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What It’s Like for Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys 

What It’s Like for Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys 

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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 Gay.

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 boyfriend?
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.

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