The first season of Sundance
Channel original gay reality series, Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, was so popular that critics and viewers — including more than
230,000 Facebook fans — hosted viewing in-house parties each week to toast the
New York City-based shenanigans. Now season two is set to premiere today in
back-to-back new episodes at 9 p.m. ET/PT, featuring a whole new cast and a new
location, this time in not-so-liberal Nashville, Tennessee.
Girls Who Like Boys Who
Like Boys, which is produced by World
of Wonder (the folks behind Becoming Chaz and RuPaul’s Drag Race)
looks at the special relationship between gay men and straight women, featuring
several duos who are real-life friends, making it an immensely watchable
reality show where the bonds are authentic rather than made-for-the-camera
moments ala Bachelor and, well,
most other reality shows where strangers are housed together and cameras
intensify false perceptions of connection.
This season of Girls features a hit songwriter, a former child star, a
stand-up comic, a socialite, and a shrink in a city known for its patriotism,
country music, and religious fervor. We chatted with besties Tenisha Jackson
and Jared Allman. Allman grew up a Mormon on a 500-acre farm in East Tennessee,
while Jackson grew up in the heart of Memphis. She’s since authored a series of
books, including a novel of urban romantic intrigue, Immaculate Deception, which was released on November 11. (“That was one of
the best days of my life,” says Jackson. “And that wouldn't have been possible
if it weren't for Jared.”) Allman is an actor whose largest film to date is an
upcoming role in Scenes from a Gay Marriage.
The two have been best
friends since they met, though Jackson admits she gets flack from others in the
African-American community — not because Allman is gay, but because he’s white.
The Advocate: Did you have a friend like Tenisha when you were
growing up in Tennessee?
Jared: I did. Her name was Laura Parker — an amazing friend.
People used to say to us all the time, “You two are going to get out of this
town and do great things.” Well
not sure about me [Laughs], but Laura works for the United Nations and just
left back out for her latest assignment in the Congo. She is so special and
beautiful in every single way. She says she always knew about me being gay but
was kind enough to let me come to terms when I was ready, and I will always
love her for that.
I read that Tenisha’s
college years were spent hanging with celebs and pro-athletes. Tell me your
craziest experience during that time.
Tenisha: Probably one of the craziest experiences during that
time was when me and my girls went to the Superbowl in New Orleans one weekend,
the next weekend we flew to Philadelphia for the All-Star game, then we
vacationed in Hawaii — three weeks in a row — all while in one month during
college and I still managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA.
Jared, your childhood must
have been very different than Tenisha’s. Being gay and Mormon is not easy. What
was that like?
Jared: It was almost life and death for me. I felt very
isolated, alone, and empty. Like anyone who feels those feelings you start
thinking the unthinkable. Being gay and Mormon is one of the worst sins — basically,
I will burn in “spirit prison.” When I finally came to terms with myself, I
came home and told my parents. My dad drove me out into a hayfield on our farm
because he said we couldn’t talk about such things inside the house. I was 22.
He said I was sick, he would send me to Utah to get help. I told him I didn’t
need any help. I was born this way, like Lady Gaga — but I really said it. I
never wanted to be that man that lived a lie, had a family, cheated his whole
life, and hurt all those people along the way. My dad was so stupid, he even
said to me. “Are you going to start wearing dresses now?” I told him he was an
idiot. He has a masters degree! Also all of this will be in the book I am
writing titled, Kinda Good at Everything: Growing up Southern, Mormon, and
Why did you want to do a
reality show? What do you think people will take away from your relationship?
Tenisha: Jared was the one who encouraged me to do the show
and we both agreed it would be great exposure for our careers — in particular
for me, my writing career and my book series The Diamond Life. But I
really wanted to do it to show people that there are all sides to friendship.
Friendship comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes. They will see the dynamic relationship that Jared and I have
being that we come from two totally different backgrounds.
Jared: I wanted to do this show because of the message we
can spread about being gay in the south. That we all have the same problems, we
all bleed red. We want to love, be loved, laugh and cry, grow as humans. I
think people will get a glimpse of a once-in-a-lifetime friendship, where two
passionate people feel every emotion but hugely adore one another for their
strengths and weaknesses.
You’ve said if Jared
weren’t gay, you’d marry him. Does that make it hard to find the perfect
Tenisha: Yes, it makes it hard to find the perfect man,
because Jared is damn near perfect. We have the best times together. He treats
me like a queen, and he let's me be a diva. Jared is the first man, besides my brothers, that has
changed my life for the better. He
believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He was the one that encouraged me to finish writing the
first book from my Diamond Life series, Immaculate Deception and get it published.
Do potential boyfriends
have to match up to Jared?
Tenisha: Yes, of course guys have to match up to Jared — why
would I put up with BS from a man, when my BFF treats me like a queen? The guys I date are always jealous of
Jared. One reason is they don't believe he's gay. He’s such a masculine gay
that they think I'm lying. And
also for some reason they really get upset about the fact that he is white.
How does having Tenisha in
your life help or hurt your dating life, Jared?
Jared: I think
it helps [Laughs]. When I am out alone, people think I’m arrogant, but I am
actually really shy. It just doesn’t translate as that. So when Tenisha is with
me, we are always laughing, smiling, and more approachable.
Why did you move to
Nashville? Money or love?
Jared: I moved to Nashville for love. I met a boy who stole
my heart and captured my everything. He was what I was most proud of at that
time in my life. He said all the right things, did all the right things. He
moved me here and we built a life. We both worked in country music. Every
person I had met in town, he introduced me too. I had lost my whole identity.
So when he dumped me in April, I have never felt so broken. It has been six
months, and I am just now starting to get over it all.
You’re preparing for a
role in Scenes from a Gay Marriage. Tell me more about the film.
Jared: Well, this has been my biggest film role to date. I
had an incredible time and learned a lot. I had the opportunity to work
one-on-one with the great Matthew Riddlehoover — in my opinion, one of the best
gay filmmakers today. He worked
with me a lot to help me develop the character of Joe. Joe is a recently
divorced father who is gay. He is the maintenance man for an apartment complex
where he meets Darrin, the main character who was previously a kept man. But when
that relationship ends he has to move back to Tennessee to figure things out.
Joe fixes things in his apartment, but ultimately helps him fix his life and
find his happy.