Dangerous Curves

By Merete Mueller | Documentary
A plus-size pole dancer uncovers vulnerability and strength through public exposure.

Filmmaker Merete Mueller tells the story of Roslyn Mays, a plus-size personal trainer, gym instructor and award-winning pole-dancer.

Before Brooklyn-based Mays became a pole-dancing sensation, she had been teaching pole dancing classes and participating in amateur pole-shows. But then, photos and videos of her performances online started costing her jobs.

After a tentative year balancing credit card debt, she decided to take the content down and become a certified personal trainer and build a career out of her pole-dancing passion.

She’s testing boundaries, refusing to fit expectations or to make herself smaller or more palatable for the status quo. And that has come at some cost, as she’s faced online and in-person criticism.

But as she explores the relationship between her body and the world, she’s inspiring others to feel safe to do the same.

“Confidence is so often portrayed as a static thing — we either have it or we don’t,” Mueller said of Mays. “In this film, I wanted to represent a version of confidence that is more a moment-by-moment conversation between Roz’s physical presence and the world around her. Her performances are an expression of this conversation. She’s forming herself in front of other people.”

That’s a brave thing to do.

“As women, we get less leeway to be works in progress,” Mueller added. “We all know, in our own ways, what it feels like to be disapproved of or not taken seriously.”

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