Ask (July 1, 2009)


Question: I recently read an article in the New York Daily News that said that Tori from Saved By the Bell was now a filmmaker whose work is in gay film festivals. WTF?! Is she a lesbian?

Susan, NY

Leanna Creel then (in Saved By the Bell) and now

Answer: Yep, it’s true. The show that was the launch pad for Hollywood greats like Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls!), also produced award-winning lesbian filmmaker, Leanna Creel.

We caught up with Creel, who played tomboy Tori Scott on Saved By the Bell, and asked what she’s working on these days. This is what she told us:

My marriage was "validated" by the California court …but because of the conflicting decision to disallow gay marriages in the future, I don’t feel like celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that my son was born two days after the state started issuing marriage licenses, just in time for his moms to get married.

Creel with her son

But the reality is, we’ve been advised to go through a second parent adoption so that I’ll be protected as his non-birth mom in other states, and around the world. It’s a weird thought to have to adopt your own son, and strange to think about having a right that is only recognized here in California.We have to file separate federal tax returns for example. I think the Federal Government should allow gay marriage just to cut down on the paperwork.

In addition to photography and cinematography for private and corporate clients, I’ve been creating web content for clients such as Yahoo!, Nokia, Food Network and HGTV. Everything from a photography series called SNAP (that I also hosted) to a cooking show for the MTV crowd called Cheap & Easy. Most recently, I finished a make-over series on window treatments with Kahi Lee for

In December I produced a series for Food with 12 top chefs in Napa which I’ll be producing again in 2009 called The 12 Days of Christmas at Meadowood, Napa Valley. I’m also at work on script that I hope will be my first feature as a director.

In 2001, I started a non-profit photography program called photopiece ( that helps teenagers get in touch with the stories they have to tell, and then doing so with a camera.We started with mostly Latino immigrant youth in downtown LA, but the program has grown to rural Oregon with Native-American teens, Ecuador and Mexico. A former student has returned to his high school and is now teaching a class at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in downtown LA, which is something I’m very proud of.

Clearly, it’s time for a Saved By the Bell class reunion. Hopefully Tori’s motorcycle comes with a sidecar!

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