as Darlene, a fresh-faced prostitute navigating 1970s New York in crop tops and booty shorts. “The short shorts? I didn’t like those. They were uncomfortable,” says Fishback. “But the crop tops—those are my favorite.”

Unsurprisingly, the role wasn’t without its challenges, not least of all the nudity—it is a porn-and prostitute-centric show on HBO, after all. But this was no biggie for Fishback. “I never had a problem with my body, so that didn’t scare me,” she says. “Natural hair was more of a nudity for me. Since I was little I would have it permed or weaved or braided, and I wouldn’t show it in an Afro or anything. In 2014 I accepted my natural hair and once that happened I was more confident than ever.” Fishback wrote an open letter to friends and family on Facebook, explaining her decision to take the role, and ultimately, everyone was cool with it. “I actually did an airing party for the first episode,” she says. “My mom was there.”

Last year, Fishback showed off that aforementioned Afro playing a young version of Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, in his music video for “Smile.” “I’m from Brooklyn, so if I could be in a Jay-Z music video, that would be awesome,” she says. “If I could be in a Jay-Z video and portray someone important to him? That’s even better.” In the clip, Fishback wordlessly stuns with every glance, smirk, and grimace, eventually breaking down in tears. “I feel like I’m always on the verge of crying,” she says.

Still, Fishback describes herself as “more smiley than people think,” and these days she has a lot to smile about. This year she’ll play a troubled teen fresh out of juvenile detention in the Sundance-accepted Night Comes On. She also appears in the forthcoming adaptation of The Hate U Give, opposite Amandla Stenberg (“She’s amazing—so kind and supportive”), Anthony Mackie (“For Anthony Mackie to play my dad...I was like, what?!”), and Common (“Meeting Common was out of this world. It felt like his soul left his body to tell me hello”).

With her career officially taking off, there’s just one thing left to do: decide on a title for her fans. Should they be “Fishbackers?” “Dominators?” “Somebody was like, What about the QueenDom?” she laughs. “People can be Dominators in the QueenDom.”

DOMINIQUE WEARS CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES BY EMPORIO ARMANI

Credits: MAKEUP MARIA BELT (STREETERS), HAIR JOEY GEORGE (MANAGEMENT + ARTISTS), MANICURE NAOMI YASUDA (MANAGEMENT + ARTISTS), DIGITAL TECHNICIAN CARLO BARRETO, PHOTO ASSISTANTS ROEG COHEN, ERIC HOBBS, MAKEUP ASSISTANT ALEX ALMEIDA, LOCATION VSCO STUDIO

UP NEXT

A SXSW Conversation with Alec Byrne