TV

Dominique Provost-Chalkley Discusses How “Wynonna Earp” Transcends Lesbian Tokenism

“If you just kept it all rosy and light, that isn’t real."

The first season of SyFy’s feminist Western-themed Wynonna Earp was a surprise hit. Audiences fell in love with the infectious leads Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) as they battle evil paranormal spirits in their hometown of Purgatory. But the series garnered an even more dedicated fan base among queer women who were enamored with the on-screen lesbian relationship between Waverly and Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), which they affectionately coined “WayHaught.”

“What’s so beautiful about the relationship between Waverly and Nicole is they are constantly striving to see eye-to-eye. There’s so much love and passion between the two of them,” Provost-Chalkley tells NewNowNext. “So really this season, we see two women working out how they’re going to be together and how they’re going to be a team in all of this.”

Officer Haught first met Waverly at Purgatory’s local watering hole, Shorty’s, where Waverly worked behind the bar. Though Waverly had a boyfriend at the time, she broke it off to pursue Haught, who—alongside Wynonna—works hard to bring justice to a city plagued by evil spirits.

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Amdist the show’s dangerous plot, Provost-Chalkley notes that WayHaught don’t get the benefit of a honeymoon period—which proves exciting.

“We’re really only just starting the relationship as a true relationship that everybody knows about,” she says. “It’s working out how they’re going to be a couple and working out their differences; what works well, what doesn’t — everything that comes with it.”

For many LGBT fans—especially lesbians and bisexual women—seeing a same-sex couple with equal screen-time as their straight counterparts is all-too-rare and incredibly important. Not only is WayHaught a major part of the ensemble cast, but the couple’s storyline transcends tokenism: It’s simply about being in love.

When Officer Haught was shot during Season 1, queer watchers expected the show to take the classic TV-turn in which the gay character is killed off quickly (à la The 100 and The Walking Dead). But they were pleasantly surprised to learn Haught survived, and then overjoyed when she become an even bigger fixture on the show.

But don’t get confused: the drama will keep coming.

“If you just kept it all rosy and light, that isn’t real and I think what we’re missing is true representation in the real sense,” Provost-Chalkley points out. “Relationships that are honest and true to real life. The reason it’s such a beautiful relationship is because these two characters care about each other so much that regardless if they have tiffs or misunderstandings, they’re always striving to get back together. Enjoy the ride because every relationship has its complications.”

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Despite the couple’s ups and downs, Provost-Chalkley says WayHaught diehards have no need to fear: Wynonna Earp Season 2 is packed with queer heat.

“I’m so proud of [Wynonna Earp’s LGBT representation]. But if anything, people see more things in the show than I see myself. These fans [are a] gang of amazing, creative, incredible people who have all come together and have such a passion for this show. It is remarkable. Like the most incredible thing I have ever seen.”


Wynonna Earp Season 2 premieres June 9 at 10/9c on SyFy.

Trish Bendix is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She is currently the editor in chief of GO Magazine and a former editor in chief for AfterEllen.com.
@trishbendix