Dykes from all over Ontario, Quebec and beyond lined up outside the Flamingo bar on the closing night of Pride for a chance to glimpse, grab and have a photo op with two of the stars from Showtime’s The Real L Word, Whitney Mixter and Rose Garcia. The two flew in to Ottawa to attend the first party of the newly launched Xquisite series. Xtra chatted with Whitney and Rose at brunch the following day. Here’s an excerpt of our interview:
Xtra: How did you get into reality TV?
Whitney Mixter: A friend of mine got called in for casting for Season 1, and she asked me to go with her for moral support. I went with no intention of trying out, but they ended up filming us both — I ended up getting cast and my friend didn’t.
Rose Garcia: Mine was a little different. I had known the creator, Ilene Chaiken, from the past, so she called me and said, “Hey, I’m doing a reality-based version of the show. I’m not really involved in the casting process until the final part of it, they’re going to screen everyone through, but I am going to put your name down. What do you think?” It was a long process, about four to six months. I would go through these interviews and then I wouldn’t get called back for about a month. I didn’t realize that I was being considered until I was in a room of Showtime executives and the production assistants. I walked into the room, they asked three questions, and I got a call a week later.
WM: I had a two-week trial, and as soon as I dropped someone off at the airport and picked someone up on day three, they were like, “Yep, you’re in.”
Xtra: What is it like to be followed by a camera crew?
WM: Honestly, it’s really intense. The moments that you are pissed or stressed out and want the camera to be on you the least, that’s when they are on you the most. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or things like that, they’re there. It definitely challenges you. It pushes you, but at the same time it breaks you down — you learn from it. I think I have grown tremendously through the process. I’ve learned a lot about myself and definitely know what I want now more than I did. Maybe it happened because of some fucked-up situation, but it makes you face your shit.
RG: I think for me it was a blessing and a curse. I got to see my immature side and the way I was towards people. But on the other side, I got to involve my family, who were very supportive of the project. They opened their home and their hearts — showing they are supportive of their gay child, not caring what my sexual orientation was, so that part was awesome. But also hearing them say, “She has got to settle down,” you have no choice but to relive those moments from a third-party perspective and see yourself and the way you react in certain situations. You know, I was kind of a jackass at times, 99 percent of the time, and then the one percent I was a doting, loving granddaughter or daughter.
WM: I have learned that the word honest — I used it a lot, like, “I’m being honest” — doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing the right thing. So I have definitely learned that, and my relationships with women have changed.
RG: We filmed for nine weeks. Whitney probably had the most gruelling schedule because she had the most, I would say, full dance card. But we had six days of filming, 12 to 15 hours a day, and there was one day a week that you could possibly get off just to rest and decompress.
WM: But you couldn’t do anything. If, on that day off you thought about going anywhere or doing anything, then they would be there, so you just had to sit. People ask if it is real, and it really is. Sometimes you wish you could say no, but no — unfortunately, it’s very fucking real.
Xtra: When you go back and watch yourselves, are their edits true, or do they pick up what they think people want to watch?
RG: I think Season 1 and 2 were a little different. I mean different because the cast on Season 2 intermingled, but on Season 1 we didn’t. But my story line was true to what I did.
WM: Think about it: they are shooting so many hours over such a long time, so is the edit true? As true as it can be. They consolidate it and chop it up to tell a story, but it’s like, “Was I just having sex for nine weeks?” No, but that’s what they kind of make it seem like.
RG: (laughing) Was Whitney naked all the time?
WM: Apparently, yes I was. Was I always in the shower or in a body of water with a girl?
RG: Was she always mud wrestling, Jell-O wrestling or oil wrestling? Always! Every day!
Xtra: You say that you learned something. What do you think you have learned from the experience?
WM: Oh, just seeing the way I communicate on Season 1 — Season 2 is a little different — on Season 1, regardless of how honest I was being, or thought I was being with girls, it doesn’t mean that they don’t get emotionally involved, even if we are not technically girlfriends. Especially with Tor on Season 1; I feel like I hurt her, and that’s something I feel bad about. They were emotions that came into play, and I feel like I take that into consideration more. I learned what I want and I have kind of toned myself down a bit. No, I haven’t really, but…
Xtra to Rose: Do you think Whitney has changed?
RG: Here’s the thing: I think that she hasn’t changed — [turning to Whitney] hear me out for a second before you smack me — and the reason I think Whitney is always Whitney. She is a very honest and loving free-spirit individual. She loves women, she loves life and that is who she is. She has just happened to find someone on her level that has made her focus on that one relationship. She hasn’t changed who she is. She’s still the same person; she has just found someone who she can focus on, who has grabbed her attention, and that has helped her to see life differently in regards to being a polygamist, sexual object… just kidding.
WM: I can’t get away with shit now.
RG: She has found someone that challenges her.
WM: Sara and I have met our matches with one another… Season 3 could see me all booted up, tied down, whatever you want to call it.
RG: My single life has been very interesting.
RG: Because of the show and all of the attention. In LA no one really cares because I have been there my entire life. We party in LA and we know everyone, so it’s a little different, but the moment we step out of that bubble, it’s like, wow!
Xtra: Did you expect that?
RG: When I did the show and it aired, I was still in a relationship with Natalie, and it was a different kind of attention. The moment I became single, it has been amazing to say the least.
WM: I felt it was like the opposite. Before I was like “Whoo” — when I was single I definitely had fun while I was on the road, but now… no, I am not going to get all sappy.
RG: What was weird was that when she was single I was in a relationship, and now that I am single she is in a relationship, so I think the world would combust if we were both single together. The lesbian world would just explode.