The True Story That Inspired Lifetime’s “Let’s Get Physical”

The True Story That Inspired Lifetime’s “Let’s Get Physical”


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Along with its streamer competitors like Netflix and Hulu, Lifetime isn’t shy about tackling true-crime stories on screen, ranging from Casey Anthony to JonBenét Ramsey. The network is again dabbling in the genre with the upcoming movie “Let’s Get Physical,” a story that is just as bizarre and unbelievable as it is true. The movie, which stars Jenna Dewan as lead character Sadie, centers around one woman’s double life as a dance instructor and head of a prostitution business.

“Let’s Get Physical” is based on the true story of Alexis Wright, who, in 2012, was charged with leading a prostitution ring out of her Zumba dance studio and collecting nearly $150,000 from her services. Ahead of the film’s release on Oct. 15, let’s dive into the real story that inspired “Let’s Get Physical.”

Who Is Alexis Wright?

After graduating from the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College in 2010, single mom Wright decided to open up a Zumba dance studio called Pura Vida in Kennebunk, ME, known for its many beaches and historic homes, according to Vanity Fair. The business, along with a rented office used for massage services called Sensual Body Work by Lydia, was launched to help her earn money and save for med school — at least that’s what she told everyone.

In the cookie-cutter town of Kennebunk, many of its residents started to notice that Wright was not who she claimed to be. Her online advertisements for the massage services were sexually suggestive and borderline pornographic, which led some to dig deeper into her background. Through a simple search online, Wright’s name received hundreds of hits across countless websites, from blogs to porn sites, per The Daily Beast. Of course, being a dance instructor and amateur porn actress isn’t illegal, but what Wright did inside the walls of her business would eventually lead to a scandal that would shake Kennebunk to its core.

How Did Alexis Wright Run Her Prostitution Business?

During the day, Wright operated her dance studio, but behind the scenes, she was also running an elaborate prostitution business between both of her rented offices, which attracted the attention of many clients in Kennebunk. Despite running an illegal sex gig, Wright wasn’t necessarily trying to hide her business. Per The Daily Beast, a woman appearing to be Wright wrote a blog post at the time, saying, “I live in a small town in Maine and have my own dance studio, many in my community do not realize that I am an exhibitionist and that I crave sex. I have had sex with many of the married men locally and it is satisfying to know that I am providing them with what they are not getting at home. If the women only knew . . . “

Along with her online confessionals, Wright was also not discrete about conducting her sexual services. Not long into her gig, Pura Vida started garnering attention from its neighboring businesses, including a pizzeria called Toppings. According to Vanity Fair, the employees of the pizza shop reported “many different motor vehicles driving behind the back of the building at all hours of the day and night” and “several males, occasionally dressed in sports jackets and various business dress attire,” with their visits timed 30 minutes to the dot.

However, Pura Vida was not the only place causing a stir among the locals. The owner of her second rental office, Sensual Body Work by Lydia, decided to investigate Wright after another tenant of his similarly reported a rotation of men entering and leaving the property and sounds of “moaning and groaning” routinely accompanying their visits. After receiving the tenant complaint, the office’s owner, Christopher West, looked Wright up online and surprisingly found pornographic videos of her in that same office, which led him to go to the police.

How Was Alexis Wright Caught?

West’s police report led authorities to search her home, two offices, and car. Upon searching the home, police found mountains of evidence that pointed to Wright operating a prostitution business, which included: an appointment book that listed over 100 client names, sex acts performed, the cost of said sex acts, spreadsheets with client addresses and phone numbers, and footage of the sexual encounters, which was recorded without the clients’ knowledge or consent, as reported by Vanity Fair.

Through the investigation, authorities also discovered that Wright had an accomplice, 57-year-old insurance salesman (and private investigator) Mark Strong. As a private investigator, Strong helped Wright identify the clients she had sex with by searching their license plate numbers while often viewing the content she made, whether through video recordings or live on Skype. Wright and Strong also had a sexual relationship, though he was a married man with two children.

Wright made an estimated $150,000 between starting her business in October 2010 until her operation was exposed in February 2012. During her run, she hid this income and claimed to only have a few hundred dollars in her bank account, which allowed her to evade paying much of her taxes and also collect assistance from the state.

What Happened to Alexis Wright?

In March of 2013, Wright was charged with 20 counts of prostitution, tax evasion and welfare fraud, and plead guilty. She was sentenced to 10 months in prison, though she only served six, and was released from jail in November of 2013 for good behavior, according to CBS News.

The baffling story of Wright will undoubtedly keep viewers hooked as it unfolds on screen. Catch Dewan’s portrayal of her as Sadie in “Let’s Get Physical,” which hits Lifetime on Oct. 15, and watch the trailer below!

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