Host and producer Jessica Clark discusses what viewers have to look forward to
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY CAROLYN S. RUSSELL
Are a lover of reality TV who’s fed up with the overwhelming white cishet casting that all too often films mainstream shows? Well, DIVAs, you’re in for a treat. Coming Out For Love is a new LGBTQIA dating show brought to you by the award-winning queer filmmaker, Nicole Conn. The 16-episode competition will premiere on Valentine’s Day. And the first season is a treat for WLW everywhere.
A diverse group of 16 queer women will live under one roof and participate in emotional and physical challenges to win weekly keys that unlock the heart of the show’s lead, Amber Whittington (of Amber’s Closet fame). The show is made by the community, for the community and it looks sure to be a wild, queer AF ride. As well as serving up plenty of fun, the show doesn’t shy away from tackling some serious issues that impact the community.
The show is hosted by LGBTQIA icon, actor, model and activist, Jessica Clark. She’s known for roles in True Blood, Season Of Love and Alien: Harvest. Jessica joined me via Zoom to talk about all things Coming Out For Love and what DIVA readers have to look forward to.
DIVA: What made you want to get involved in coming out for love?
Jessica: I know Nicole Conn, who is the creator and director of Coming Out For Love. She and I did a feature film together, it was actually my first feature film, called Perfect Ending. It’s currently on Netflix. That was about 10-11 years ago. We’ve known each other ever since then and obviously I follow her work, she follows mine. And when they came to me with Coming Out For Love, I was really excited because I saw – Nicole and her production team – they really wanted to do their best to create a very modern queer dating show.
This season is WLW, but there are plans for it to expand to other identities within our community, there are plans to expand that in further seasons. As a queer, brown, feminist, book nerd I really have always wished that dating reality shows – whether they are mainstream cishet or whether they’re queer – I’ve always wished that they better reflected the diversity in the communities. It’s always been an issue for me and I think it can be seen in our community, that people often think “oh if you’re a gay, you’re sort of this monolith of people and you’re all the same and everything is equal and shiny and happy” but of course, within our community there’s still racial divide, unconcious bias, all of those things. And so I was excited about the prospect of creating a dating show that really addressed those issues and didn’t shy away from them or sanitise them. I was very drawn to that.
DIVA readers are huge fans of Amber Whittington. What was it like working together on the show and are you able to give a teaser of the quest of getting Amber a match this season?
Amber is a fantastic inaugural lead. She really has this energy and charisma. She’s an activist, she’s a content creator, she’s an actor. So bringing that kind of energy into something like a dating show, it sort of ups the ante. When you have somebody like Amber as the lead… she’s looking for the whole package. And that’s somebody that’s evolved, someone that’s aware of their emotions, someone that is excited and ambitious about their life in whatever way that presents itself. So she really raised the bar automatically. She really shines in the show. In terms of her journey into finding a mate, there are some twists and turns!
Here’s the thing with a queer show, which is different from a more mainstream dating show, all the women are under one roof. Amber is there as well. But everyone is a woman who loves women. So the potential for attraction or connection within the cast members between themselves, that is a very real possibility and so that’s something that Amber is also trying to figure out as she goes through the show. Who is truly attracted to who? Who is drawn to who? And are the women being honest with her, but also themselves? Sparks fly!
Are you able to tell us whether we can look forward to more seasons of the show?
That very much depends on audience reaction and viewing figures. We absolutely intend to do more seasons, we would love to. We are excited about the potential of being able to expand it further. We’re very excited and very much ready, and plans are definitely already in place. However, it’s still a business and so people have to watch the show. That will determine if we can continue.
Beginning Saturday, January 21 2023, and continuing each Saturday through February 11, 2023, the
sixteen women looking for love will be introduced, four at a time, in 15–25-minute episodes per week.
You will be able to stream the show on www.lesflicks.com/pages/cofl.
More information can be found at www.comingoutforlove.com.
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