AE: That’s great because you have something that people can connect with outside of Ari the person. They can also become a fan of Ari the filmmaker.
AF: That’s why I did it. Imagine—I’ve never created. When I was in the house I was working on my second film. Before that I just held a camera for the first time and created something. I am really just trying to figure out how to make filmmaking career happen out of nothing and so to have an opportunity to show people my work. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. That said, I don’t know—I don’t think I’m ready yet to see how people respond. In the house I was genuinely myself. I was Ari 100 percent of the time. I’m sure that there are things I’m going to look at going to have to call my mom and say “Hey, so about that…” I think there’s a lot of feelings tied into what’s going to happen after the show, but until then, I’m just tied down, focused on work and it gives me a way out, kind of, instead of getting caught up on the gay fame that will happen.
AF: Yeah, I think the big thing is just—a lot of people watch these shows and they don’t associate the people they see with actual human beings, like the actual ability to decide what they want to do and I was really really happy with the fact that I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I think a lot of people get nervous about reality TV and think everything is contrived and there’s some guy telling you what to do or where to go. That doesn’t happen. It really is just people living their lives, and because you spend time with people, conflict naturally comes up, drama naturally come sup, sex naturally comes up. That’s the big thing. We’re looking at huge screens of pixelized versions of people, but they’re actually people. I don’t think that comes across a lot and hopefully—especially thinking about Ash and I being on TV as token lesbians or whatever. I want people to recognize she and I are people, and the things that we say to each other, the things that we do to each other, it’s because we felt that way in the moment, it’s not because there’s someone standing over us with a coffee and a clipboard saying, “Hey can you guys do that over again?”
AE: I assume that the conversations you and Ashley are having are the same that the straight people are having, which helps to normalize things, too.
AF: Oh my god, yes. I always wonder what people think about lesbians and reality TV. A lot of people are assuming that because we’re lesbians on TV we’re going to be super extra, like we’re going to be all over the place — loud and crazy and the most drama. Or we’re going to be like all lovey dovey and kissy and all that stuff. At the end of the day, the conversations I had with Ashley are the same conversations that everyone else had. I think more people should see that so part of the reason why, after I got over the initial shock that my ex was living with me and I had that to deal with and my film things to deal with and my roommates to deal with—I was like “Oh my God this is too much.” Once I got over that, I was just happy to know that our relationship was going to be put out there and I’m hoping relatable. So that part felt good. By being very vulnerable and exposed like that I’m actually doing somebody some kind of service.
AE: Did you have jobs?
AF: There were no jobs. But I’ll tell you, just because there were so many people in the house, there was always something going on. You can imagine: Think about babies, right? There’s a group of babies and one baby starts crying. What do all the other babies start to do? They all start throwing fucking fits! That’s what would happen in the house. One relationship issue would come up and suddenly “Oh you know what? I’m mad about that too!” So it’d always be crazy. So there were no jobs but there was a lot going on at all times. I was focused on myself, so that allowed me to stay out of some things. Plus I was booking some modeling work and kind of paying bills that way so there you go.
AE: Some people think that you get paid tons of money to go on the show. Is that a myth you want to dispel?
AF: Definitely a myth. We were doing rock climbing or something and I heard people behind us saying, “Oh yeah, The Real World is this show where they give you tons of money to go out and get drunk.” That’s so not the case. We’re not paid tons of money at all to do this experience. We’re all twenty-somethings funding our work and the things that we want to do. … I was still paying my rent, I was still paying things with my own money and I think that’s one thing people should know about. Just because we’re on TV, it doesn’t mean that we have these beautiful little checks that come in and fund the crazy things we want to do. If that was the case, we’d be doing a lot more crazy shit.
AE: As people watch the show this week, what do you want people to know about you?
AF: I’m a person and shit happens and there are things I’m going to look at and go “Oh, I could have handled that differently” or “Oh I could do that better.” But at the end of the day, I was 100 percent. I was me. I think a lot of people look at these screens and think, “Because this person is not standing in front of me, they’re not a person.” I had a good time in that house and we all enjoyed ourselves and we all learned a lot. We got down and we broke down and became more and more people, who we are as people. I think all of that flows into the fact that I went in there with a mission. I want to do something that a lot of people talk about but don’t really actually achieve and that’s I want to create art and I want to get paid to make my art. I feel like so many people run around and say “Oh I’m a musician. I’m an artist. I’m a filmmaker.” But very few people actually get out there and do it. I want to be that person that shows it’s OK to get out there and do it and it’s OK to actually create. I am a person and I am an artist. I’m a creator and I’m focused on that.
AE: And if nothing else fails, you can just go model!
AF: [Laughs] I have the most glamorous life ever!
AE: What a nice back up career!
AF: It is work!