Anyone But Me‘s Nicole Pacent & Rachael Hip-Flores: The Autostraddle Interview & Photoshoot

Tangent: High School Lovers


Riese: Were you guys in relationships in high school that were as serious as the ones your characters are in?

Rachael: [laughs] I wasn’t —

Nicole: I was!

Rachael: I was soooooo socially awkward.

Nicole: I tend to be a serial dater. I was in a serious relationship with a boy from the last week of eighth grade ’til we finally ended things completely four days into college. But we broke up about five times in between, and one of those times was for nine months which is when I dated my first girlfriend. And that was a very serious relationship.

Riese: So then you broke up with your girlfriend and went back to your boyfriend? Ut-oh …

Nicole: I know, that may not go over well. But we’re friends now and everything’s fine! We’re okay! Her name is Nicole too actually. And I’m reminded of my relationship with Nicole when we’re filming. The girl-girl dynamic is very different than the girl-guy dynamic, it just is, in every way possible. But it’s the reverse, like she was more Aster and I was Vivian.

Riese: Did she go to your high school?

Nicole: She did, and we’d both always wanted to go to NYU and we both did. She was a year ahead of me. We broke up and dated again in college, off and on, while dating other people.

Tangent: The Gay Thing

When the interview on SheWired was first published, where I first talked about my sexuality, I was like [sighs] – WOW okay — there it is! I’ve always just been really honest about who I am. It would be against everything I believe in as a person to lie about it.

Riese: So how do you identify now?

Nicole: Bi. I identify as bi. Yeah, yeah, I dated my most recent ex-girlfriend for a long time and we just broke up in December, and that was … really hard. And now I’m dating whoever comes along!

Riese: Is dating different now being on this show and people knowing that you’re out?

Nicole: It is different. When the interview on SheWired was first published, where I first talked about my sexuality, I was like [sighs] — WOW okay — there it is! WOW! It’s something I always thought about a lot. My ex-girlfriend Ashley and I would talk about “what are you gonna do when …” a lot.

Nicole Pacent, SheWired's Shannon Connolly & Susan Miler at Pride L.A.

Nicole Pacent, SheWired's Shannon Connolly & Writer Susan Miler at Pride L.A.

I’ve always just been really honest about who I am. It would be against everything I believe in as a person to lie about it. It would contradict everything that I think. And the reaction to it has been more than worth it. Because people write me like every day thanking me and saying that I gave them courage — like from all over the world – some girl wrote me and said that her and her girlfriend lived in this really small conservative college and it gives them hope because they can’t be out ’cause they’ll be kicked out of school and … it’s crazy.

Living here and having grown up here you almost forget it’s so different. I never had to worry about walking down the street with my girlfriend holding my hand. And if this show — if me coming out — helps one person, then it was worth it.

Riese: Definitely, we get those too, and I definitely feel privileged to be able to put our faces and our names are out there because we have the luxury of being out … [to Rachael] Is it weird to be on a show where the fact that she’s gay makes her “the heartthrob” to most of the fan base?

Rachael: [laughs] Well I think she’s got a little bit more going for her than just her sexuality.

Nicole: Aw, shucks.


Riese: It’s usually the other way around where if the girl is gay they have to worry that the audience isn’t gonna be into it, ’cause they assume the audience wants a heterosexual crush object.

Nicole: That’s funny, you’re right, it is usually the other way.

Rachael: It’s a great change; I think it’s a great change!

Tangent: Cruisin’

Nicole: [devious] Actually, we went on this Provincetown cruise this year where we were there or the weekend and we were joking to Rachael that she probably shouldn’t bring her boyfriend Colin…. that she should leave him at home…

Rachael: Yeah! That mighttt be a little awkward for everyone involved.

ABM_cruise photo

Rachael & Nicole Go Cruising

Riese: So, did you bring him?

Rachael: No I didn’t.  [laughs] Actually though, it was his birthday that weekend so he went home to Michigan and I joined him right after the cruise.

Nicole: But she did dance with girls.

Rachael: But I did dance with girls!

Nicole: It’s on youtube! I didn’t know, my students googled me the other day and said there’s something with you singing and holding a microphone I was like OH GOD it wasn’t that, it was when we were dancing and that speech I made on the boat, I was like how embarrassing is that!

Riese: Everything is on youtube now!

Nicole: I just wish I’d known someone was videotaping. It was surprisingly good quality.

Rachael: It was probably on a phone or something.

Nicole: I had no idea what was going on. It was really fun.

Rachael: It was really fun.

Riese: Were there a lot of girls trying to like, bring you over?

Rachael: Um … no. [Joking] Which hurt a little bit more — no, no —

Nicole: No! I had girls asking me about you.

Rachael: Oh really? [joking] God, I’m so dumb! … No I got hit on a couple times

Nicole: Yeah a lot! Actually, the girls that I ended up playing UNO with ’til three in the morning that night —

Riese: Is that like an analogy for something or were you really playing the card game UNO ’til three in the morning?

Nicole: I actually played UNO with them. Well, there may have been some spin the bottle in there too but definitely UNO was played. and one of the girls was like, soooo like IF Rachael were into girls, do you think she’d be into me?

Rachael: YAY! I-I [laughs] … it’s hard to say.

Nicole: Hard to say.

Rachael: But yeah, everyone’s been really accepting, and it’s hilarious that it’s sort of the reverse, and it’s great, we could do with a little bit more of it!

Actually Related Question #5: What’s your favorite drink?

Rachael: Alcoholic or not?

Riese: Alcoholic. The question actually states “drink/beer.”

Nicole: I wouldn’t have even thought of “non.”

Riese: Like I LOVE MILK!

Rachael: [joking] Like “Dr. Pepper is AMAZING.” …  Hm … red wine.

Nicole: Red wine. Any specific kind?

Rachael: No I grew up on sort of Spanish wines, so I’m partial to the Rioja region. But you know, I’m welcoming to all —

Riese: — any girls on the cruise who wanna hit on you, any different kinds of drinks —

Nicole: We definitely had both had a couple of drinks then!

Rachael: Yeah I went home and napped for quite some time after that.

Nicole: That was a weekend.

Riese: So tell me more about this cruise, what was it for?

Rachael: Well … what was it? … Um … we were on this cruise —

Riese: “From what I can recall, there was a boat…”

Rachael: “There was definitely wine…”

[more laughter!]

Nicole: It was for Fenway Women’s Healthwe were technically the “celebrity guests,” which was so cool! There were a couple others, Lori Michaels, a couple comedians, a comedy troupe and it was very cool and we had like Showtime VIP passes–

Rachael: Which I still have on my window at home!

Nicole: [sharing laughter] Omigod I kept mine too! Yup, I still have it!! It was so much fun — just three hours on a boat drinking & dancing and singing autographs and talking to people. I decided to make a weekend of it, ’cause you know – “When in Provincetown …” – so I drove up with  my sister and my best friend and we had the best time.

Riese: Is that the first time you’ve been to Provincetown?

Nicole: I went there when I was eight, so that doesn’t really count.

Riese: We went there during the Rosie cruise last year during Bear Week, so the first thing I did there was buy an “I Love Bears” t-shirt so all the bears wanted to take photos with me all weekend it was awesome.

Nicole: I do love bears though, too! I really do love bears.

Riese: Me too, I love bears.

Nicole: It’s adorable. It’s always the people you least expect, those bears. The cutest thing ever.

NEXT: “Now I’ve met people who have survived horrors and it’s so sobering. It’s absolutely made me re-calibrate my vision of what people are capably of, on both ends. Good and bad.”

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2877 articles for us.


  1. 1. Props to Robin for the “That’s what she said.” It made me lol.
    2. They’re so frikkin cute! The dynamic is even visible via text. Can’t wait for the next season. P.S. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Nicole’s lips are…lovely. ;)
    3. I didn’t get to take my short nap because of this and it was so worth it. Psht who needs sleep. Great job!

  2. That´s a wonderful interview. It´s so rare to see people being interviewed and acting so honest and natural like those two. And the chemistry between them, aww, they look lovely together! Both in and off screen!

    And my girlfriend is gonna get even more jealous of Nicole after I show her this! I already have a crush on her, now that we´ve seen she´s a nerdy star wars lover activist, Nicole´s like the perfect girl! =P

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  4. So freaking cute! And my question was numero uno… I guess what I meant by ‘high maintenance’ was “Does Nicole try on a thousand outfits in preparation of going out?” like Aster does, not really if she’s emotionally needy or not.

  5. That whole interview made me want to wear wonderwoman silver cuffs…listening to my ipod with really big headphones so no one would legit come up to me and ask about the cuffs. OMG like Lights..(go canada)..she wears nice cuffs…k now i have to go get me some

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  7. aster and vivian rocks!!! i really like the way the two of you looked at each other.You guys are awesome,.ive had my season 3 episode guide saved on my computer so that i wont miss it… :)

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