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

Our photoblogger Robin is preparing to shoot Nicole Pacent & Rachael Hip-Flores, the star couple of the coming-of-age lesbian-themed webseries Anyone But Me, and Nicole is fixing Rachael’s hair

when Rachael jokes, This is her other job, I’m so clueless about this stuff, and Nicole laughs in agreement, I’m always moving this one strand of hair!, and then Rachael laughs at something else, like a thought she just had, and she shares it with the group, You know what’s really funny? Every time I say Hi to you [Nicole], in a context outside of the show, and we hug, I have this instinct to like — kiss you! And I have to be like, no no, we’re not shooting

Nicole cracks up, That is so funny, that is amazing, and it is, and so we’re all laughing. Sure, out actress Nicole Pacent has noteworthy lips and it’s arguably difficult to even speak to her without wanting to kiss her, but Rachael’s instinct likely comes from other places — like that these two bright, interesting, radiant girls, brought together by a TV show to kiss all the time, have an effortlessly comfortable friendship. After spending the afternoon talking to & photographing them, we can safely say that this genuine bond is part of what makes Anyone But Me so quietly magical.

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After wrapping up their first successful season of Anyone But Me in May, the girls are patiently awaiting the fates of their characters, Vivian (Rachael) & Aster (Nicole) while the Executive Producer/Writer team of Susan Miller (read our Autostraddle interview with Susan here) and Tina Cesa-Ward remain fiercely obtuse on all plot details. VivSter are two super-cute lezzies torn apart by the Metro North Railroad when Viv’s family is forced to leave the city for Westchester due to her father’s 9/11-related health condition. As Vivian struggles to adjust to her new life and new friends she’s also dealing with the changing nature of her relationship with Aster.

You can catch the first six episodes here and episode seven here and episodes eight & nine here and ten here.

It’s Autostraddle Tradition to solicit interview questions from our Interns, which we usually ask at the end of the interview. We decided to switch it up this time and begin with Intern Questions. However, Rachael & Nicole were so awesome that we never got past the Intern Questions and instead journeyed deep into tangental territories. We are not worried about this because we intend to be besties and therefore feel there will be plenty of future opportunities for more questions & answers.

Our photoblogger Robin Roemer was able to shoot the pair at writer Susan Miller’s apartment which had a very lovely balcony. They are very photogenic and we all agree a prom episode should happen next season. We discussed hot topics like books, Nicole’s bisexuality, the potential of Vivian & Aster breaking up and the time they got Rachael really drunk on a boat in Provincetown and she danced with girls.
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Question #1 – Is Nicole as high maintenance as her character, Aster?

[Rachael & Nicole break out in uproarious laughter]

Nicole Pacent: Aster is high maintenance? I don’t know! I’ve never thought of it like that before! That’s so funny. Well, I guess she can be a little dramatic.

Rachael Hip-Flores: She’s a little needy–

Nicole: Okay, she’s a litttttle needy. But I’m not! I’m a fairly low-maintenance person. And I tend to date low maintenance people too, ’cause I don’t like to deal with drama. Every once in a while I’ll get dramatic — the other day I pulled something with the person I was dating where I got really mad and I’d had a little bit to drink — that never helps – and I stormed off. He was like, “Don’t be crazy,” and I said “I’m gonna be dramatic right now and I don’t care.” So I have my moments. But usually no.

Riese: Do you agree, Rachael?

Rachael: Yes, Nicole isn’t high maintenance. But Aster is. She’s got her needs.
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Question #2: What Are Your Favorite Books?

[The girls react to this question with giddy squeals of delight and excitement.]

Nicole: Oh my God, both of us are such nerds!

Rachael: Okay, it’s been going on a year ago now since I read this — but the His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) by Phillip Pullman. Are INSANE.

Nicole: I’ve only read the first one —

Rachael: You need to read the other two because the other two will WRECK YOU! The Amber Spyglass is one of the best books I’ve ever read.  The story is gorgeous and complicated – the word “metaphoric” kind of simplifies it a bit, but it’s just a beautiful exploration of coming of age. Innocence versus experience, metaphysical themes, religious themes. Reading it is an amazing life experience. So that’s my official recommendation.

Nicole: You and I are both so into fantasy! …  I’m hard not to please when it comes to literature. I end up loving most books that I read. So at any given time, the book that I’m reading is my “favorite book.” Traditionally, I’ll go with Brave New World and when I was younger, A Wrinkle in Time.

Rachael: I need to read that!

Nicole: [squeals] OH MY GOD! YOU HAVEN’T?

Rachael: I KNOW!

[Lots of geeking out]

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Nicole: You of all people have to read it, it’s fantastic! Also – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close[Jonathan Safran-Foer]. I just read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao [Junot Dìaz]–

Riese: I loved that book! We did a “book club” with Wao on my blog last year so I could force everyone to talk to me about books.

Rachael: That’s a really good idea! That’s awesome.

Nicole: That’s so cool! Right now I’m reading The Fountainhead so that’s my favorite book! I’m two-thirds through and eating it up. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion and just praying that it doesn’t happen that way – and you just know it’s going to — because everything that Ayn Rand is about would come to fruition if it didn’t happen that way and you’re like AHHHH STOP PLEASE — but it’s amazing. I’ve never seen such amazingly fleshed out characters in my life; I want to see the screenplay! And I’d recommend it to anybody.

Rachael: Oh! And, so I just finished Lord of the Flies for the first time —

Nicole: Oh I’ve never read it!

Rachael: Oh my GOD. It was terrifying; it was absolutely terrifying. And I just started reading Coraline, actually.

Riese: [The author of Coraline]’s dating Amanda Palmer, actually —

Rachael: Neil Gaiman is? Really? I thought he was married?

Riese: Hm.

Rachael: Huh, okay. Well I … live in a cave. Is the problem.

Riese: I live on the internet, is the problem … Did you go to school for English? I know you went for acting —

Rachael: I doubled in English.

Nicole: I minored in English actually; I started with a double and then went down to a minor ’cause with the conservatory it was just too much —

Rachael: Um yeah it was! But I’m a masochist, I didn’t have summers basically for three or four years I just went to school round the clock —

Riese: What do you do in the summers anyhow, right? Popsicles, sprinklers, whatever.

Rachael: I’ve heard of this thing called “the ocean.”

Riese: Yeah, people go to the beach.

Rachael: I’ve read about that in stories.

Nicole: But the best thing to do at the beach is READ!

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Question #3: What is your favorite trending topic on twitter? Do you do twitter?

Nicole: [pointing at Rachael] This one does!

Riese: Are you not a computer person, Nicole?

Nicole: I am a computer person! Just not a twitter person. I think it’s the lamest thing ever. And that’s not a judgment against people who use it, it’s a judgment against the Institution of Twitter! I don’t get it, everyone’s on facebook and why do you need a status update on facebook and twitter?

Rachael: But you can meld them now!ABM_inbed

Riese: Wellll … you probably have this same experience but there can be a lot of facebook friends that you don’t actually know who they are, where you’re like who are you? You had a baby, you have a feeling, you saw a show, I don’t care.

Rachael: But on twitter it’s just status updates just from the people you want to know about. It’s more convenient that way.

Nicole: I do have a twitter but I just use it for the show and I’ve only used it like twice.

Rachael: Incidentally people often ask me, Can you tell Nicole to twitter more, because she doesn’t twitter.’

Nicole: Really? I’m sorry!

Rachael: Consider yourself told.

Nicole: Alright, you did your duty.

Rachael: For favorite trending topic, I would have to go for “first three words after sex.” Those are good for a laugh.

Nicole: [intrigued] What?

Riese: See, these are the things that are happening on twitter that you’re missing!

Rachael: The hash tags

Nicole: Explain it.

Rachael: Alright so you tag whatever note you’re writing as “the first three words after sex” and it’s a trending topic. So you write down the most flattering or the most horrible or bizarre or exciting first three words that you say just after you had sex and the stuff that they come up with is just hilarious.

Nicole: Oh I bet.

Rachael: It’s really funny.

Nicole: Alright, I’ll give twitter that. I’d enjoy that.

Riese: Do you have an idea for your first three words after sex for your next tweet?

[Silence, Deep Thoughts Happening]

Rachael: Me? [Laughs] No. Because then I’ll just be like, I thought it was way more clever than that. I just observe. I’m like, “Well done! That was creative!”

Nicole: I keep thinking of 4 and 5 words! Three would be really hard.

Robin: That’s what she said.

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Question #4: I’m hoping Aster and Viv break up to see if they can whether something like a fling with Sophie. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Allegedly Straight Sophie & Secretly Homo Vivian

Allegedly Straight Sophie & Secretly Homo Vivian

Nicole: I agree. As long as I don’t get written off the show, I agree!

Rachael: Absolutely. It would add a whole other layer to it. It would be interesting to explore.

Riese: Do you know what [the writers] have up their sleeves?

Nicole: Absolutely not, they keep it very very quiet!

Rachael: I have no idea … We had no idea what happened in the last episode until pretty much a week before we shot it.

Nicole: What’s interesting though is we get so many reactions from fans saying that they are happy to see a couple that works through things and doesn’t just break up all the time like on every other show. I know that [writer] Susan likes that idea, too. I’m not saying she’s sticking to it, but she loved the Bette & Tina [on The L Word] relationship  – because they were such a longstanding thing —

Riese: But everyone freaked out when they broke up, like it was the end of the world.
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NEXT: “The world REALLY ended when Dana died ’cause that was the stupidest move on any writer’s part that I’ve ever seen in my life. “

Tangent: The L Word and the Death of Dana Fairbanks

Rachael: When you see a couple that really loves each other —

Nicole: — you get really attached to the characters and don’t wanna see them leave. I mean for me the world ending was when Shane and Carmen broke up — no! When Alice and Dana broke up! And then the world REALLY ended when Dana died ’cause that was the stupidest move on any writers part that I’ve ever seen in my life. And I will say that unabashedly. Anyhow, when Carmen was written off I was like WHY…???

Riese: But see at least Sarah Shahi wanted to leave the show, and Erin Daniels didn’t. That was the nail in the coffin.

Aster & Vivian Have a Fight

Aster & Vivian Have a Fight

Nicole: YEAH! RIGHT! Exactly. Erin said she didn’t know ’til she read the script!

Riese: We were all lead to believe that she wanted to leave so when we saw that little documentary afterwards and found out she’d been written off –

Nicole: I remember watching that!

Riese: Right! We were all sitting there with our tears like WHAT THE FUCK?

Nicole: TOTALLY. The death of Dana Fairbanks changed the face of The L Word. I was really angry about it!

Riese: That’s when [Ilene Chaiken] lost the viewer’s trust, when we stopped trusting her to make the right decisions for the characters.

Nicole: Agreed. Exactly.

Tangent: Ensuring Nicole Will Stay On The Show

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Riese: How would you see your character fitting into the show if Aster & Vivian did break up -?

Nicole: I think um —

Riese: Stalking or?

Nicole: Ha! Oh my God I hope not!

Riese: You’ll pull a little Melissa Etheridge?

Nicole: [laughs] Oh God! Well we’ve talked about how it’d be interesting to show more of Aster’s – and Vivian’s — own lives outside of each other, especially with Aster in the city. That’s why as the season went on you saw more of Aster with Brett, or alone in the city, ’cause the idea that it’s entirely centric around Vivian is unfortunate and unrealistic, you know what I mean? So I think that it would become like it is in a breakup really when you’re that close to someone. They’re always there —

Riese: You’re texting them, talking about your ex all the time —

Nicole: Exactly, they’re in your consciousness no matter what else you might be doing; they’re going back and forth about the breakup, so I feel like it would be easy to keep her on the show that way.

Riese: So you both think it would be good for the storyline?

Nicole: I think it’d be good. I like drama. Just let the drama happen.

Rachael: I think it would be interesting.

Nicole: As long as nothing crazy goes on.

Riese: What about Sophie specifically as a potential fling?

Rachael: I love Sophie as a character. There’s so much to explore there, things would get complicated trying to figure that relationship out.

Behind the Scenes Photo by Michael Seto

Behind the Scenes Photo by Michael Seto

Nicole: In thinking about it … I like … I have realized that I’ve become like legitimately jealous about it.

[Everyone laughs & claps]

Nicole [ctd]: It’s like a touchy subject for me — uh — [sarcastic, bitter] ‘FINE, that’s why don’t they just do that then, that’s okay.’ So I don’t know.

Riese: Well you could try and seduce Sophie on the other end.

Nicole: Well that’s the thing, I think Aster should just sweep in and register in the school and take over!

Rachael: See I don’t think it would be a seduction from her end though. The really insidious and sort of complicated and scarier part is when it’s just real emotional connections.

I think as refreshing and as interesting as it is to see couples work things out, that’s a very mature way of dealing with something, you know? When you’re 16 you’re always breaking up and getting back together.

Nicole: It’s so bad! As a storyline though it’s interesting and worth exploring. You often do have to part ways to come back around.

Rachael: Especially when you’re that young.

Nicole: It’s to be expected in a lot of ways, I mean — I think as refreshing and as interesting as it is to see couples work things out, that’s a mature way of dealing with something you know? I think when you’re 16 — when I was 16 — people would be breaking up every three weeks and then getting back together.

Riese: I feel like with a lot of shows about high school you sit there like, “C’mon really guys are you gonna be together forever?”

Nicole: I could see Aster pushing Vivian away — you know, into the arms of another woman. I always thought if someone’s gonna cheat, it’s gonna be Aster.

Riese: She’s also in the city so she has all these opportunities…

Nicole: Exactly. So Vivian would emotionally cheat, Aster would kinda sense it, get really resentful, and then not be a good communicator and go get drunk and hook up with someone.

Riese: And meanwhile Vivian is having LONG conversations with Sophie. Just really long conversations but nothing really sexual while meanwhile Aster is at Henrietta’s dancing on the bar with her shirt off.

Tangent: What’s Worse, Cheating Emotionally or a Quick Physical Fling?

Nicole: I had this convo the other day too — like which is worse? I can get past someone being like, this was such a mistake, I made out with somebody— that for me is a lot easier to get past than if the person you’re with really CARES about somebody.

Rachael: I understand exactly where you’re coming from but I just don’t see where having a long conversation with someone and caring deeply about someone on the talking level has to be mutually exclusive with whatever relationship you’re in.

“You can always say no to a physical thing and so the fact that you don’t say no, I think THAT shows less respect for the person that you’re with.”

Riese: Well, if you’re into the person —

Rachael: But … you’re not acting on it though —

Nicole: [scandalous] OOOOOO!!!!

Rachael: [scared] Oh God.

Nicole: But you ARE! And I’ve done all of it, I’ve cheated, I’ve emotionally cheated and I’ve had it done to me. When I look back I know the more dangerous thing was always the emotional cheating. When I did it — and I can say that — the bigger threat to the relationship was the emotional moreso than anything that could happen physically.

Rachael: I completely agree that that is the bigger threat to the relationship. But if you can withstand that and make the decision that you’re not gonna act on it, that makes the commitment and the love between the two of them that much stronger because you resisted that temptation.

Riese: But what about “the act” itself makes the act so much more significant than feeling?

Nicole: Yup. That’s what I’m saying!

Riese: What is it about hooking up with someone that makes it more dangerous?

Rachael: I feel like physicality is a really intimate thing.

Nicole: I think it can be and it cannot be —

Photo by Michael Seto

Photo by Michael Seto

Rachael: I agree, yeah you’re right, of course it can be and it cannot be. But the fact is — when it is intimate, it’s because of the emotional connection.

Riese: Definitely the emotional connection plus the physical act is an all-around disaster on every level. But talking about the purely physical act vs. the emotional conversation …

Nicole: I feel like the purely physical act is a more tackle-able issue in a relationship. Like you can ask, “what’s lacking for us in our sex life that needs to be dealt with?” or “what are you dealing with personally that has maybe lead to this breakdown in communication?”

Riese: Or “do you not feel desired …?”

Nicole: Yeah, yeah exactly. Versus like, “Oh no. Are you not in love with me?”

Riese: Like “Does somebody understand you better than I do?”

Nicole: “Are they better for you?”

Rachael: I completely understand that point. On the other hand – [laughs] because I like to argue, because I like debating things — it’s so much more of a decision. You can always say no to a physical thing and so the fact that you don’t say no, I think that shows less respect for the person that you’re with. And that’s a bigger deal to me.

Riese: I actually never thought about it like that.

Nicole: Yeah, I gotcha.

Riese: Have you seen Closer?

Nicole & Rachael: [more squeals of excitement] Yeah yeah yeah!

Riese: “And she says there’s always a moment — when you say I can do this or I can resist it–”

Nicole: “There’s a moment, there’s always a moment –”

Rachael: Amazing line, that’s such a good play. And that’s it, that’s exactly it. That is awesome.
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NEXT: “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 is something I’d always thought about a lot, how I would handle that.”
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Tangent: High School Lovers

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Question #6: Nicole – What is it like to have such great lips? Do you go through lip gloss faster than the average-lip-sized person?

Nicole: That’s amazing, I love that question, it’s so funny. Funny that they should ask about the lip gloss because one of my best friends growing up she had all these Lip Smackers in her car, and whenever I’d go to get it she’d be like, “Oh no, you’re gonna use like half of it!” So I was like, great, thanks.

So it’s been joked about … and it is kinda true! It’s a very flattering question. My Mom always called my lips “RVL” – she got that term from her grandfather — for ‘Rich, Voluptuous Lips.’ It’s nice, I’ve never had any complaints!

Riese: What about the Angelina Jolie comparisons?

Luscious Lips Hall of Fame

Luscious Lips Hall of Fame: Angie, our girl Nicole and Rosario

Nicole: That’s — well, I can’t complain about that! It’s awesome, it’s so nice. I see it sometimes but when people get to know me they’re always like, Yeah, I saw it in the beginning but not so much now. So I don’t know what that means. And then I’ve gotten more and more of like, You look like Janene Garafalo mixed with Angelina Jolie, and I’m like, I don’t know what that would look like?

Riese: I think that’s like Angelina Jolie, but shorter?

Nicole: Shorter and like could be a little weird looking too. I’m not really sure.

Rachael: I love Janene!

Nicole: Oh so do I! I don’t think she’s ugly or anything; it’s just such a funny statement.

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Question #7: So Rachael, our Intern Hot Laura wants to know if you will record her voice mail message for her?

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Rachael: YES. In a HOT SECOND.

Riese: I’ll let her know. She thinks you have a very hot voice.

Rachael[deeper voice]: Helllloooooo Laura.

Nicole: Hot Laura?

Riese: That’s what we call her ’cause we think she’s hot.

Rachael: Well I’m totally gonna do her voicemail now.

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Question #8: Has being the part of a show enlightened you on the LGBT community and the life of a young lady lover?

Rachael: Yeah. Like you were saying before, I grew up in the Northeast where it wasn’t a big deal. of course I was aware it was difficult for others but I hadn’t met anyone that had a terrible story. 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 capable of, on both ends. Good and bad.

Nicole: I’ve been kinda really gay and immersed in the culture for a really long time. So the show didn’t change that. Actually part of the reason I wanted to be on the show was because of its connection to this culture.

But there’s some lesbian culture things I’ve learned. Being on AfterEllen and SheWired I learned about some “celesbians” I didn’t know about! [laughs] I feel I have to be up on the pop culture aspect some more.

Tangent: The Revolution!

Riese: What would you say is the biggest issue going forward for the LGBT community?

Rachael: Marriage.

Nicole: Marriage. For me. It depends where you live. In other places it would be general tolerance, the ability to simply exist among people. But in this country, marriage is definitely something I’ve been an advocate with.

Riese: Do you wanna get involved in more activism stuff?

Rachael: Yeah! Yes! I’m more of the school of telling a good story is the most effective way to get to people. But it’s not like if called upon I would say no, but I think that storytelling is sort of my activism.

Nicole: I definitely feel the same way, but I also do directly wanna be involved. I go when there are rallies. I’m actually working on a project right now to bring together the LGBT community with something else I’ve been involved in which is advocacy for cancer research. I have a lot of cancer in my family. So we’re putting together a variety show with LGBT and women performers to raise money for cancer research. It’ll be called “The LGBT Community Gives Back.” We’re all part of the human family, and we’re affected by this disease among others, we all have family, we all feel weird and upset sometimes and we’re all people. The more the LGBT community can get out and be among everybody else in a positive way, that’s the best way.

Rachael: That’s really cool!

Riese: So when is this gonna be?

Nicole: It was originally scheduled for September 18th, probably at Joe’s Pub, but it looks like it’s gonna be in October ’cause we’re looking to add an auction. We might do it somewhere else that we don’t have to pay, preferably something gay-oriented like the gay center or the Harvey Milk School.

I’ll be doing a lot of publicity about it on facebook — I’ll even use twitter!

Riese: #threewordsaftersex – “LGBT Reaches Out.”

Nicole: Exactly!!

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Question: #9 How do you feel about acting in a webseries? Do you have more creative license? Do you feel there’s an opportunity for better gay programming online than in traditional media?

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Rachael: I’m very thankful to be on a webseries, I think it’s really exciting to be on the ground floor of something that’s taking off. I’m not on the business end of it but I’m under the impression that there are much fewer corporate or network constraints, in terms of dealing with your demographic or wondering how things will play to a certain audience. There’s a lot more creative freedom in that way. There’s some great programming out there now and it’ll only get better.

Nicole: What’s cool about the web is the free reign you can do things that wouldn’t fly — or get picked up — on network TV. I’m incredibly thankful, it’s so legit and awesome. Personally, do I wanna be on television? YEAH! What’s cool is a lot of our fans ask, “When’s it going to TV?” There’s a desire for that.

Riese: Do you feel like there’s more freedom for more sexual content on the web or less, or are those decisions made more about your demographic rather than web vs. TV?

Nicole: I don’t know, I mean Gossip Girl is racier than our show.

Rachael: By a lot.

Nicole: As far as our show is concerned, if we wanted to we could do more. But for us we’re not constrained by our medium, really. It’s more what our director, producer and writer want to do.

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Question: #10: What’s your favorite movie?

Rachael: Lord of the Rings.

Nicole: Star Wars.

Riese: You guys are like a match made in friendship heaven.

Susan Miller: They’re just nerds.

Nicole: If you see my facebook picture right now that says it all.

Rachael: It’s an AMAZING facebook picture.

Nicole: It’s me with a light saber.

Robin: Everyone that reads this is gonna join facebook to be your friend now!

The facebook picture

The Facebook picture

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Anyone But Me is currently planning  its second season. Stay up on all of it at Anyone But Me‘s website!

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Photos by Robin Roemer

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com 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.

19 Comments

  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

  3. Pingback: Robin Roemer Photography » Blog Archive » Anyone But Me, web series

  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

  6. Pingback: Press « www.rachaelhipflores.com

  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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