Exclusive Interview: VH1's Tool Academy Lesbians
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For two seasons, audiences have been irresistibly drawn to VH1’s dysfunction-fest, Tool Academy, in which girlfriends desperate to change their partners' “toolish” ways—which include everything from infidelity, compulsive lying, compulsive tanning and general obnoxious alpha male behavior—trick their partners into enrolling in their last chance for change, the Tool Academy. The show promises to help them see the error of their ways and become better men as well as partners.
We here at Curve have been secretly watching every episode since it began airing, whispering about our guilty pleasure, decrying the behavior of the tools and shaking our heads in wonder at the women who stay with them. However, when it was announced that season three of the series would not only include female tools—or “toolettes” if you prefer—but that one of the ladies was half of a lesbian couple, this news was greeted with a collective gasp of relief that we could finally come out of the guilty pleasure closet and justify our watching with bated breath as a professional interest.
When the show premiered, we were introduced to Courtney Barcellos (the tool) and Cheron Wilson (the fed up girlfriend) who had tricked her partner into applying for a fictitious game show that promised contestants a chance to become the “Party Ambassador of Mexico.” Courtney quickly revealed a number of infidelities in on-camera confessionals, as well as in footage caught on hidden camera. However, the two vowed to try and work it out and carry on. Unfortunately, after only four short episodes, Barcellos was declared "just a tool" and ousted from the house. The episode concluded with Wilson ending the relationship and Barcellos swearing not to give up on them.
We recently caught up with the couple—yep, that’s right the two are back together—to hear their side of the story. They share about falling in love, what it was like to have their relationship under the microscope, facing infidelity and if a tool can ever really change their toolish ways.
First of all, let me ask you, how did you end up on the show? Did you reach out to VH1?
Cheron Wilson: Well, it’s funny because Courtney and I had watched the second season together, and I was thinking in the back of my mind, like, Hmm. Courtney can be a tool at times. I wonder if she’d learn anything. [Laughs] I did like, a video interview kind of thing. I sent it in. They liked me, they liked the story…So I convinced Courtney to go. She was all gung ho about it.
Courtney Barcellos: I signed up for the show to be this party ambassador, you know—travel around the world and party, do things that I enjoy: beautiful women, alcohol, awesome. I guess I should’ve been suspicious that she was OK with me leaving to go drink with other women in a different country. So I signed up, got on, thought I got on because I can be insane at times and next thing I know I’m enrolled in a whole different show.
Well what went through your head when the water exploded and the sign popped up and said you were on Tool Academy?
Barcellos: The sign wasn’t even that scary. It was the water—it sounded like we were at war, it was so damn loud. It just shot up and it got us all with water. Some people wanted to walk off. Me, I was too stunned [to] know what the hell to do. And then the sign pops up and as far as I knew the show was only for men—so that’s even more of a punch in the gut.
Cheron, you mentioned how they were sort of intrigued by the story of how you guys met. Can you tell me a little bit about how you guys met?
Wilson: I had a couple gay friends on the coast, and they were like, Come out with us, because I had just…got divorced from my husband, so I was not having a good time, and they were like, Come out with us, we’re going to a bar—it’s a gay night. It’s a lot of fun. And I’m like, OK. I have a lot of gay friends. I’ve never been in a gay relationship, but I know they’re a lot of fun. So, I started drinking, and Courtney pulled me onto the dance floor, and we started dancing and we talked and we just really hit it off. She was really cool and charismatic. She made me feel really comfortable, and we had chemistry.
Was this is your first same-sex relationship?
Wilson: In college I had an experience with another woman, but it was more like, a curious kind of thing. There was something about Courtney—you know, in the past men had treated me horribly, and I figured, you know, why not try something new? At least give it a chance, because I had a curiosity about it. It worked the first couple of months, and then it started going downhill.
Courtney, do you think she was drawn to your player ways? Or is that something, when you meet a girl, you keep low-key?
Barcellos: I’ve got this smile and the smooth talking. No, I’m just joking. Forever doomed with women, awesome. We had a great conversation and…there was just some natural chemistry that was there. Of course I’m sure I threw out probably 20 lines at her. I’ll be honest, the first time we met was a very drunken moment. Like, you’re at a bar. It’s not like I’m ordering water on the rocks back-to-back.
Wilson: I think a lot of women like that bad girl, bad boy type thing. They like that, the chase. So I think a little bit of that—Courtney portrayed that, and it intrigued me a little. But you know, she has a soft side too. And you don’t really see that on the show a lot, but she does have a soft side.