Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (August 8, 2008)


Thanks to TV producers and the colorful, "real-life" characters who eagerly line up for the 15 minutes they so richly deserve, reality show audiences have enjoyed watching back-stabbing, bitch-slapping, smack-talking, drunken lesbian hot tub-kissing shenanigans for years. And that’s just Tila Tequila.

Not to be left out on the fun-slash-train wreckage, Hydra Properties, a United Arab Emirates company, has joined forces with Showtime/Infinity TV and created The Hydra Executives, a business reality show featuring eight American entrepreneurs competing against eight British counterparts in oil money–drenched Abu Dhabi. And what global reality show would be complete without an obligatory lesbian?

Meet 26-year-old personal trainer, sports nutritionist and gym owner, Shawnee Harkins.

Harkins and the other contestants were challenged with creating and implementing a business plan based on their original idea for a real estate venture. While certain Abu Dhabi citizens enjoy ridiculous wealth and opulent lifestyles, the U.A.E.’s culture can be downright medieval — homosexuality is illegal there and could be punished by death.

Undeterred by U.A.E.’s craptastic gay rights record, Harkins kept it real by using her "natural head for business" and a "strong commitment towards educating the people of Abu Dhabi about health and fitness," according to her website.

While the Long Beach, Calif., resident didn’t flaunt her lesbian ways during her four months on the show, Harkins didn’t hide them either. She told me: "I don’t look at being gay as taboo; it’s just my life. I met a lot of Arabs who came to find out that I was a lesbian. Everyone knew."

Harkins hiding in plain sight

The CEO of Hydra Properties, an Arab gazillionaire, acted as the show’s Donald Trumpesque host and ponied up the winner’s prize: $1,000,000 in venture capital — roughly equal to his monthly budget for champagne.

Harkins told me that The Hydra Executives is slated for the Fox fall lineup, with a projected airdate sometime in late September or early October, and will also air internationally on Showtime in October.

If real estate isn’t your thing, Harkins reports she also had throw-down with a male contestant who had a crush on a female one, who had an interest in her. Lesbian drama — now that’s what I’m talking about.

by Dara Nai

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