Whitney’s Back, plus plenty of new faces on ’The Real L Word’
A role model?
EDGE: Sajdah, you’re one of the new faces on the show. Is it safe to say you watched the first season?
Sajdah: I definitely watched the first season [and] probably in every scene that Whitney was in, I was like ’Ooh, I want to be on that.’
EDGE: What was it about Whitney that drew you in?
Sajdah: I had just come out and I didn’t even know how to approach women at the time. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know how to tell if a woman was gay. And then watching Whitney... she was just amazing.
EDGE: Whitney, there is a lot going on with you in the second season. There’s Sara... there’s Rachel... Romi is in the picture...
Whitney: [laughs] A lot happens this year and I definitely go through a transformation and a growing process this season and I’m trying to figure out my place and where I’m at so you’ll see that. But there is definitely a lot. I like that in the first episode I’m back at the airport. [laughs.Editor’s note: last season, Whitney was seen dropping off one lover at the airport only to drive to another terminal to pick up another lover]
EDGE: Sajdah, you start dating somebody pretty quick but how challenging is that with cameras following you around?
Sajdah: That was a whole other struggle. My partner wasn’t completely comfortable with the cameras being there. It was difficult because in the beginning of a relationship you’re still getting to know each other and we were constantly distracted by if the other person was kind of putting on for the cameras. Like, there are moments where Shanelle thought I was more romantic than I would’ve been if the cameras weren’t there. We know better now but things were just complicated in those moments.
EDGE: You haven’t been out too long but here you are on a television show really showing your life. How did you get to this place?
Sajdah: For me, it was really like I had an epiphany one day. I had this moment where it made sense why all my relationships with guys never worked and why this woman made me feel the way that I felt and I wasn’t going to deny myself of that. So I went from being in to being out 100%.
EDGE: You’re also big in LGBT activism. Were you an activist before you came out?
Sajdah: I’ve always been active in different causes. I worked on the Obama campaign and I’ve always been pretty involved and always had my interest in rights movements but I wasn’t connected to the LGBT movement at all. Actually, that’s why I got involved as much as I did and as soon as I did. After I came out, I felt kind of guilty for taking advantage of my straight privilege and somewhat ignoring the disparage of other people. It wasn’t until I was suffering from it that I realized just how big a deal it was.
EDGE: In this new season we see Cori and Kacy in the process of having a baby. Is parenthood in your respective futures?
Whitney: Absolutely! I’ve never even questioned the fact that I want to be a mother. I would say it’s in my five-year plan. If I get to the point in my life and a place where I could have enough time by myself and I didn’t have a partner I would do it myself. Obviously, it’s preferable to have a partner and go through the process with someone.
Sajdah: I definitely want to be a parent. I come from a huge family and we’re really close. I love children. I used to teach middle school English so I definitely want a family. As far as [giving birth to] children, that’s up for discussion with whomever my partner is at the time.
EDGE: Whitney, do you hear from fans other than lesbians?
Whitney: I hear from everyone. It’s really amazing the amount of positive feedback. I hear a lot from lesbians and a lot from girls or guys coming out or dealing with their sexuality so I try to give advice wherever I can with that. I also hear from straight girls who are either flirting with me or just those who say they can relate to my story. As for straight guys, I have a lot of support - for some reason - from straight male cops. I don’t know if it’s the whole dropping one off at the airport and picking one up but I do feel a little safer getting pulled over because I feel like maybe I can get off without a ticket.
EDGE: People look at reality shows not just for entertainment but the cultural aspect of it, there’s a lot of exposing of yourself. Can you talk up about opening yourself up and knowing people are going to see you having sex with Sara?
Whitney: I was asked about this after season one and there were some very graphic scenes between Romi and I and one thing I always got was ’Do you regret doing what you did?’ and my response is ’If a straight man did the same thing would you use the word regret?’ The answer would be no and that’s exactly why I won’t say that. I don’t regret it. I’m not ashamed of my body and the one thing is that we’re lucky enough to be on a premium network. You want reality? This is part of my reality. Turns out I have sex. Go figure! If I can show someone in Middle America who might not have any concept of what lesbian sex is and what it actually entails, then I’m happy to do so. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m a consenting adult with another consenting adult so I’m definitely not ashamed or embarrassed and hopefully it can be a learning experience for someone.
EDGE: With two seasons under your belt, if the show keeps coming back, are you in?
Whitney: I’m in it for the long haul. It’s something that I’ve given a lot of myself to and I’ll take it as far as it goes. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see me having babies! Who knows how long it will last! You might see me pregnant in season five! [laughs]
"The Real L Word" airs Sundays at 10pm et/pt on Showtime.
Watch this interview with Whitney and Rose on "The Real L Word, Season Two":