GOMAG.COM
Get Real
by Esther Zinn
June 15, 2012
Last season, fans of Showtime’s The Real L Word were treated to the stars’ cross-country love affairs, a fertility rite invoked in the name of divine pregnancy intervention, a touching coming out story and the construction of a custom dildo. With the close of the unmissable reality series’ second installment, avid viewers awaited the next chapters in the main cast members’ documented lives. Would Kacy and Cori’s attempts to start a family succeed? Who would be Whitney’s next steamy exploit?

The wait is at an end: The Real L Word premiered June 12 with a bi-coastal scope and new cast members from the New York lesbian scene alongside L.A.-based newbies and returning favorites. Ilene Chaiken, the creator and producer of The Real L Word and its scripted predecessor, The L Word, remains at the helm. At her side are executive producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz from the same Emmy-winning production company behind Top Chef.

This season, Season Two standouts Whitney, Sara, Romi, Kacy and Cori meet Angelenos Lauren and Amanda. The West Coast contingent is joined by Somer and Kiyomi, two fierce New Yorkers with serious East Coast attitude. Each of the women hails from a variety of glamorous and demanding occupations. Cases in point: Lauren is the CEO of a jewelry company, while Kiyomi and Somer are both musicians in the lesbian punk band Hunter Valentine.

The series focuses on the on-again, off-again relationships between the characters, their exes, their co-workers and families. Lauren, for example, is dubbed “a committed bachelor” expecting her best-friend-with-benefits, Amanda, to make the cross-country move from New York to L.A. In what initially appears as a case of extreme U-Hauling, Amanda ends up living with Lauren while hoping to maintain their non-couple status.

Having lived in New York for the previous seven years, Amanda is a jet-setting socialite who has a hard time adjusting to the more relaxed tempo of Southern California. “The pace is so much slower [in L.A.], so adjusting to that is definitely a challenge,” Amanda admits. “New York just has a sharper edge to it, while the work ethic and the way of life in L.A. is totally different. But I’m learning.”

She’s coy about revealing too many details about her bestie-with-benefits arrangement with Lauren. “We’re pretty much attached at the hip. Our personalities are so different, but there’s enough similarity between us to create some comedic moments. You’ll just have to watch what unfolds.”

But not every Real L Word star is on the make. Fans who identified with the Kacy and Cori’s domestic storyline might be pleasantly surprised to by Somer of Hunter Valentine. The rock star at heart struggles to balance the badass trip of music and touring with her desire for a ‘normal’ married life with wife and potential kids.

Somer and her wife, Donna, met in true New York fashion and have been together for about six years. “She was sitting on a curb in the east village. I handed her a flyer for my show because I thought she was cute, but I was really shy so I ran away as fast as I could!” she remembers.

There’s a push and pull. Donna loves me because I’m a musician, but she hates that I always have to be away on the road,” Somer adds. “When we got married, Donna and I were talking about settling down and having kids. But I joined Hunter Valentine just a few months later, and that became challenge for us to work through. We had to put the domestic stuff on hold for now.”

I think she’s fantastic. Maybe that fact won’t come across in the show if we’re yelling about having babies, but I really love her.”

Somer insists, however, that Hunter Valentine takes center stage in the upcoming series. Fans learn that living for rock n’ roll isn’t all whiskey and groupies—a lot of work goes into creating songs and running their band like a business. “We’re smart, driven, and committed to making art,” she continues.

Somer’s band mate, Kiyomi, is Hunter Valentine’s front woman. Stubborn, ambitious and totally committed to the band, she says the trappings of fame are a myth. “People will see that the cliché of a rock star lifestyle doesn't really exist. The behind-the-scenes moments with Hunter Valentine will expose how hard we work in order to do what we love. It's not all about girls, partying and rock n’ roll—but at the same time, it’s nice if you can get it!”

The band goes through emotional highs and lows like the other cast members. We love to love and we love to fight. We are passionate, hard working and borderline insane at times. The world will just have to tune in to see how that all plays out,” she says.

Of course, playing music and gigs as part of a wildly popular reality series is a great way to gain a wider audience for your band—a feeling shared by The Real L Word honchos as well. The casting company contacted Hunter Valentine’s management directly, seeing their unbridled performances and dynamic personalities as a perfect fit with the returning cast members. “As a band, you try and expose your music to as many people as possible and a show like The Real L Word definitely gave us the platform to present ourselves on more of a global level,” Kiyomi says.

Of course, what would The Real L Word be without Whitney, the womanizer who’s achieved a Shane-like cult status? The resident celesbian continues to juggle often interchangeable exes and friends as she pursues and is pursued by her latest conquests. While her fellow cast mates navigate the troubled shoals of married life, Whitney revels in no-strings-attached attractions.

I'll just say there have been some big changes in my love life this season,” says the uncharacteristically tight-lipped chick magnet.

For all of her bravado and charm, Whitney still maintains a humble, yet somewhat sly, lack of awareness about her desirability. What’s her secret? “I guess you would have to ask my exes—but I think being able to laugh at yourself helps.”

Though hesitant to reveal too many surprises in Season Three, Whitney’s not afraid to bare all on screen—and has some strong opinions about it. “I was asked in an interview once if ‘felt ashamed’ after seeing myself in sex scenes. To that I said, ‘would you ask a man that question?’ In this world, I think women are too often made to feel shame about their bodies and their sexuality. We’re expected to stay within certain perimeters of femininity. I'm comfortable with myself, and we are all consenting adults,” she points out.

This is a show where the common denominator is sexuality. Well, guess what, everyone: I know it may be surprising, but I really have sex!”

For now, fans will have to figure out the secret behind Whitney’s animal magnetism on their own during Season Three. Grab some snacks, cuddle up on the couch with a loved one (or cat), and watch the lesbian drama unfold, all without ever having to accidentally run into your ex-girlfriend in public.


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