Interview with Samantha “Sam” McGinn of “The Real World: San Diego”

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Season 26 of The Real World is upon us. Yes, there are as many seasons of The Real World as there are letters in the alphabet and number of miles in a marathon. This season, MTV is turning its cameras towards San Diego yet again, and one of the cast members, Samantha “Sam” McGinn, is an out lesbian, and she chats with us about coming out, her experiences as a lesbian on the butch side of the spectrum, and hooking up with girls on the show.

AfterEllen.com: Why did you want to be on The Real World?
Sam McGinn:
I wanted to be on The Real World for adventure, meeting people, just doing things I wouldn’t normally do.

AE: What was your best experience being on the show?
SM:
You get to find out who you really are on the show, meaning you find out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. You find your good qualities and your flaws.

AE: What flaws were revealed while you were on the show?
SM:
I’ve learned that my patience is not as high as I wanted it to be. I’m messy, a lot messier than I thought I was.

AE: And what about the good qualities that came out on the show?
SM:
I learned about being less selfish towards myself and being more open to other people in general. With six other roommates in the house, it’s kind of hard for it to be all about you all the time.

AE: When did you realize you were gay? When was the "ding" moment, or were you someone who was fantasizing about Olivia Wilde in the womb and knew all along?
SM:
I came out my senior year in high school in 2007, but I kind of figured out I was gay back in eighth grade. I had a crush on my best friend, but at that point I didn’t know what it was. I just cared about her a lot. That’s what I thought it was. My senior year I got my first girlfriend, and things just started happening. I realized, yes, this is me, and this is how I’m going to be regardless of whether other people talk.

AE: Your MTV bio references that you were involved in a love triangle during senior year of high school that ended in two girls getting outed. What happened?

SM:
Yeah, I dated one girl during the summer into the first semester, and then I ended up dating her best friend.

AE: Ruh roh!
SM:
It turned into a really painful, weird love triangle. And both of them were just … . Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

AE: Are you still friends with either of them?
SM:
Yeah, actually.

AE: Of course!

SM: I talk to both of them now! We worked out our differences. Back then, they were around 14, 15, 16 years old. I was 17 or 18. When you’re that young you can only deal with so much. But I talk to them on a daily basis now.

AE: When did you come out to your parents?
SM:
I kind of didn’t come out, I sort of got kicked out of the closet. My mom caught me at my girlfriend’s house at 5 o’clock in the morning, so I kind of had to tell her.

AE: What was her reaction. How did she take it?
SM:
She hated it, absolutely hated it. She didn’t believe it; she said it was just a stage. “You’ll grow out of it,” she said. Of course I still tried to be the “straight” daughter, and still tried to hang out with men, but there was just nothing there. There was no attraction. There was nothing between me and men — girls just did it for me. When I cut my hair all off, that was the point when my mom realized I was not [straight]. We had to go to therapy, and go through a lot of things, and now she’s a good friend of mine, and I can talk to her about everything.

AE: Oh great! So she’s okay with it now. I was wondering if your mom coming to terms with your sexuality would be explored on the show.
SM:
Yes and no. She’s going to see a lot — a different side of me on the show. Going out there and hooking up with girls in front of my mother is kind of awkward, but, you know, she’s going to see that. I told her that. She loves me for who I am, not for who I like.

AE:Your MTV profile says that you describe yourself as a “stud lesbian.” In your opinion, are studs the same as butches, a subset of butches? In your own words, what does that mean?
SM:
I get called transgender a lot, because of the way I do my hair, and I have a masculine face, a masculine body build, but I’m not. I’m a female that dresses like a guy, has shorter hair and portrays herself as “manly,” not transgender. I’ve got broader shoulders for a girl, I’ve got the deeper voice, I’ve got the short hair, the jaw line — it’s kind of just how I was born.

AE: Do any of the cast members on the show have an issue with your sexuality?
SM:
Everyone in the house was obviously brought up in different backgrounds, so growing up, everyone is not going to be around the same things, so of course there’s going to be discrepancies in reactions when I bring a girl home or whatever. There are issues, yes. Everyone is going to have their own opinions.

AE: There hasn’t been much butch representation on television or the media, and do you think you have been treated differently on the show than, say, if you were a femme lesbian?
SM:
Being on the butch side, I do get conflict, even in public where I live. I’m not blessed in the breast department. I have small breasts, and they don’t show in t-shirts that I wear. I get called a guy all the time. I’ll be at a restaurant and get, "Thank you, sir." It doesn’t bother me, just because they don’t know, but when it gets to the point where they know I’m a lesbian and they know my name is Samantha, "Sam" for short, and they know I’m a girl, and they’re just doing it to be facetious, that’s when it gets to me.

AE: Your MTV profile claims that you are a girlfriend stealer. Did you steal anyone’s girlfriend, either cast members’ boos or anyone else’s boos on the show?
SM:
[laughs] No! … Not necessarily on the show. At home, that’s my name. [laughs]

AE: Did you make out with anyone in the cast?
SM:
Yes. You will see that later!

AE: Was she or they any good?
SM:
I can’t tell you that! [laughs]

AE: In terms of the type of girl you would go for, what celebrity most exemplifies your type?
SM:
My celebrity dream girl?

AE: Yup!
SM:
Well my blonde would be Hayden Panettiere, and my brunette would be Mila Kunis.

AE: Which cast member is the “Puck” of this season, the one who causes all the trouble and drama? Hopefully it isn’t you. Or hopefully it is!
SM:
I can’t really pinpoint anybody. We’ve all got our little quirks in the way we do things, and how we do them.

AE: So what should viewers look forward to the most on this season of The Real World?
SM:
It’s definitely going to be a different season. That is for sure. There’s going to be a broader spectrum in terms of bringing so many different types of people together.

The Real World: San Diego premieres on MTV Wednesday, September 28. Follow Sam on Twitter at samRW26. Check back for our recaps of the show starting this Thursday.

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