When MTV debuted A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila in early October, 16 men and women were initially cast as suitors, including 29-year-old Dani Campbell from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Seven episodes in, the self-described "futch" firefighter has become one of the top four contenders for Tila’s heart.
Shortly after the sixth episode, she talked with us about what has happened so far, why she auditioned for the show, how she first came out and what she looks for in a girlfriend.
AfterEllen.com: You don’t seem like the kind of person who would necessarily apply for this kind of show.
Dani Campbell: Yeah [laughs].
AE: So why did you apply for A Shot At Love?
DC: More or less, I was at a bar and I had a few beers, and one of my friends who was holding the auditions said I should do it. She said, "You have a great personality for it," blah, blah, blah, and I was like, "ehhh," but after three beers, you know, I took the bait and I did an audition.
AE: Did you send them a tape or something?
DC: Yeah, they had a video camera there for the auditions, and they asked me some questions, and I landed the part. Never thought I would. [laughs] It’s funny. That’s how that happened.
AE: So what did your buddies at the firehouse think when they found this out?
DC: When they saw the show, at first they were giving me a lot of crap for it. Just like, "Ha ha, this is going to be funny," or "This show is going to be ridiculous." You know: "Don’t make a fool of yourself on TV. There’s going to be a lot of alcohol."
Just trying to give me a lot of precautions — "Don’t do this, don’t do that" — but once they finally got to see it, and now we’re like six episodes in, they’re like little girls. They’re like, "Oh, we can’t wait until next week! You’re doing so good! What happens next? OK, tell me about this girl, tell me about that guy. Was it really like that?"
They just want to know everything. Now they can’t get enough. They call me when I’m not at work, and it’s funny.
AE: What did they think about you wearing your firefighter outfit during the catwalk scene in the first episode?
DC: I didn’t get any s— for that. Nothing.
DC: Nothing at all. You want to know what I get crap about? It’s my white loafers.
AE: [laughs] White loafers?
DC: My Alfani slip-on shoes.
AE: When did you wear those? In the angel/heaven thing?
DC: No, those are my Vans. Let’s see, I wore the white ones the first night I was there on the couch and I said to Sara, "You gave it up too quick." There was like a clean-ass shot of my white loafers. So the guys are like —
AE: Oh yeah! I remember that scene. What did you think when Tila started making out with that girl right in front of you?
DC: Exactly how it looked. I was just kind of like, OK, um, this is weird — awkward — for everyone. You know, I made the best out of it. "More vodka, please!" It was only the first night! She’s already making out with her? Jesus.
AE: What was your honest reaction when you found out that Tila is bi?
DC: You know what? I don’t care. If I like somebody, I’m going for them. If they’re showing me they have interest, that’s just how I roll, I guess. I’ll approach a straight girl, gay girl, whatever, so when she said that it didn’t really shock me too much.
AE: You’ve described yourself as "futch" with an F. What does that mean?
DC: It’s kind of a cross between a femme and a butch. I’m not femmey by any means, and I don’t like to consider myself butch either. I’ve seen the extreme on both ends, and I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle there, so I put the two words together and called it "futch." I mean, I’m not claiming ownership of that word, but I guess since I’ve been on the show, it’s like my term now. [laughs]
AE: And why don’t you identify as butch?
DC: I don’t think I’m that rough, you know. Once somebody gets to know me, my friends and everything, they’re more or less like, "God, you’re so bitchy and prissy," and … I guess girlie.
AE: So you think butches are rough?
DC: Yes, I’ve seen some butches where it’s like [whistles]. "How many flannel shirts do you have in the closet?" You know, maybe not flannel so much anymore, but you know, Timberland shoes. I’m not trying to generalize, but I’ve just seen some rough butch girls. Like, whoa, I’m not f—ing with her. [laughs]
AE: How did you feel about those really girlie outfits they wanted you to wear?
DC: I just absolutely didn’t even humor them with the thought that I would even get into them. I was like, "Oh, that’ll be something nice for some of my girlfriends back at home." It was tragic. I was like, "I hope you don’t think I’m getting into that heaven dress or anything like that."
The one thing I did do was the pink bikini, and you know what, it was a competition and I had to step it up a little bit. Well … I wore my bathing suit underneath it. It was very uncomfortable, but they never made me do anything, so I just did it just to be a player, part of the team. Yeah, tragic.
AE: So I wanted to ask you about the other people in the house. Who did you become friends with when you were there?
DC: Everybody. When I meet people, I can recognize someone that I couldn’t be friends with, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. So let’s say Vanessa, for instance. I recognize that … she’s not going to be a friend of mine any time in the near future, or ever maybe. But I can also be mature enough to be like, "I accept you for you who are."
AE: What did you think when Vanessa got into that huge hair-pulling fight with Brandi?
DC: When it happened, I was just shocked. I’m breaking it up because I don’t want to see anybody fight, let alone two people that I know. It’s not fun. So it was crazy. We just tried to break it up as quick as we could, and um, wow. It was just really dramatic.
AE: [laughs] Very dramatic, yeah.