Grew up… being sexually and psychologically abused by her father. Joanie carries around an unimaginable guilt for the trauma that she feels she inflicted on her younger sisters. Joanie, as her father’s “favorite” daughter, was pushed by him to encourage her sisters to also commit incest – to “see to his needs since mama was gone.”
Living… in the Deadwood miner’s camp, Dakota Territory. Joanie followed her business partner, Cy Tolliver, out West to the frontier in order to create a new business.
Profession… hostess and madam of the Bella Union, an upscale competitor of the Gem Saloon. It’s Joanie’s job to project an image of class into the new gambling, drinking and whoring establishment. A former prostitute, Joanie is always looking to make something more of herself.
Interests… becoming independent. Even though Joanie values her relationship with Cy (who saved her from her father’s wretched clutches), she wants to start her own business venture, and Deadwood seems to be the right place to do it. It might be dangerous and chaotic, but there are opportunities galore.
Relationship Status… single. Joanie knows that Cy is in love with her, but she refuses to reciprocate his feelings. The truth is that Joanie does not prefer men. Rather, she finds herself becoming interested in the rough and rowdy Calamity Jane.
Challenge… keeping up with Deadwood’s ruthless men. Joanie, despite her strength, has to deal with Al Swearengen and Francis Wolcott, both sadistic misogynists who are capable of unspeakable violence.
Personality… tough, independent, and caring. Circumstance led Joanie to follow a path that she never wanted for herself. Despite her relative success, she often wishes that she led a more conventional life. As she once mused while looking at a group of children, “I wish once I could care for those little ones. Just once, instead of doin’ what I did.”
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