Telephone’s “Lesbian Prisonyard Girlfriend” on Kissing Gaga, Queer Media, Gender & Being Hawt

Out Magazine talks to ‘Lady Gaga’s “prison yard girlfriend,” Canadian performance artist and personal trainer Heather Cassils. Prior to shooting, Cassils knew that Gaga was bringing performance art elements into her work, which she appreciated though she wasn’t a “huge fan per se” prior to the video. Her makeout role was decided on the spot, howevs: “Gaga called me over and asked me to portray her girlfriend and said, “OK, you’re going to be my prison girlfriend, and you’re going to come to me, and I’d like you to touch me inappropriately.” [Laughs] We just kind of went from there.”

Other highlights:

What was Gaga like on set?
She was extremely professional and very, very funny. After we did the [kissing] shot, she screamed across the yard to me, “I think you got me pregnant!” [Laughs] She was also very present and real. She took the time to ask people what they did for a living and who they were and where they were from. She was a very genuine, grounded person.

OK — let’s get to the juicy stuff: What was the kiss like?
I think we did several takes — to be honest, it was a little bit of a blur because it happened so quickly. On the first take, her cigarette sunglasses were steaming a little bit, but by the third or fourth take we were both inhaling a lot of secondhand smoke [Laughs]. It was kind of intense. And it just kind of happened naturally because she didn’t really give me explicit instructions to kiss her — it just felt like a natural thing to do. In fact, I sniffed her like a kind of aggressive beast. And as we got closer, she actually put her tongue in my mouth. She just went for it. [Laughs] It was really good.

It’s a fantastic interview and worth a read:

Tell me about your feelings about depictions of queer women in popular culture.
I’ve been in shoots before, and I’ve worked with other artists, and there’s this thing where they try to femme anybody up — especially when it’s mainstream media. And there’s this expectation that you’re either going to fit on one end of the spectrum or the other, so I really appreciated that I literally showed up on set and was allowed to go just as I am. My body is a complete construction. I feel there’s a lot of pressure, even in the queer world, to go trans or whatever and take these real extremes, and I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with that, but I do think there’s a lot you can do with your own body.

She talks about trans identity and representation, the reaction to Gaga’s bisexuality and alleged penis, her own performance art, and so much more! Really, read it!

Tegan & Sara did an interview with Mother Jones about Lilith Fair, songwriting, and their cute thoughts about Adam Lambert’s song What Do You Want From Me: “It’s meant to be big and bombastic, but as a songwriter, I’m really amazed.” (@motherjones)

Continuing the world’s somewhat sadistic fascination with Tila Tequila, the LA Times profiled the reality TV starlet after her fiancee Casey Johnson’s death. The portrait of Tila is a far cry from the one we got in December before Johnson died. The Times profile is full of the usual background information, sprinkled with a handful of fascinating observations and ridiculous quotes. For example:

It was a late, very rainy evening in January, and the 28-year-old reality television star and tabloid mainstay — born Thien-Thanh Thi Nguyen — had not had a good day. Only a few moments earlier, she’d opened the door to her home to find that her dog, Onyx, had chewed up a pair of her Lucite heels. She chained him to a stripper pole. With a Swiffer mop from the kitchen, she tried to brush aside the pieces of chewed up shoe, but the Velcro mop affixed itself to her rug instead. “I don’t know how to use this thing,” she said, tossing it aside in frustration.

To recap for you, Johnson died in early January, sending Tila into a tailspin involving incoherent tweets and pregnancy rumors. Her publicist quit soon after. SallyAnn Salsano, producer of A Shot At Love, told the Times: “If I had a crystal ball, this isn’t what I would have seen for her… I actually think she’s just on a desperate hunt for love. That was really all she ever wanted.”

The movie “Chloe” premiered last night in New York. It stars Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore, who reportedly have a hot love scene together. (@dnainfo)

So this crazypants guy continues to be super paranoid about pop culture. He thinks Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video is really just a way to subliminally brainwash all of us to do shit for the Illuminati.

“The hidden meaning of the video actually depicts the elite’s contempt for the general population, hence the scene of ritual murder of average Americans in a diner by mind-controlled slaves. Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Keep reading.”

You really should read this whole thing. It’s fascinatingly awful and has sentences like this: This “deeper meaning” found in Gaga’s video relates to mind control, a covert practice used by the military, the CIA, religious cults and the Illuminati elite. It is used to program human beings to become mental slaves and to execute specific tasks. (@vigilantcitizen)

Basically, this guy thinks he’s in the Josie and the Pussycats movie:

No, no, wait, she’s really just trying to hurt America’s kids! Sandy Rios of the Culture Campaign flipped her sh*t on Fox News over the video, saying:

“And this time we have to speculate on whether she has a male member or not or whether it’s been cut off or not. And then they do a mass murder at the the end. And then we’ve got Beyonce’ and GaGa as gay lesbian lovers. It’s disgusting Megan! I wouldn’t under any circumstance allow my children to buy Lady GaGa cd’s or listen to them and I would explain to them why. This is just poison in the minds of our kids.” (@livingoutloud)

Whatever, they’re both wrong, she’s clearly just pushing the gay agenda.

So episode 7 of Skins was super weird, and now people are lodging legit complaints about the show’s content. We think this ep could discourage already skeptical mentally ill people from getting treatment or from trusting their regimen of meds. (@digitalspy)

Speaking of Adam, he’s been on tour in Japan this week. (@hollywoodgossip)

And Camilla Gray of Uh Huh Her has started rehearsals with him as well!

Femonomics has raised concerns over the fact that The Bachelor franchise is the whitest show on TV. But Racialicious isn’t sure that’s an entirely bad thing. Having a more people of color on the show could be a nice change of pace, but there are a lot of ways it could go wrong. “Imagine if we had, say,  a Korean bachelorette.  I doubt we would make it through a single episode without references to said bachelorette’s exotic beauty and delicate hands.  Or what if we had a bachelor of colour pick a white suitor? We’d have another disastrous portrayal of white beauty being selected over nonwhite.” It’s an interesting argument on the pros, cons, and realities of non-white portrayals on the teevee. (@racialicious)

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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. so i don’t want to alarm anyone, but sara is really adorable in that interview. “maybe she’d be like, ‘no way, jose!'” <3

    • Sara Quin adorable in an interview?? Thanks for the warning dude. Seriously though, Tegan and Sara are like crack for the ears and eyes (except good for you I’m hoping). Also, stay calm everyone, but Heather Cassils is SECK-SAY.
      P.S. I’m (seriously for real) sorry if my boy-hormones make any of you lady-inclined ladies uncomfortable, and I hope you’d say so if they did because it’s something I worry about.

      • We’re fine with boy hormones! If you’re down with gay ladies, we’re down with you! And I agree with you about the Tegan & Sara/healthy crack comparison.

        • Thanks Sarah, that’s reassuring! But just to be clear, I was kind of inviting people to tell me off and not reassure me. Perhaps this was entirely the wrong kind of conversation-opener…

          • Boo you whore!
            That’s all I got for you Niklas. And Regina George said it first. Sorry.

    • I’ve been having an epic soul battle ever since I heard that tee&ess are going on tour with Paramore. I’m aware some people here may like Paramore, but just saying. I feel like I’ve been betrayed by a good friend. “But,” as a buddy laid it down for me “they’re not your friends.” Touché. Also sadface.

  2. “Or what if we had a bachelor of colour pick a white suitor? We’d have another disastrous portrayal of white beauty being selected over nonwhite”

    Does this mean falling in love with someone who is white if you are a POC is an inherently bad action? Because that in and of itself seems problematic to me.

    Granted, the Bachelor isn’t a good example of love or whatever, but my point stands.

    • Before anyone tells me I didn’t read the article, I did, and also took issue with this:

      Whatever the actual context of a mixed race white/POC bachelor(/ette) pairing, the mere optics would simply reinforce a demoralising message that people of colour are sick of hearing: we are never as dateable as white folks, or if we are dateable it is in a weird-ass creepy fetish way that we’d rather go without, thankyou.

      Whatever the context? Even if they are in love? Jesus H. But thinking this way probably means I’m racist and awful and I only ever would date a POC to give myself post-racial pats on the back, natch.

      • Yeah, their point is pretty complicated. They take a lot of aspects into consideration. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I’m white, so maybe I don’t get it. It’s worth thinking about, though, IMO.

        • Yeah, I hate the Bachelor, and some of their thoughts about what could go wrong are valid, but I don’t agree with some of the things they say or conclusions they come to.

          • i think most of the points they make are dead-on but clearly they forgot about A SHOT AT LOVE WITH TILA TEQUILA which featured not only a diverse group of potential mates, but a POC as the focus of the show! BEST SHOW EVER HOW COULD THAT BE FORGOTTEN.

          • Well her picking a white person invalidates it all, doncha know. Just like her picking a man invalidates women being presented on the show. Except it doesn’t, at least to me.

            Sorry, I just get frustrated because I feel like it’s damned if you, damned if you don’t.

          • I feel like that was kind of the point they were making, though. Like, I don’t think they felt like there’s a right way to do race on dating shows and the Bachelor just isn’t doing it; I felt like they were like “man, this shit is complicated, it sucks. Also the Bachelor sucks too.”

          • I actually thought (I could be wrong) that they said the only right way to do it is with all POC. And that’s just like a weird segregation to me and maybe I am stupid or racist or whatever. :(

      • Well when you’re surrounded by just about everyone saying your look/body/race is unacceptable, and you’ve frequently been turned down for superficial reasons, when someone does come up to you and find you attractive there is this moment of “do you only like me because I’m exotic? What if I was the same race as you, would you find me attractive then?”. And then there’s this huge political drama about how mixed-race couples are selling out (especially if it’s a het couple and the woman’s a minority) because they’re just reinforcing the idea that their own men are undesirable. Also, there’s been a deep history in many places of colonizers forcibly marrying or raping local women, and the children being in a very complicated spot because they have the blood of the enemy.

        It is very deep complicated stuff, most of which has to to with the idea that if you’re not anything like The Dominant Class and Their Attributes, you’re not worthy of anything.

        • And I guess I don’t think mixed race couples are doing anything wrong, so I think it’s silly to lambast them? I don’t know, maybe I am stupid or racist or all of the above :(

          • Jen, please stop calling yourself a racist…and I know I’ve just met you, but your comments on here are measured, reasonable, logical, and quite often hilarious as f*ck.

            You are not stupid.

            I agree with you that mixed race couples do not have anything to explain to anyone. They are just fine. I do recognize the cultural issues in certain areas.

            I live in a southern state in the U.S. and sometimes witness harrassment of interracial couples…and well as gay people like myself. I’m just saying that I think they should love whomever they want anyway, because I’m going to.

          • Well I’m in a mixed-race couple myself (other half’s white Aussie) and I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong either! But there’s still the pressure of “marrying a good Bengali man” and “what if your cultures don’t mix” etc. People gossip and the pressure can be immense. I find it REALLY annoying when I hear guys saying people like me are selling out because I’m dating a white guy, as though I’m a traitor to their race or I only like white people or something, but it’s a very common attitude. And there are people who are only into Asians/Africans/etc just for the exotic factor – one time someone on Ask Metafilter asked about how to get an Indian wife, because they’re loyal and submissive and meek. Er, ew.

            One of my best friends is Eurasian (Chinese-Portugese) dating a Malay boy. The main conflict is that she’s Christian (nominally) and the boy’s Muslim, and in Malaysia if you want to marry a Muslim by law you have to convert to Islam. Her boy doesn’t actually care what her religion is, but her parents have been giving her a LOT of crap about what if she converts and how the Islamic system is unfair in Malaysia and etc.

            So it’s not so much that mixed-race couples are WRONG, but more that there’s so much drama surrounding mixed-race couples that some people (like The Bachelor crew) go “ah fuck it, I don’t want to go through the fallout”. You being confused doesn’t make you racist, but unless you’ve been in that situation it can be hard to understand.

    • I have so many feelings on this… I remember it coming up in my queer studies class once and asking the teacher what kind of relationship *would* be acceptable for a POC. She didn’t have a good answer. :/

      My girlfriend is multi-racial (half Chinese, half Caucasian Australian). Where does she fall in this whole thing? Like, is she denying her Asian-ness by dating mostly-white me?

      Also, from what I understand I think her mom took a lot more crap for dating/marrying a white dude than her dad did for marrying a Chinese lady. (When she got a job in Hawaii as a flight attendant, her parents told him that she had moved to marry a cop. He didn’t fall for it, lol.)

      • Personally I think the relationship that is suitable for a POC is one that *they choose*. Date whoever you want, it’s not our responsibility to make sure we’re upholding the race by only dating our own! But oh man, the drama is crazy. There is immense pressure to stay within your own culture, whether the love of your life wants to or not – which is what people are trying to say with the “acceptability” thing.

        So your girlfriend might have people telling her “oh, you’re denying your Asianness because you’re dating a white girl!”, which isn’t necessarily true, but is a common statement nonetheless.

  3. “I think it’s important to posit something that will make people raise their eyebrows. It’s not about just being accepted — it’s about opening up people’s brains a bit.”

    Snap! Heather Cassils stays true to herself … and gets to make out with GaGa. WIN!

    And I really, really want to see her performances now. Geez.

  4. Welp, I don’t know about you but I certainly want to give up my family, possessions and livelihood to follow her and become a fisher of monsters.

    If loving Gaga is mind control then I don’t want to think right.

    She ate my heart and then she ate my brain!

    And I am so okay with that.
    I guess that means IT’S WORKING

  5. I feel the way about the heather cassils interview the way I feel about the gaga kiss which is basically OMG can’t believe this really exists and is on tv/the internet. she says things like this:

    I started off as a painter and a drawer, but I now do performance art, and I know that sounds absolutely terrifying, like you imagine people shoving yams up their asses, but I think of my work as moving paintings essentially.


    If you look at mainstream representations, it’s mostly things like The L Word. Or you have a trans character, but it’s not played by a real trans man, it’s played by someone with a grizzly man beard Scotch-taped onto their face.

    I mean I dk, I think it depends, but re:max’s soul patch SERIOUSLY, AMEN.

    • OR SVU, where we’re all crazy seperatist man-hating bitches that want to make out with Olivia.

      When really only that last part is true

    • I loved that she was like “you know, like The L Word” and then just randomly as her one example was definitely talking about Max.

      I actually paused the credits over and over and googled every name on them to find out who the fuck that girl was, and then three days later OUT pops up with an interview and she turns out to be my future wife! what are the chances. someday we’ll be 2gether.

  6. WHAT! Tegan and Sara used body doubles for Alligator?? snort! I had no idea, that’s highlarious.

    The TS avatars are pretty dang funny too!

  7. OMG I WANT HER ARMS I HAVENT READ THE REST OF THIS BUT MAN. If i could be half as ripped as her I would be happy.

    • I’d prefer half as ripped. I loved her in the video, but that much muscle on anyone kinda freaks me out. It’s the popping out veins thing… I fear that one of them will suddenly burst. Irrational, I know.

  8. Heather Cassils. How did someone that hot even HAPPEN? I’ll be back when I’ve got the burning white-hot hotness out of my eyes, see ya.

  9. Oh wait okay now I’ve read the Illuminati guy’s thing and LOLGASM:
    Gaga’s video is “peppered with tons of product placements and transvestites.”

  10. man, those commentators are defo terrible/AWESOME/hilarious. i’m bothered more than anything that they think beyonce and gaga are “lesbian lovers,” though – i feel like gaga made a point of having them just be partners in crime, and avoiding the britney-madonna-femme-celeb-hooks-up-with-other-femme-celeb thing. it’s sad that for people who work at fox news, the only reason two women could respect each other or help each other out or work together is because they’re “lesbian lovers.” i mean god, did they not see thelma and louise or something?

  11. I do not like what do you want from me but I really love Sara’s enthusiasm. “I just want to be like, ‘Dear Pink, HOW!?! Love, Sara.'” SOOO CUTE!

    I thought about Riese when I saw it, like someone keep this from her. If she knew Tegan and Sara like Adam Lambert she might combust.

  12. I don’t know what to believe about Telephone, but I do know that that demon face that appears on Beyonce’s sleeve during the video is NO JOKE.

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