Lesbian Reality Televison Q&A Round up

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Tila Tequila's Girls Speak

Written by: Kristin A. Smith and Candace Moore

Brandi Ryan, who left the show in a firestorm of emotions, may have a second chance at reality TV. The 23-year-old from Costa Mesa, Calif., has proposed a new show to MTV that centers around helping teenagers deal with some of the issues Ryan herself has dealt with—abuse, foster care, the court system and coming out.

“I really want to help them believe in themselves,” says Ryan. Since Shot at Love ended, Ryan has received 40,000 emails from fans, most of who ask her advice on dealing with their problems.

In terms of dealing with her own problems, she says she’s “still learning.” Ryan may be remembered best for her emotional exit and unsuccessful return. She says that she handled the situation wrong, by “running away from a problem instead of explaining it.”
She adds that if she could have really told Tila her feelings, she would have had a real shot at love. For now, though, she’s choosing to remain single and refocus her attention on raising her brother, who she began fostering five years ago.

If MTV were actually a university, and Shot at Love a class, Amanda Ireton would be the funny girl in the back of the room who is everybody’s best friend (myspace/msk1tty.com). Some might like her because she rolls her eyes at the trivial fights between underclassmen. Others might like her because she’s tall and has big breasts. But Ireton is a girl to be remembered, not for her outlandish behavior, but because she was consistently herself.

“I was real throughout the whole thing,” says Ireton. She was one of the three final contestants, and attributes her longevity to her humor and age. At 28, Ireton is one of the oldest competitors. “A lot of the younger girls don’t really know who they are,” she says, “I do.” Plus she adds, “Tila really appreciated my sense of humor.”

While Ireton admits that there was no real sexual chemistry between Tequila and her, she says the show was important, because “it was historical and raised awareness and helped gain acceptance for the queer community.”

Ireton, a high femme from Southern California, is a self-proclaimed “serious member of the gay community.” By serious she means she came out at 15, dated all types of women and was even married to a woman. She says her quote at the beginning of the show about butch women being unappealing was a misrepresentation of what she said. “They cut out the beginning of the quote. When I heard the edited version, my stomach just dropped.”

As for her life after Tila…she says she’s reentering the dating scene. “If somebody amazing falls into my life, then I’ll go for it.” “Until then,” she jokes, “I’m accumulating a group of dykes to tattoo my name on their body.” Ireton begins a standup comedy tour in February.

Vanessa Romanelli is the girl most likely to kick your ass. The self-proclaimed “wild, crazy bitch from the show,” has proven her ability to tumble with the best of them (from boys to Brandi).

Kicked off in a flurry of fist swinging and hair pulling, Romanelli has made numerous club appearances where she runs a spin-off stage version of the Tila Tequila show—A Shot at Love with Vanessa. In these performances, Vanessa invites a group of men and women up onto the show to, as she puts it, “berate them.” And they seem to be lining up for the abuse. “They love it,” she says, “people really want to do this.”

Romanelli says despite her vilification on the show, she “really [is] a nice girl.” She says that MTV showed what they wanted to show, and while she did lash out when angry, she was also very nice and made some great friends. In fact, she says that while she and Tila had some chemistry, the real chemistry was with her seeming nemesis, Brandi. “We had a real love/hate relationship,” says Romanelli. As for her dating? The 24-year-old New Yorker says she’s single and “partying it up.”

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