On A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
, no one became a bigger fan favorite than Dani
. The butch lesbian fire fighter from Florida, Dani's warmth, kindness, and compassion came through on what was theoretically a tawdry, sex-filled television series. Though she didn't walk away with the shot at love, Dani left the show with dignity, grace, and a whole slew of fans.
BuddyTV spoke to Dani about how her life has changed dramatically since being on the show, her reaction to the hordes of straight female fans who say they'd go gay for her, and what Dani's good friend and fellow contestant Domenico
is really like. Continue reading for the full transcript, as well as the audio file of the interview.
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Hi, this is John from BuddyTV, and I'm talking to Dani from A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Hi Dani, how are you doing?
Hi everybody. I'm good, thank you. A little sick.
I'd like to start at the beginning. Why did you initially agree or decide you wanted to be on this show?
I just did it on a whim. I was at a bar and they were holding the auditions, and I just did an audition. I didn't really expect to get a call back you know, it's MTV, it's huge, and what was the chance that I was going to get called back and picked? But I did.
Since you've been on the show, it's been a pretty successful show, and I'm certain you must get a lot of reaction from all the fans. What kind of reactions have you gotten from them?
I've gotten a lot, just different ones. Like "Hey Dani, I'm straight and married, but I love you and I'd go gay for you." So many people are like "I'll go gay for you," and I didn't know you could just turn it on like that, but I guess it's the environment you're put in and I don't know. I've changed a few minds. Then I have people looking up to me as a role model, which I never saw coming just for being myself. They just want to know how I portray such a positive attitude. It's overwhelming, the amount of fans that I have. It's great, and I wish I could answer everybody back when they e-mail me, but I just don't have the time.
You mentioned straight women and lesbians, but is there a difference between how men and women have responded or reacted?
Well, I've had a lot of straight guy fans that are just like "Man, you're really cool, I give you props, good job," and all that stuff. I've actually had a few straight guys tell me "I wish you were straight, you're gorgeous," and I kind of think they may have gay tendencies. Then the gay guys that love me just...you know, most of my fans just appreciate me for my honesty and just for being positive throughout the whole thing, not talking crap about anybody and all that stuff. That's the majority of everybody's feelings towards it. Then there's men that are like "Oh, you're gorgeous, I'd go straight for you," but I know it's because I look like a little 12-year-old boy sometimes.
That says quite a lot about the male fans that you have I guess.
Yeah, it's fun though. I'm glad that I can work my way into everybody's lives and into their heads, just make them laugh and smile and cry, and all the stuff they've been doing throughout the show.
What have you been up to since the finale? How has your life changed, and have you tried to get back to normal, back to doing your job?
It's definitely not normal anymore. Everywhere I go I'm recognized, and it feels good when I can see the look of shock on people when they see me. Some people are just so excited to see me, and it's great to just be able to finally shake people's hand and say "Thank you for watching. Thank you for cheering me on." But everywhere I go now I'm recognized, so it's definitely not the life I had before the TV show. What I'm doing now, I still work, I'm still firefighting, and I spend a lot of time on the computer trying to answer e-mails. It's tiring. I'm a little stressed out, my immune system is down, I'm getting sick all the time, so I'm trying to adjust to the new "rock star" lifestyle if you will. But it's so great at the same time. I just love hearing from people and shaking people's hands and hugging them.
What's been the reaction from your friends, your family, and your co-workers? How have they responded? At the beginning you were a little worried that your firefighter buddies were going to make fun of you for being on this show.
No, I didn't think they were going to make fun of me, I just thought that for wearing my firefighter outfit they were just going to give me a lot of shit for it. They didn't though. It was seen, and it didn't even haunt me. Let's see, my family, they were really happy for me. They were like "You know, you did such a great job, you just acted yourself," and they're just very proud of me. They always are, they're very supportive. My friends are real excited, they were always excited to watch it and see the next show and the next show. Now that it's over they're just congratulating me, and they're like "Good job, you can do better." Just a lot of consoling from fans and friends and family, but I'm good now. I'm just ready to move on and look for my shot at love with somebody else.
When Tila visited your family, obviously your grandmother became quite a bit of a minor celebrity on the show. Does she get recognized as well now?
Yeah, she does. Unfortunately, recently she was moved in to a nursing home. Her health is fading and deteriorating a bit from bone cancer. So I went to the nursing home, and the first time I went in everybody recognized me, and they were like "Why are you here?" So I was like "My granny's here, Grandma Pat, the one that got the lapdance," and then she became a celebrity at the nursing home. She's been getting tons and tons of fanmail just wishing her well through this hard time, which is so awesome. She cries, she laughs at the letters, people send her flowers and stuff, but it definitely lifts her spirits and it's making her feel better. I'm so pleased for that, and I want to thank everybody for their cards and stuff.
Getting back to the show, if Tila wasn't in the picture could you see yourself making a love connection with any of the other girls in the house?
No, no. Not that I didn't like them, but I definitely didn't think we had anything in common as far as building a relationship or a life together with somebody that was there. They just weren't my type I guess. I don't know what my type is, but I know it wasn't there.
You certainly struck up a bit of a friendship with Domenico, who is another fan favorite. Now he has his own spin-off coming out, That's Amore! What are your thoughts on that, and how do you think people are going to react to that?
I think it's going to be a great hit. He's hilarious, and he's just a really great guy. He has a sensitive side to him, which is great. I think that show's going to be a real success, and I wish him all the luck with it. We still talk now, and he'll be a friend throughout my life hopefully.
A lot of people at home have just seen how he was portrayed on TV. Is that at all like how he really is, or was that just exaggerated for the show?
No, I've only gotten the chance to hang out with him once since the show, because we weren't allowed to see each other due to the confidentiality reasons. But he is just as crazy, it's awesome. It's a constant smile and a gag when you're with him, and at the same time he's still a cool cat and he has this realness to him. It's just very sincere, and I like that about him.
Is there anyone else, any other contestants from the show that you can see maintaining a long term friendship with possibly?
Yeah, definitely. I mean [blank] was great on there, but there was definitely people that I bonded more strongly with. Definitely Bobby, we were there to the end together, and he acts just like a girl so we were easily connected. Sara, Brandi, there's a couple of girls. Amanda, even though she talked trash about me I still love her. I liked everybody there, but those are probably the few I'll keep in touch with.
I'm certain that they had to have talked to you about this, but have you ever considered doing your own dating show where you're the star and all these women are clamoring after you?
That's a hard position to be in. I saw what Tila went through, and just to have all these people like going crazy over me, I would feel a little awkward. Yeah, it would be a great opportunity to try and meet somebody, but I don't know if I could handle something like that. I would definitely probably try it, because I don't usually pass up opportunities to do something different and crazy. We'll just have to see how successful that could be. It's difficult to do it in a TV setting.
Finally, I guess I just have one more question. In the finale you gave Tila your phone number, and has she used that since, has she called you up?
No, she hasn't. We weren't allowed to call anybody, we weren't allowed to talk to each other due to contracts, so I don't know what the deal is now. She hasn't called me. She picked Bobby, why is she going to call me?
Well, thank you very much. We still have the reunion show coming up on Sunday, and I'm certain a lot of fans are looking forward to seeing you one last time, or hopefully just one more time, and we'll see plenty of you in the future.
Yes, I hope so. Thank you so much.
Thank you Dani.
Thank you to all the fans out there too. I love everybody.
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of MTV)