Romi’s Revenge: An Autostraddle Real L Word Season Two Interview

[Ed. note: This interview was conducted before the season premiere of The Real L Word/this]

Of this I am certain: Romi Klinger is a fighter. Last year she was just one of Whitney’s satellite pseudo-girlfriends who were filmed, exploited and tossed away for Showtime’s pleasure during Season One of The Real L Word. Last summer she confided in Autostraddle about the strap-on scene heard ’round the world (or Lesbian Internet) and received a bevy of mixed to negative feedback in the comments from our readers. Last winter she was christened Miss December as she happily participated in our Calendar Girls photoshoot which inspired an avalanche of critical feedback that even forced her own MOM to defend her against our readers. Why? Because Romi owns her sexuality and feels comfortable enough in her skin to share it with the world… and people have weird feelings about that.

After such a public beating, both on television and the Internet, Romi easily could have retreated back to her normal life and friends and driven into the LA sunset, a reality star never to be heard from again. BUT NO. Romi is BACK as a main cast member on Season Two of The Real L Word, refusing the audience to discard her as a one trick pony. This season she opens up her life, family, girlfriend, and issues as a three-dimensional person, much different from Version 1.0 we were presented with last summer.

Jess chatted with Romi about why she willingly went back for more potential public torture in Season Two, her reaction to the Autostraddle Calendar Girls combustion, her impressions of the new cast, her inspiring beauty-hair-love-advice blog Tenderomi.com and her brand new jewelry line Hija Por Vida.

I think when people see you as a featured cast member on the new season, they’re going to be wondering why would you go back for more after the way you were portrayed last year?

That is a good question! [laughing] I went back for more because I felt like I wasn’t a main cast member in the first season, so I didn’t have a lot of say or enough time with production to really establish who I was… and they weren’t supposed to focus on who I was. They were supposed to focus on Whitney and who was in her life and how we revolved around her world. So, what they put me in, as far as the show goes, was something that helped create a story based on another character. Not my choice. When it aired and I was portrayed in the way that I was, which was not in the best light… and it was definitely a really insane thing to go through… watching myself be put out there in a way that I didn’t feel represented who I was at all.

So, when season two came around I didn’t audition, they called me and said they’d like to consider me for season two and asked if I was interested. I said yes because, number one, The Real L Word is a part of my life and you know, everyone’s life; and the first season I didn’t necessarily have a problem with the people that I worked for or the process. The thing I didn’t realize, because I was new to reality television, is that there’s an editing room. Once you give people a certain amount, they ultimately do what they want with it. So, when Ilene [Chaiken] asked me for season two I said “Yes, I would be honored to come back” in the sense that I would like to work with them and they’re asking to work with me based on who I am; and they’re interested enough in me – obviously they saw something, whatever it was – and they wanted to show my story. I’m not dating Whit so it’s not like I was somebody’s girlfriend anymore. I think that I can show me absolutely, I needed a chance to show all the viewers and my community who I was because I have a really interesting story and I’ve had a really interesting life and I’ve had stuff that I would love to share with people that I feel is so much deeper and more important than what they decided to show.

I understand why you did it – in order to redeem yourself in a way, to kind of clear your name.

Yeah, as a woman and a friend and a daughter and girlfriend and somebody in our community, I was portrayed in a way that was just so far from me. Like there’s some truth to it, in the sense that did I do those things? Yes. Did anyone force me? Absolutely not. But was that the whole story and did people see the whole story? No. I was chopped into little pieces and I have this incredibly family story and I have so many issues that are relate-able on so many different levels that I’ve grown up with and am going through. I’m just hoping to god that I can share those with people and they can relate to it and people can see that I’m also human. The way that they’ll talk to me or put me down on the blogs, they’re pretty brutal, it’s pretty hurtful to read people assuming who I am and not having any opportunity to really speak up or show yourself. Other cast members had the opportunity to blog after the episodes or answer questions and I had nothing. I’ve held my head up pretty high through this whole process, you know, and I just decided that I’m just going to show all the other areas of my life. Like yes, am I a lesbian who has sex and falls in love and gets my heart broken and gets drunk? Yes, but I’m a lot of other things too.

You were talking about the blogs and I wanted to talk to you about the reaction to the Autostraddle Calendar Girls shoot. Why do you think our readers reacted in such an extreme way to you?

I’ve been trying to figure out why they’re reacting. That was a pretty hurtful thing, I mean my mom even spoke up in the comments for me which made me cry. I can handle the criticism; it doesn’t break me down, it doesn’t hurt me, because I know myself. But it’s confusing because I feel like women that are supposed to be empowering and supporting each other – and you have a television show that is about lesbians and our lives and about our community – and I go and do exactly what we all do; which is fall in love with the wrong people at times, get lost in our emotions based on what we’re being told by somebody and I had sex with somebody that I’d been sleeping with. All of these things are things that we do. The viewers want sex, right? That’s why they’re watching. They hope that  they see some sex. And then they get it! And then they’re pissed! I was like, are you kidding me!?

You’re right… a lot of people are hypocritical when it comes to sex.

We watched The L Word for so long and they had so many sex scenes and they were naked and they were using strap-ons, and we watched and supported it and we loved these characters. And these are people that were doing it with people they were paid to come in and do it with. I’m doing it with someone that I’m not being paid to do it with; I’m actually in love with her and have been sleeping with her. If you take all the sex away from The Real L Word, then you’re not seeing The L Word. I just feel like I got so attacked as this whore for showing the entire world – and I would think that our community would at least stand up for me and be like, “Yes, this is how women have sex. We’re allowed to own our bodies and have sex and we’re allowed to not feel shamed because we did.”  We use strap-ons and we do use toys and it wasn’t like it was so graphic and like porn, I’m not like being ripped apart by somebody; I’m sleeping with somebody in a drunken moment that I am in love with. I still to this day don’t understand what they want. At the same time you’re asking for a reality show and you want real emotions and people that show you more than acting, and I did that. And I will continue to do that. When the cameras came into my life, I don’t hold back. I might look stupid, I might be funny, I might be dumb, I might fuck up and that’s why you’re tuning in to watch a reality show on lesbians. Because, we don’t hold back, we don’t give you a wall; for some reason, me doing exactly that caused people to just hate me. I don’t get it.

It’s a perplexing question. You’re so articulate and you know exactly how you feel and I think that the way you stated that; I’m very curious to see how people will respond in the comments. Maybe it will force them to sort of question why they were so vocal.

Honestly, I gave up trying to battle the haters and the blogs that go after me. What I’m going to continue to do is just be me and move forward. The people that support me and love me, that’s great. If you don’t then sorry. I don’t want anyone to think I’m coming off harsh but that’s just the reality of it. I didn’t come into season two holding back and pretending that I was going to be something because I knew I needed to fix something for the audience, you know? I came into it doing everything completely raw and open with all of production. I gave them everything, knowing once again that I don’t have control with how this will look in the end.

It’s a big risk for you. But at least you’ve been through it the first time so you’re not completely green.

It just really hurt me when I did the Autostraddle calendar and I took my clothes off like everybody else in the shoot. You know, I had underwear on, I’m not naked. I shouldn’t be ashamed of my body, first of all. And I have to be completely honest, I could walk around the streets completely naked. I don’t really care. I’m just not really hung up on nudity. Even throughout filming you’ve got people putting lights on you when you’re changing. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for a very long time so I’m used to being around naked people; I’m just not hung up on that. So I think it’s coming across to people that I just wanted to take my clothes off. But it’s just not one of my things. And I love you guys! So many of you at Autostraddle have become friends of mine… and here I am trying to come together with the community and I’m completely being ripped apart as this whore that’s representing lesbians wrong. Seeing those mean responses, I was like “I’d like to see you open yourself up and reveal yourself to everybody in hopes that people can understand that we are just like everybody else.” And get up there and do a calendar that I’m doing to help be a part of the online lesbian community and be supportive…  Also, at the time I’d just started a lesbian company [PYT] that was doing very well. I wasn’t just some girl that was trying to make a dollar after having sex on television. I work my ass off every single day on my own shit. I create my own stuff, I do my own thing, no one has handed me anything. I feel like people, I hope, from this next season – because I’ve been given the opportunity, which  I’m so grateful for – will see that I’m so much more than some girl who had sex on season one of The Real L Word.


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NEXT: “I’m really proud of this season. I’m really proud of the team. We did it really differently this year. I fell in love with every single person this season.”

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 266 articles for us.

100 Comments

  1. I don’t know Romi, but I have to say that I think she is very brave.
    I guess last season was intense for her, and a lot of people had a lot of feelings about that/her. I feel sad that some of those feelings hurt her, I think no one should be judged on a couple of minutes on teevee (that was created by IFC). I hope she gets te be portrayed in season 2 the way she is.
    Kudos to her.

  2. Oh, joy! A Romi interview.

    I’m so over reality show people complaining about how they were edited a certain way only for them to sign up for a second season of nonsense even worse than the first. I’m sure some of this shit is scripted, as I feel all reality shows are, but still these people are complicit in the making of it so they shouldn’t be shocked by negative feedback.

    • This comment doesn’t make any sense to me. Romi talks a lot about how close she is with the cast and how happy she was to get a second chance to put herself out there. She seems pretty happy to be doing Season two. Also, she was never a cast member on Season one so she had no control over what was put on TV that first season.

      She never talks about not liking season two or how she was portrayed. I mean, did you read the interview? Or did you see it was an interview with Romi and just immediately assume you knew what she was going to say?

      • Go back and look at the first question. It seems she thinks that she was edited a certain way in season 1(and it doesn’t matter whether she was a full cast member or not she’s still apart of the show)but chose to participate in season 2 thinking it would be different. I think she’s naive in to think that IMO. If you don’t feel that the real you was portrayed accurately the first time then what makes you think that the production is going to be different a second time.

        Then she later goes on to talk about people’s negativity towards her on the internet after the fact. And I stand by my comment. If you are going to put yourself out there on national television in any compacity then you should expect that their are going to be people that are going to react both positively and negatively to how you presented yourself on said program. If you can’t handle that then being on television is not for you.

        • “If you don’t feel that the real you was portrayed accurately the first time then what makes you think that the production is going to be different a second time.”

          Exactly. The idea, which I’ve seen repeated on several occasions, that somehow full-fledged cast members would have any control at all is crap. It’s being used as an excuse as to why someone would come back for season 2 instead of being honest about why one would come back – fame, notoriety, self-promotion, etc. No cast members in reality television get a say in the cut! Anyone who’s been around a reality show (as in s1) would know this. The only thing they have control over is what they will or won’t do in front of the camera, which she had just as much control over in s1 without being an actual cast member.

          @fragola – I guess you never read/saw the interview re the strap-on episode from season one where Romi complained & lamented vehemently about what was “done to her.” And please bear in mind that the above interview is from before s2 had aired. It’s likely she hadn’t even seen anything from this season when this interview was done. I can be fairly certain she hasn’t seen much more than we have in terms of episodes or final cuts. TV post-production usually goes on until the very last minute. So we don’t really know if she’s happy or going to be happy with it until it’s all said and done.

          I think some of the backlash she’s experienced is because of the lack of honesty in her purported motives and the hypocrisy of signing up for s2 after protesting s1 so much. If she really thought becoming an actual cast member was going to affect how she was portrayed, then I feel sorry for her level of naivete. There’s even a point in the above interview where she seems to convey a feeling that she is somehow doing us all a community service. Are you kidding me?! This is NOT community service. Now if she had come right out and said the obvious – “I signed up for season 2 because I thought it would be good for my career, I’m trying to launch a brand, I want my 15 minutes, I’m hot & people like me…” or whatever, I think she might get a less negative response.

          You can’t have it both ways and it sounds like that’s what she wants. Most women in our community are pretty smart and they’re not so desperate to see actual real life women having actual sex on camera for fame and very little money to actually buy into & give her (or the others) a pass on the fantasy reasoning that she has put forth here.

          Again, all her comments were before airing. Maybe she feels differently now. Or maybe she doesn’t ever have sex on camera this season.
          We’ll see…

          • ” It seems she thinks that she was edited a certain way in season 1(and it doesn’t matter whether she was a full cast member or not she’s still apart of the show)but chose to participate in season 2 thinking it would be different. “

            Right — and it is. Because you meet her Mom, see where she lives, see her job — in s1 you only saw her as she existed in proxy to Whitney. I understand your points about how things are edited, but from what I can tell, Romi is happy with her decision to do Season Two because she is seen as a more full person. I don’t think she had any illusions about editing, she just knew being a cast member rather than a whitney-lover would guarantee a greater look into her character.

            I understand what you guys are saying in general, but it seems to rest on the assumption that she’s unhappy with her portrayal this season when she’s said nothing of the sort.

          • This is basically what I wanted to say. Yes, she was upset about the sex scene in season one but she decided to do season two so that we could see more of who she actually is. Because she is more than just a sex scene. She’s more than just some girl’s girlfriend-person. As Riese said, we are seeing more of who she is and she seems to be happy about it. She made a decision you probably wouldn’t have made. I don’t see why it’s something to judge her for, especially since it seemed to work out for her in the end.

  3. I’m a lesbian who has sex and falls in love and gets m heart broken and gets drunk too, there just don’t happen to be cameras around to catch it. She hasn’t done anything most of us haven’t done at one point or another, and I give her props for having the courage to put it all out there when she knows people will judge. Good for her, she has nothing to be ashamed of and I don’t think anyone has a place to judge or degrade Romi.

    • I have no wish to degrade her. I am however left with a very bad impression of her for choosing to go back and allow herself to be degraded. It also appears (who knows with the magic of editing) that she allowed her private moments to be filmed yet again, and this time she brought along a young, in love and seemingly impressionable little (22 year old?) lesbian. This is a problem for me, and that is ok. That being said, I wish her nothing but love, peace and success. There is no comparing allowing yourself to be filmed and viewed having sex or making love or doing yourself to the sex in a scripted (I get the irony of ‘scripted’) show, that logic is way flawed, sorry.
      And it is very hard for our empathetic and often emotionally wounded themselves community members to see someone be degraded, be self destructive and hurt and sometimes we don’t express our feelings well and sometimes we don’t even know what is being brought up or why. So please, don’t be shocked and dismayed when people react emotionally and maybe harshly.
      Please Romi, if you read this, know you have value and deserve more for yourself. Allowing this show to exploit you is not empowering no matter how you spin it. I respect your courage, had cameras been around in my 20s, it would have been very bad and I would be suffering the consequences now.

    • Seriously. No matter what, I don’t think it’s cool to tear a woman down for being sexual. And it saddens me to think a bunch of queers ripped in to another queer for being messy on camera. Glass houses etc etc.

  4. I think Romi is so articulate and strong and beautiful. I’ve actually never watched the Real L Word and the only things I know about it I’ve read on AS. I did go back and look at the comment thread on the article about Romi as a Calendar Girl. While it’s infuriating that people said such negative things about such a courageous girl, I did notice that there were a lot of people who commented in support of her. Who defended her. There seemed to be many more comments encouraging and supporting Romi than insulting and admonishing her.

    I just wanted to point that out because it’s sad, to me, that this was the representation Romi saw of the Autostraddle community. She had every right to be upset and offended by these people and I would’ve felt the same way were I in her shoes. But it is sad that she had to see these few insecure people projecting their insecurities in such a cruel way when the Autostraddle community is usually SO much more positive and encouraging of differences. This website has been so helpful to me even for the short time I’ve been here. Contributing to the conversations happening here has been so meaningful. I just hope that Romi can realize that what those people said does NOT represent this community and what it stands for.

  5. People, let the light in, let’s not pull each other down. We’re queer women and we all fight a daily battle just to survive, so why add to the negativity in the world?

    Romi,keep doing you, boo.

    Let the haters hate – let them sit there and say your steeze ain’t luxurious, when they know it is. 😉

  6. hey, sex is fine, but we need more of a story line instead of a quick fuck in the back room. if you take all the sex out of trlw then we are just left with all this drama that no one wants to hear about (and cori & kasey, but they’re interesting. this show is just bad news for the people involved (they lose their dignity with each new episode) and for the viewers (i lose 1 hour, 1oz and 2 bottles a month). Everyone gets screwed in the end (but the economy wins at the end).

  7. Also, lets not forget, Romi does not operate the cameras, edit or produce this show. So although she can choose to be on a reality show or not, and you can have your opinions of her, and thankfully she doesn’t care, she is certainly more than this show portrays her to be.

    Personally, I think the show doesn’t do some of these ladies justice and is trying to get noticed for the wrong reason, but I think its just maybe not my thing. I actually find it sort of boring in a way. I’d rather hang with these ladies in person, they are funnier and smarter than they are edited to be for sure.

    Romi was quite brave for doing our calendar and all that crap she received in the comments was very upsetting to me. She is a sweet girl and was really a joy to work with!

  8. This is just f-ed up.
    She complaint heavily after the “strap-on-scene” was out, and I felt really sorry for her. That was actually the reason why I hated the show because of the producers attitude of frivolously “using” a person and the situation she is in no matter what – just for the ratings.
    And then she comes back. Showing her crotch. In the very fist episode. Are you f-ing kidding me???
    If I got raped I do not go back to the rapist to “get my story right” I would fight forever to take revenche and stay the hell away.

    (Sorry for some spelling mistakes – not my native language)

    • i’m sure this will change in upcoming episodes, but so far romi’s been so scared of having sex on camera again that her & kelsey’s plot-line is “we haven’t had sex in forever.”

      she says she doesn’t care about nudity — honestly the thing that bothered me about that shot wasn’t romi being naked and getting into a shower, but that the cameraman intentionally panned down from her breasts to her waist and chose to take that shot. although she knew anything could be used, i doubt she had any idea that’d show up in the final cut.

      Romi is naked because she’s carefree about nudity. So that’s her thing. You do you.

      The camera-people/editors/producers are showing her naked because they want dudes to like it and they want to shock/titillate the audience. I hate that the producers made that choice it makes me want to scream.

      But is it fair to hold Romi accountable for the intentions of the producers if her intentions were different?

      Which basically applies to many aspects of a reality show – a cast member does a thing for their own reasons and producers use or don’t use that footage for an entirely different set of reasons.

      In Season One, Rose got strippers because she wanted to have a “bro night” with her friends. The camera-people/editors/producers filmed and aired it because it was shocking and exciting to the audience.

      Some cast members are aligned with the producers and intentionally are doing crazy things because they want to make a certain kind of television — like Whitney this season, I think. But we don’t know if that’s Romi’s intent or not, only she knows that.

      I feel like this might not make sense to anyone but me, really I’m procrastinating my Pretty Little Liars recap

  9. Also, saying someone goes on TV for attention is sort of stating the obvious. Its not a judgement, its just an obvious truth. These girls aren’t doing this because they are broke and need money.

    • I get your point, but can’t get past the part about this not being about money. First, they obvs think that doing this show will lead to financial reward, maybe not in the form of a check from the show, but from other ventures directly resulting from the show. Second, money and power go hand in hand. There is a power that comes from being the one in the room who has some level of notoriety; others will want to be near you to get some. Your way in your world may be made easier (as having money makes it) by the mere fact that a segment of your demographic will want you around, will give you things and buy you drinks etc. No one is doing this show to save baby otters, stop pollution or feed the hungry and certainly not to entertain bored LGBTs.

  10. Well, I sure as hell don’t know what it’s like to be on a reality television show, so I definitely have no insight to Romi’s experience over the past couple of years. All I can say is, keep doing you, girl! Let’s not judge another strong member of our community!

    • She chose to go back for a second season and give another interview and has a lot of questions/feelings/issues that she is stating to us, if someone disagrees with her or points out their issues with it, they have the right to respond. Just because we don’t know her personally doesn’t mean we can’t respond to her statements/thoughts/feelings–she doesn’t know most of us, either.

      “I needed a chance to show all the viewers and my community who I was because I have a really interesting story and I’ve had a really interesting life and I’ve had stuff that I would love to share with people that I feel is so much deeper and more important than what they decided to show.”

      What she is sharing so far on this season’s show is far from that. She can blame editing but apparently she isn’t declining scenes that are pretty much the same old stuff and I think that’s valid for questioning.

      I agree the responses need not be mean or hateful, but I don’t believe anyone should get a free pass because they are part of the community, that is condescending in any context. It’s condescending to her.

      I didn’t read the comments about the calendar but if they were hurtful, she didn’t deserve that and either did the AS staff that work hard.

      • I agree! Especially:

        “…the responses need not be mean or hateful, but I don’t believe anyone should get a free pass because they are part of the community, that is condescending in any context. It’s condescending to her.”

        I’m not passing it off as a “free ride.” I just wish our opinions could be aimed more toward the show and its content rather than at Romi herself. It’s perfectly okay to disagree and respond to what she says, but it’s just a little discouraging to see some people be so rude, you know?

        But hey, I just wish I could bake us all a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy…

        And I really wish we knew these girls away from TRLW and IFC.

        • “I just wish our opinions could be aimed more toward the show and its content rather than at Romi herself.”

          I get it in terms of rude attacks against her, I completely agree. But she is willingly using the show as a vehicle to express her story (sorry). And she’s part of the content. I can see why people would have thoughts about that and her in context with the show that aren’t all positive. I think there are a few people, including myself, who just find it somewhat incredulous that anyone would feel that show is a way to accomplish or lay the groundwork for what she wants to do.

          I would find a different venue because I view the show as a laughing stock, offensive to some, and a source of hilarity to many in ways it was not intended to. She’s asking why, what do people want, I don’t get it kind of things. I think people can answer honestly without being rude to her personally.

          • THIS. Exactly. No need to be mean or rude. At the same time, a little less spin & a little more honesty would go a long way.

          • I don’t even think people are being all that rude. Not in this thread. I didn’t read the calendar one so I don’t know what people were saying back then. I don’t know why people aren’t allowed to criticise this show on this site without 20 people going “How could you? You are so awful!”. It’s a tv show. It exists to be talked about. And that talk doesn’t have to be always be positive.

            I, in particular, was simply pointing out that reality show people as a whole tend to say the same thing in regards to editing that Romi was talking about. She’s not the only so it wasn’t solely a judgement on her. They all say it and I just don’t believe that it is all the editors fault as to how you come across on camera on these shows. Do they manipulate things from time to time? Oh, I absolutely believe they do. But these people put themselves in these situations to begin with and that’s the sad part. Maybe I’m just biased against reality shows in general.

  11. I mean, unless people know Romi, who can really say anything? Judgments aren’t helpful, positive or negative. It is what it is. And Romi is who she is. Why can’t everyone just be who they are and let everyone else be who they are too? I think we’d have a lot less problems in this world and a little more happiness.

  12. I’m sure in real life all these women are charming, smart, interesting, and lovely ladies. But when you knowingly walk into a whore house expect to get fucked. Unfortunately, IFC is doing all the fucking. I really hope when this season is done airing she still feels the same way. No matter what anyone else thinks, if you can walk away at the end of the day having no regrets and still having respect for yourself then that’s what counts. I wish Romi all the love and luck in the world.

  13. Why don’t you put yourself in Romi’s shoes? This was the first season of the Real L Word-so how was she supposed to know it would be all about drama and sex? I’m sure she, like most of us, expected the show to be…different. Who would have thought people would have been so exploited? And as far as Romi signing on for season 2-there was so much backlash about s1, maybe she thought s2 would be different and have more substance. So don’t get down on Romi. None of you really know what you would do/how you would be portrayed. Look at Corey and Kacy. They are now known as being obsessed with sperm. I’m sure they have other sides to them, but we’ll probably never see that.
    Lastly, why would you put your life and time on camera if there wasn’t money to be made? Everyone does stuff for money-it’s called a job!

    • I totally agree with your Corey and Kaci point. It’s the same as in season one with Nikki and Jill. Like their entire lives weren’t wedding plans 24/7. They had jobs, friends, lives outside of planning a wedding. We only got to see that when it coincided with planning a wedding (the moms coming to pick out dresses). Who knows what Romi, or any other cast member for that matter, does that doesn’t make it to final cut. Like many other people have pointed out before, what makes it to tv is what the producers/editors/IFC deem “interesting”. While it’s unfortunate that what they choose to put on tv is stuff some people don’t think should necessarily be on tv, i.e. the nudity, sex, and drinking, it’s stuff we’ve all done or are even doing in our lives right now. It happens. Get over it…

  14. Honestly, we could use more portrayals of consensual sex on TV couldn’t we? Where both parties are enjoying themselves? Sure there was some emotional fallout, but that’s just real life, and the show is trying to capture that.

  15. I am very proud of you Romi Klinger…you are a beautiful, strong, wise, honest, brave and incredible woman…first and foremost…who you love and want to be with is not the summation of who you are! Just keep speaking your truth….Awesome….I love you..and am proud of you. MOM

  16. I really like this, Jess and Romi. It’s a good reminder that everybody on the show is just human. I know if I had cameras following around me all day and an evil mastermind editing the footage it would be a disaster and a half.

  17. So when’s Autostraddle going to round these ladies up and produce a reality show that doesn’t maim and butcher their personalities? Because I’d watch the crap out of that.

    • That’s a great idea! It doesn’t even have to be a big production type thing.

      Forget the ‘reality TV’ template… I’d watch the crap out of a lesbian VLOG*, a la Shaytards and Charles Trippy on youtube.

      *I’m talking about the kind where you take the camera with you and do stuff and film it and then edit it. Not the “vent in front of your webcam in one take” kind.

  18. I just don’t like how she treated her gf. When my gf first moved in with me from another state I took care of her too. And it was HARD. And it made me ANGRY/FRUSTRATED. But you know what I didn’t do? Throw that shit in her face. And I never brought it up unexpectedly while out with her and my mother. When I saw that…I mean imagining how belittled and small and useless and worthless she (Kelsey?) Must have felt?! NO one wants to be the lesser contributor in a relationship. But you know what? shit happens. And when I got laid off, guess who stepped up and took care of me? My previously spoiled immature irresponsible younger gf. Just goes to show.

  19. good for you Romi! there’s some of us who like to party and get drunk and have sex and break our hearts. there’s some others who are more selfcentered and don’t even go out. whether they are gay or not, life is life. romi happens to have a camera and show it to the world. if you can’t understand why she does that, well, don’t watch the show. don’t follow her interviews. why would people bother to watch, judge and complain? it’s like pure h8. romi i think you’re great and super smart, besides super gorgeous. have fun doing this, and if people keep saying crap, they obviously have very boring lives and nothing better to do but judge people. and lesbians who don’t like romi or think she is not representing the community, give me a break, since when all lesbians are the same? there’s some of us that have a very similar life stile to that of romi’s, so in my case i’d say i can totally relate to her. luckily romi is strong enough to show everyone that besides being emotional and liking to party, she also has a brain and knows how to use it. good for you romi!

  20. I think Romi is really lovely, articulate, and charming. I don’t have Showtime so all I know of the show comes from Riese’s recaps, but I really hope people do get to see more of Romi’s life. I would like to know more about her family, her work, and so on because she seems interesting. And if sex is part of that too, then okay, cuz like someone else said, we could really use more positive portrayals of consensual sex on TV.

    Just from what I’ve seen in the recaps of the first two episodes, though, it seems like Sajdah is the only one with any screentime devoted to things other than SEX or SPERM.

    Jason, who runs The Wild Hunt, said this about Pagans and reality TV: “Reality programs (for the most part) aren’t looking to normalize outsider views and faiths, just to put them on (highly edited) display. A sanitized freak-show for our modern era. No matter how positive or good-intentioned there is always a touch of outlandishness inherent in these programs.” I tend to feel the same way about lesbians (and most minority groups, for that matter) and reality TV and I worry that TRLW is going to do this the same as it did last season, however much the network and producers claim this season has been improved.

    Still, Romi seems pretty happy with this season, and I hope she still feels that way when she’s seen all the episodes finally. You do you, Romi!

  21. Remember that one scene from the third season of The L Word where Jenny brings Moira to dinner to meet everyone and you feel like for the first time you kind of hate most of the characters because they’re acting like uppity, rich bitches and then all of a sudden Moira gives this speech and it gets all awkward and no one knows what to say?

    “I know something interesting about lobsters . . . you don’t have to put a lid on the pot when you cook female lobsters. Does anybody know why? When you cook a pot of male lobsters and they realize they’re in this pot of boiling water, they all start totally freaking out. They’re like ‘fuck we gotta get outta here’ and they start making these little ladders and helping each other get out of the pot, so you have to put a lid on the pot to keep them inside. But female lobsters, you don’t have to put a lid on the pot because once they realize they’re in a pot of boiling water they all just start grabbing each other and they’re like holding each other down. They’re like, if I’m gonna die, everyone’s gonna die. None of ’em wants to let any of the other ones get out of the pot. It’s a real shame isn’t it?”

  22. Hmm, I have been hatin’ on Romi since last season, though not vocally. Hearing more of her side, however, makes me change my mind and rethink my cynicism. It also reminds me of the end of my favorite David Sedaris essay (you really have to read the whole thing to understand the last line, so go here http://scottduncan.free.fr/blog/jesus_shaves.pdf):

    “Why bother struggling with the grammar lessons of a six year-old if each of us didn’t believe that, against all reason, we might eventually improve? If I could hope to one day carry on a fluent conversation, it was a relatively short leap to believing that a rabbit might visit my home in the middle of the night, leaving behind a handful of chocolate kisses and a carton of menthol cigarettes. So why stop there? If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt? I accepted the idea that an omniscient God had cast me in his own image and that he watched over me and guided me from one place to the next. The virgin birth, the resurrection, and the countless miracles–my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe.

    A bell, though, that’s fucked up.”

    And so, here are my thoughts on this whole conversation, in David-Sedaris-essay form:

    Why bother struggling with these issues of individual philosophy and sexuality if each of us didn’t believe that, against all odds, we might eventually be respected for what we have to say? If I could hope to one day understand why all those Real L Word folks were doing what they’re doing, it was a relatively short leap to believing that Kelsey might visit my home in the middle of the night, leaving behind sweet kisses and a case of premixed cocktails. So why stop there? If I could believe in Romi, why not give other seemingly vapid members of TRLW cast the benefit of the doubt? I accepted the idea that an omniscient Ilene Chaiken created this show in her own image and watched over the editing process and guided queer visibility from one place to the next. A successful LA Fashion Week, lesbian strap-on sex being okay with the rest of the world, non-disgusting creamed corn wrestling—my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe.

    Claire’s little experiment, though, that’s fucked up.

    • David Sedaris essay tied to this thread = win. Manner in which to did so, hilarious, if you are or not in school I suggest a term paper/thesis, I’d read it.

  23. “The viewers want sex, right? That’s why they’re watching.”

    If I wanted to watch sex, I’d look at some porn. Maybe that’s why straight males and some of you are watching, but certainly not me. The same goes with the original L word. I didn’t watch it to see fucking, I watched it because it was the ONLY thing on t.v. about lesbians. That’s why I’m watching this shit, and it makes me feel embarrassed.

    • For sure. I liked her interview except that part. I’m definitely not watching for the sex; hell, I can just take my ass back into my bedroom and actually have it. I’m watching it because I wanna see these amazing women be who they are, in L.A. living their lives, and being lesbian/queer/etc. I also didn’t watch The L Word for sex either, lol. I watched it so I could stare at Jennifer Beals whenever she was on screen and salivate like a dog looking for an afternoon delight.

      But you know, Romi girl, I like you. So like errybody else said, do you baby.

  24. First of all, I’ve known Romi since the day she was born. She is one the kindest people I know. She is hilarious and so fun to be around. Romi is hardworking and a great person.

    Moni – You said, “And I never brought it up unexpectedly while out with her and my mother.” How do you know that it was unexpectedly? They had been talking for hours, but the editing only showed you a couple of minutes.

    • so-what you’re saying is, that rather than that moment being brief like I supposed, it was really an extended situation? Because what that really does is take my
      mortification and turn it into an abject horror. I couldn’t stomach the thought of it being 15-30 mins. Hours?!
      Because here is the thing. Mom’s, when they are uber understanding and protective of you and you can tell them anything, still at the end of the day want to protect you. Like, my mom is fucking great. She’s the most amazing woman I have ever known. but you know what she also is? Fiercely protective of me. my mom loves everyone I bring into my life unconditionally. the only thing that stops that love is when they do something to me that my mom perceives as potentially hurtful or damaging to me. then you better watch out. what I have learned is sometimes even though I could tell my mother everything, and she’d be super supportive, it’s not fair to who I’m with to divulge information that includes sensitive and intimate details of our relationship. My girlfriend loves my mom and my mom loves her- but it’s a different kind of love because in spite of herself, my mom is always going to have one eye on my girl in case she steps out of line. because my mom wants someone to be perfect for me. because my mom thinks I am perfect and amazing and i deserve the world. make sense? so what Romi did at that table, and what she did in the interviews, and when she said she was basically PAYING Kelsey to cook and clean and whatever was so profoundly fucked up. and it was upsetting because it is a betrayal of Kelsey’s and Romi’s personal relationship, it violates their privacy, Kelsey’s vulnerability and susceptibility to Romi and her trust that Romi will have her back, and support and love her even when times are a little rough.

  25. I think Romi’s quite brave, and that she was justified in thinking things would be different for her in Season 2 – not only would people get to see her more accurately, but she probably thought being a proper cast member would give her some control over how she was edited. I’d say that’s a fair call.

    Let people judge all they want. If they don’t want to watch it, nobody is forcing them to. For every person out there who judges Romi, there’s another who feels they can relate to her character.
    I find it particularly interesting how she was raised by two mums (sorry, I’m an Aussie… ‘moms’ as you Americans say :P) and she’s refreshingly honest, discussing her bipolar, sex life, financial issues etc. onscreen.

    Besides, girl is HOT!

  26. I agree with Reise in her early comment questioning if we should really hold Romi accountable for what the producer/editor/fucking IFC are doing. What this project is about is so obvious to me. There are plenty of ways to make the shock value stay in tact without panning to a girls vagina and holding the camera there for 5 seconds (I just heard Margaret Cho saying, “She was panning for pussy”). Fuck, QAF did it for 5 seasons straight with out any REAL sex. Now I’m not saying that I don’t want REAL sex because it’s reality and if I didn’t that would just be plain stupid. However, when the show outside of the sex is just kinda here and there, what does that do for viewers? IFC goes on and on, “Ultimately it’s to prove that we all are the same.” She’s setting herself up for the chopping block if you ask me. The content seems just a little bit too shallow to make a comment like that.

    Regardless, I feel that I can see past the smoke and mirrors of this show and will not hold these lovely ladies accountable for such a bad set up/premise. So Romi, I tip my hat off to you, perhaps those who have been hating on you just haven’t seen that the content of this show is up to the editors and you have more than one side to you. I like a woman that can stand up for herself in the face of such ignorance/hate.

    • I agree with your assessment. When I saw that notorious scene on the Real L Word, my mouth dropped to the ground (as did the one towards the end of ep 201). That show should be made to order on pay-per-view!

      It’s pretty clear that TRLW was strictly made for the hetero male gaze (rather than showing society how real-life lesbians live). It’s time to replace IC with some new blood – she doesn’t care about anything other than the greenbacks in her savings acct.

  27. I just commented on an old interview from August 2010…I’m still thinking the same thing. I want to know more about Romi’s jewelry!

    I would just love to meet all of the cast of The Real L Word (contracted or not…whatever). “Reality” shows are produced/edited, etc. So no one watching on TV will ever know the people as they are in day-to-day life. Simply why I will never understand how the rest of the world doesn’t know this…and continues to judge individuals cast on these shows. I am sure you are all awesome in your own ways! And good luck to you all in your other ventures! Stay positive!

    And by the way…I’m a Marketing Guru in the Silicon Valley. You ever need consulting on Marketing your jewelry or yourselves and other skills…Let me know! I just like helping other strong positive women and would offer my services for no or extremely low cost 🙂

  28. I think Romi’s awesome. *shrug* And oh yea, hot.

    Also, I seem to recall having the reverse of this argument with my friends all the time. They (and countless lesbians everywhere) complained 24/7 that “Lesbian Sexy Moments” as Autostraddle so elegantly puts it, were so scarce on The L Word and that it made us look like boring, sexless spinsters who just sat around processing all the time. Remember the freak-out over Jenny and Nikki’s strap-on scene, which was awarded more attention than Alice and Dana’s? Heck, I remember. People rejoiced. Seriously. Finally, ‘they show us having hot, steamy, wanton, adult sex!’

    Now we have the argument that there’s too much sex and that it’s tacky and classless and ZOMG a strap-on!! Why? Because Romi Klinger is a real person and Shane McCutcheon was a fictional creation of not-IFC’s mind? I can understand her own confusion then when saying “what do they want” because at this point, I dunno.

    This show is a train wreck, but like most others here, it’s that way because sometimes the edits and cuts are so choppy, I find myself saying “I wonder what she was saying before that part got cut in” or “How do these fabulous lesbians make the money that allows them to go out as often as they do and still have a roof over their heads?!” Lol

    In the end, Romi does Romi, and everyone else just has to do them. I’d still take her, and all of them, out for a drink if I could, because at the end of the day, reality TV is like that one friend you have that you can’t quite trust to give someone else an accurate portrait of who you are as a person. You just have to blindly hope sometimes that the story will be different and more positive the next time around.

  29. STOP projecting your insecurities people!!
    ROMI FUCKS LIKE A CHAMP
    ROMI DRINKS LIKE A CHAMP
    ROMI KNOWS ALL THESE THINGS

    Talking ish is human nature, Everyone does, even your immediate circle of friends. Stop degrading fellow Lezzies in the community who have the balls to let lose and allow Hollywood to portray how they see fit will make them the most money through high ratings.

    Not to ruin the show for any of your Awesome AS people but a majority of reality television is scripted… even this show. I know first hand!!

    • How bout stop telling people to stop expressing their opinions? Who is degrading her? She degrades herself, sorry but it is what it is. If we have to love and respect, honor and praise every frackin lezzie in the world, regardless of our feelings about her behavior, characteristics etc, this site might be called After Ilene or some shit.

      • She didn’t sign a contract stating “YOU ARE DEGRADING YOURSELF BY SIGNING HERE”, she signed away her rights and to let the networks portray her how they see fit. This is why I don’t watch reality television or the Teeveee at all, people be gettin all kinds of Crazy.

        Express your opinion, do what you need to comfort those insecure needs. I never stated to not express yourself, just why spread the hate in a community that receives it on the Daily out side the world wide web.

        I put money that if you walked down the street passed her, you wouldn’t churp two words at her with your negative comments

        DON’T EVER TALK BAD ABOUT THIS SITE. IT’S GENIUS, BRILLIANT and if you knew anything at all about this site: Every recap being TRLW or TLW autostraddle is not an IFC fan. For sake her name is I F****N C !

        • Ok, I can see this isn’t going to be fair for you. There is an old saying which warns against bringing a knife to a gun fight and I think you might be wielding something to spread butter with, and I think it might be plastic.

          • Wait… that was pretty clever!! I’m gonna use it next time! I don’t really care to fight over something i don’t feel strong about, PEACE and smiles!!

        • Oh, man. I keep going back to this article, not anymore in terms of the interview. When I read her last sentence about “called After Ilene or some shit” I laughed. I get what she is saying. And then the ..DON’T EVER TALK BAD ABOUT THIS SITE. IT’S GENIUS, BRILLIANT..” Laughed again.

          Yeah, it is genius, it’s my favorite site. I feel protective sometimes of everyone involved because of that.
          I’ve seen posts get nailed for what I think is no big deal, especially considering well written articles evoke lots of feelings, and inevitably followed by apologies, clarifications, more apologies, sometimes edits (whole ‘nother topic).

          So I kind of appreciated that she wrote what she thought without that internal editing.

          LOL, Hell to the No I don’t want this to become After Ilene. And I know it won’t. But even now I’m jonesing to say THIS DOES NOT REFER TO THE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS and to qualify every sentence as to make sure everyone knows I don’t believe in attacking, or, maybe you were joking about DON’T TALK BAD, or, critical responses can be written constructively, or, I’m sorry if this upsets you, etc.

          • So here is mine without internal editing*

            AS can be brutal and judgmental in a funny way for years about these shows and cast as they are providing entertainment via the recaps, it’s not personal as has been said. After all those recaps and related articles, an interview with a cast member is posted. She is a friend of some and AS does a separation of that was entertainment, this is a real person we like and want you to hear her. Ok, readers can differentiate, AS readers are intelligent. It might take a bit to throw off years of recap posts/hilarity but we are capable homos.

            Then came comments that weren’t positive. And the feeling that if some still had their previous opinions, they weren’t supportive of all homogaykind/AS or aware Romi is alive and breathes the same air we do. This bums me out because I think people might not want to post on articles if they aren’t in agreement.

            *I think I tend to overqualify my posts on all topics because I have seen so many offensive interpretations of posts that aren’t that at all. It’s tiring so I am going to stop.

  30. I don’t really follow trlw but I’m surprised that people would even react so negatively to sex with a strap on. I was under the impression that a large number of us lesbians used toys… so whats the big deal? Her sex life and her decision to be in a reality tv show is her own and who are we to judge her for it?

  31. I like all the comments from people who realize that everyone can say something stupid from time to time and it doesn’t define who they are, that a few bad moments on a REALITY TV SHOW don’t necessarily show your true colors. Shows like this are perfect for people who see a 2 minute conversation and think they know the inner workings of a particular mother daughter relationship and act like they know the inner workings of the relationship between the girlfriend and the mother. I find this all very interesting. I don’t know why I’m so shocked that people buy into this show so much, but I am.

    Romi is such a generous, loving person. So what if she said something stupid or didn’t act the way everyone thinks she should have acted. She has a huge heart and she’s human. I applaud her for being so brave. The journey you will see her take in the upcoming episodes has my respect and the respect of the rest of her family who love her and support her. I guess that’s really all that matters. I know that if I was on a TV show and said and did some things that was getting negative feedback, Romi would be one of the first to stand by me. It’s easy to get caught up in all these comments when it’s someone I love so much. Romi has always had a much thicker skin than me. I struggle hearing things about her when I know people have no clue what she’s all about.

  32. i just saw the first episode of season 2 and romi’s gf…is awkward. i would hate to be around the two over dinner…or in the same room actually. you can feel the tension a mile away….eeehhhhh…..drama!

  33. I never watched The L Word for the sex. I watched it because at the time I was so excited to see a show about lesbians and their fictional lives in LA. Then, IFC ruined the storyline and eventually pushed Jenny into the pool.

    You can’t compare TLW vs. TRLW. Because NEITHER are “real”. TRLW is an editor’s playground to show non-lesbians what lesbians supposedly do aka drink, smoke, pine away for ex-lovers, and have sex. Of course the show is edited without the cast member’s knowledge! Otherwise we’d have hours of them standing around blinking at each other.

    We catch glimpses of these people on camera and then make assumptions about the rest of their lives. Some are probably totally wrong but I honestly think that any of those girls who are contracted now weren’t coming to Season 2 to make the show more grounded, etc.

    They came for some camera time and some $$$. Sure Romi may want a storyline that includes her gf and mom but in the end she’s getting paid. You really think Whitney came back to show the world she’s not just about sex? She came back so that after the show she can keep promoting events in LA and get an appearance fee.

    Sadly, here in LA money talks. But talk to any lesbian at a bar here and they’ll tell you that they could care less if Whitney shows up at a club.

    Best of luck Romi — I really hope this show doesn’t screw you over for the rest of your career (in television or in REAL life).

  34. My thoughts are HAVE MORE SEX WITH YOUR GF!!! I do not need to see it but as 25 year old women I would have to say 3wks no sex=LAME!! If I was 23 I. Would. Die…

    All you mean nasty girls go judge your friends! Showtime is an adult channel and if you do not wish to see people being people then watch a scripted drama: Glee, modern family or family guy. I love glee everyone on Glee acts stereotypically and when I watch it the only things I complain about are still PG-13.

    So what if the girl acts her AGE on TV So what if she complains… Wait everyone complains. Realize that you love that she does what she does because she makes for a good conversation… Oh yeah like the gogo dancer you also like or your friend whose always doing something silly. It is her life and she does not edit it people. Why can’t she go back and do whatever she wants as many times as she wants? We do it when we get back together with someone after a bad break-up! Are you ladies serious SHE IS NOT YOU!! She is just a part of our backbiting vicious community.

    Why should she not get paid are you a fool? What is she supposed to fill her gas tank with? I would like 10 gallons of sticking it to the man going broke while other people take money from dead in jobs b/c I need to prove myself SMFH. Do you fill your tank with that? People even get paid to help with Pride are they bought out too?

    I respect you girl. Make your money and do you.

  35. I completely adore Romi. Im sure if any of you actually met her, you would feel the same way. We all agreed to be on this show in the hopes of giving equal visibility to our community. No, its not a scripted show, but the producers and editors need to formulate our lives into some sort of story line because were not living under one roof like on jersey shore, and were not on some sort of competition show. Its the beginning stages of a series that Showtime is trying to brand. It needs time to find its roots and grow into something. We as people on the show only wanted to try to be a part of something new and exciting, that could hopefully give our community more visibility. Unless you actually know all or any of us, its parochial and sad that you can all claim to know our reasons for the choices we have made or cast judgement. How about a little kindness, is it that hard to be open minded? Really??

    • 🙂 i’m sure i’d have a blast with everyone from the show. hopefully in some near future i do get to know some or all of you, because i think you’re all great in your own way. thanks for giving the show, i think it will help a great number of gay people and straight people to realize we are all human beings with different preferences and we are all different, yet similar. I really appreciate having a show like this and it makes me wish I was in LA with such wonderful and successful women.
      personal opinion about romi, as i said before, she is not just absolutely gorgeous, but she is so smart and self confident she is def a role model!

      I love the show and I will continue watching!

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