While the 2013 "Florida Man" meme continues to circulate across social media, Pop TV is bringing women to the forefront of screwy Floridian tales with the new series "Florida Girls." The unapologetically bold new scripted series is inspired by the life of its creator, Laura Chinn. Chinn, who is 33, not only stars in the comedy, she created it from her real-life experiences while growing up in Clearwater, Florida.
In an interview with CBSN, Chinn said her own story inspired her decision to have an all-female cast.
"I was like, I don't want to research some boy's perspective," she quipped. "I grew up with a group of girl friends and we were a very tight-knit group, and there weren't dudes in our group other than guys we dated. My experience in Florida was very female, so those were always the stories I wanted to share."
The 10-episode series follows four young women — Shelby (Laura Chinn), Kaitlin (Melanie Field), Jayla (Laci Mosely) and Erica (Patty Guggenheim) — who are all forced to confront their stagnant lives when their only ambitious friend moves away to follow her dreams. Bound by their friendship, they attempt to "navigate life's curveballs while living below the poverty line."
Although the series is based on Chinn's experiences growing up, the characters are comedically heightened, with flaws that are more intense than normal.
"They represent people that I've known throughout my whole life. Different flaws I see in everyone, and in myself," Chinn told CBSN. "Every step of the way we were very careful and cautious, in terms of wanting to make sure that the message we were trying to get out was correct. When you're talking about race, poverty and women's rights, it's very sensitive. I wanted to make sure our point of view was on the right side of things, even though some of the characters were having more flawed points of views. I definitely wanted to make sure that at the end of the episodes you were getting the right takeaway. Even if a character had a flawed point of view during the storytelling."
Reflecting on her earlier life in Florida, Chinn said part of her was always driven to become a writer and actor. "I think if there wasn't a part of me that saw it as a possibility, I never would have done it. But I think my 13-year-old self would be sh**ting herself."
What advice would she give her younger self? "Take all the advice you've been given," she said. But she also noted that the question insinuates something she doesn't have: regret.
"I don't really believe in regret because I think everything kind of works out the way it's supposed to," Chinn said. "I was given a lot of amazing advice throughout my twenties, that I was lucky enough to take and it was really helpful. One of those pieces of advice was, 'figure out exactly what you want to do and say it out loud to as many people as you can, as much as you can. Narrow it down, and be able to say in a sentence.' When you do that the universe can really hear you, and on a more grounded level people can hear you and they can help you easier. That was a really special piece of advice that changed my life."
"Florida Girls" explores the ideas of leaving your hometown to experience new things, or staying home where you're comfortable. Chinn says the show tries to keep both themes alive.
The Pop TV original comedy series premieres with back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, July 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET. (The Pop TV cable network is owned by CBS Corporation.)
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