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A Former Child Actor’s Grown-Up Second Act

Christa B. Allen and Johnny What of Pour Vous release an ode to female sexuality for the #MeToo era

For fans of BRÅVES, the pop-rock band’s the high-concept video for the song “Me The Thief,” in which a trio of women (two of them apparently identical twins) exchange in slow-motion kisses, likely came as little shock. After all, BRÅVES’s Johnny What has been known for his boundary-pushing videos. But the realization that the video’s star, actress Christa B. Allen, played the tweenaged Jennifer Garner in the iconic 2004 film 13 Going on 30 could cause anyone to make this face.

That video marked the beginning of a friendship between What and Allen that morphed into a romance and eventually into an all-new musical act: Pour Vous, which means “for you” in French. With love and sex as their animating motif, Allen’s fresh vocals and What’s producing chops combine for a sensuous, strictly PG-13+ effect.

Pour Vous’s Christa B. Allen and Johnny What (photo: © Drew Pluta. Styled by Joey Tierney)

But for all his boundary pushing, What admits that when it came to writing the duo’s first single, “The Flood,” his boundaries were the ones being tested. “‘The Flood’ is about a breakup,’ says What, ‘So we’re sitting there, in love, but writing a song about a breakup and the words are pretty intense, and I was like, ‘Is this about us? ‘Is this about us?’ Are we breaking up right now? What is going on?’

Though Allen may be new to recording music, she naturally embraced the theatrical aspects of singing and songwriting. “[Christa] was like, ‘No, it’s just a story,’” explains What. “After that I felt a lot better, but for a minute there I was getting really sad and hurt almost.”

Allen, still a working actor who recently appeared in Revenge and will star in the TV movie The Queen of Sin later this year, acknowledges the differences in creative freedoms between acting and music. “With acting, you can’t get anything done with less than 30 people minimum. There are a lot more hoops to jump through. So music is really satisfying in that way—it’s like instant gratification,” she says.

Instant gratification is also a theme in the musical and romantic partners’ sophomore single, “Scorpio.” “It’s about sex,” Allen says of the song, which conjures sensuous ’90s Portishead-meets-Massive Attack sounds. “It’s very much a running theme.” And as still-taboo as the concept of female sexual agency may be, Allen says the song’s forthcoming video will celebrate the strides made by feminists pasts. “Our video celebrates strong women throughout history, and celebrates women’s sexuality. We’re moving toward the perspective where a woman’s sexual appetite is no longer a source of shame.” says Allen of the song’s message, especially resonant in the #MeToo era. “In regards to the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, we’re seeing a switch where we’ve had a patriarchy for so long,” she says. “And now it’s starting to swing a little the other way.”

Main image: Pour Vous’s Christa B. Allen and Johnny What (photo: © Drew Pluta. Styled by Joey Tierney)