Alyssa Morgan may not be an official cast member of The Real L Word, but she might be the most well-liked person on the show. The professional special effects and make-up artist got involved with the show when her best friend and roommate of more than a decade, Whitney Mixter, joined the cast. Thus began Alyssa’s unrequested reality TV career.
“We both went into this experience — or she mostly went into this experience saying that this was a reality show and that, although reality shows definitely have a tendency to take liberties with how they portray people, at least from her personal perspective she’s going to be as real as possible,” Alyssa said. “And so when it comes to mine and her friendship, what you see is what you get. It hasn’t changed it, it hasn’t made it anything that it wasn’t before, for sure. I mean there are obviously elements of life that are slightly more interesting to navigate now that both she and I have faces that people recognize, obviously Whitney way more than me but it hasn’t changed our friendship; it’s just changed the dynamic of hanging out outside of our house together.”
Alyssa was calling from her job on location in Minnesota doing special effects make-up for military mock scenarios. Considering some of the other women on the show do have full-time jobs, Alyssa could theoretically make time to let cameras follow her day-to-day, but she’s not interested.
“A main cast member — it’s just so invasive, that much of your life to be on camera,” Alyssa said. “Not that I’m completely opposed to it, but it’s so much more relaxing to take the seat that I’ve been in for the last several seasons.”
But Alyssa said she also thinks she’d be a little too self-aware. “I’m a level-headed person and I don’t think you could get enough vodka in me to forget that there’s a camera right over my shoulder,” she said. Instead, Alyssa is referred to as the show’s “voice of reason,” a label she’s totally fine with.
“That’s not all that bad, when you’re surrounded by a bunch of beautiful crazy girls that everybody thinks is a lunatic,” Alyssa said. “So I don’t mind the seat that I’ve sat in. I do think that I’m a reasonable person and I do think that’s kind of what friendship is about, being honest with people. And that’s one thing I can say about myself is that whether you see it on camera or not, I can’t force anything and I’m also not fake so if I don’t like somebody I’m going to let everybody know I’m not a big fan. At the same time I can be cordial, but you’re not going to see me running up hugging and kissing that same person after I’ve been talking behind their back. That’s just not who I am. And also I know that people change and I’m also not completely set in stone with everything that I say. I think I’m a fair person and I like to give people an opportunity to prove they’ve grown or changed or become a better person, let’s just put it that way.”
One of those people on Season 3 could be Sara Bettencourt, Whitney’s on-and-off again girlfriend who Alyssa has not been a fan of in the past. Although she wouldn’t say what her relationship is like with Sara now that Whitney has moved out and intends to propose to her, Alyssa will say that she thinks there’s more to the threeway relationship and now broken friendship that is Whitney, Sara and Romi.
“I’m a diplomatic kind of person and although Whitney and I have been friends for a very, very long time, I would never let somebody else’s drama dictate how I feel towards another person,” Alyssa said. “That being said, I mean, Romi and Whitney have had a lot of issues between one another on a more than friendship sort of type of grounds. They weren’t just friends so obviously there are feelings that get involved that heighten situations much more than if two people were just buddies who had a falling out. So emotions sort of run wild when you have, you know, you have feelings for somebody or you had feelings for somebody and it’s not necessarily reciprocated.”
Now that Romi has revealed herself to be dating a man, Alyssa finds criticism she’s faced to be unfounded and upsetting.
“The thing is, the LGBT community is one that is supposed to be fighting for equality and fighting for love who you love and being treated equally, so that being said, how can you be part of that community and then look down your nose at somebody who has feelings for a man or a woman?” Alyssa said. “It just doesn’t make sense. Obviously when you’ve known someone to be gay their whole lives and then they are going to share with their close friends they might want to date and be in a straight relationship, it might be surprising. But I don’t think, at least for myself and anybody close to me, that would be no reason to kick them out of the group. We might tease and give each other a hard time about it but I certainly would never not be someone’s friend or be disgusted by the fact they would want to be with a guy because I knew them to be a lesbian. That’s not really my M.O.”
Alyssa also doesn’t think Romi is dating men for any other reason than she is truly bisexual. “I follow Romi on Twitter and I know her and I know that she’s been catching a lot of flack. There’s a lot of writing to her on Twitter saying ‘You’re fake gay’ and ‘You use the show to get famous’ and unfortunately there are going to be some people out there with that perspective, but I don’t necessarily think that it’s, in any way, true at all.”
As for if she misses Whitney as a roommate, Alyssa said it’s “a bummer, because I love spending time with her. I wasn’t shocked at all that she was moving. I mean, Whitney and I have lived together on and off, even back when we lived in New York, since 2000. She’s my best friend. But I wasn’t shocked. I knew that she and Sara were trying to see if they could have a more serious relationship and I thought it was a little sudden but it seems to be going well for her.”
But even though Whitney is no longer living in the house, that doesn’t mean cameras aren’t coming to Alyssa’s any more. As we saw on episode one, Alyssa’s voice of reason is still very much necessary, and she doesn’t mind.
“They never just show up randomly with the cameras,” Alyssa said. “The production company is conscious of being on point with scheduling with us when is a time they can come by and we try to coordinate our schedules around the shooting so it’s never really like ‘Surprise, we’re here!’ We always know they’re going to be there. It’s just a surprise sometimes what happens once they get there.”
Although you won’t see too much of Alyssa’s personal life outside of her relationship with the other women of the show, she is happily engaged to musician Shay Magro of the band Love Darling who sings The Real L Word theme song. They plan on making it official soon, but have ended up waiting three years for California to make it legal. “Now we’re thinking maybe sometime next year,” Alyssa said. “I’m originally from Connecticut and ironically it’s legal in Connecticut but not in California.”
As for what else Alyssa does when she’s not advising lesbians, she also worked on Anna Margarita Ablelo‘s upcoming film Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf? She worked on the film with good friend/star Guinevere Turner and said it was a great experience. “Ironically, in a strange weird small world kind of way, it was like a week into filming and the women’s house who we shot most of the film in — it turned out it was Romi’s aunts’. And Romi randomly showed up one day to see her aunts when we were filming and she’s like ‘What are you doing here?’”
She just can’t get rid of them! Not that she wants to. But she does want viewers to know there’s more to The Real L Word women then what you see on TV.
“On one hand, it is a reality show and a lot of what you see is really happening,” Alyssa siad. “At the same time, it doesn’t just end there. Life doesn’t begin and end in three months time of filming. For me as a person, my life doesn’t revolve around mending all of Whitney’s broken hearted girlfriends and it doesn’t all consist of me shaking a finger at her. I have a whole life outside of both of those facts.
“Then again,” she continued, “those are also things that do happen so I think the most important thing to take away from the whole thing is we are here, we’re all part of this show and if we can help bring visibility to the community and also bring awareness to certain things that are going on in not just our lives but the lives of other gay people living in Los Angeles and now New York. But there’s also the element of entertainment that has to be taken into consideration and they’re going to show and highlight the most entertaining parts, which are unfortunately always the drunken fights, the drama, the sex. That’s not who we are as a whole and that’s not how we’re solely represented.”
The Real L Word airs Thursdays on Showtime.