One of our TV addictions this summer has been E!’s Famously Single, which puts eight celebrities to live together in a house and figure out why they may be very good at dating (and hooking up) but not so good at relationships.
Besides high-profile cast members like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Brandi Granville and Jersey Shore’s Pauly D, we’re, of course, drawn to Los Angeles native Somaya Reece (Love and Hip Hop: New York) a woman who had dated men and women in the past but clearly has a preference since, in her words, “I have always been attracted to women. I’ve always felt safe with a woman.”
Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage
So far on the show, Somaya has been on a date with a woman and in previews, she is kissing another female cast member, model Jessica White, in a hot tub. Out bisexual singer Aubrey O’Day is also on the show, and the series’ relationship counselor is an out lesbian: Dr. Darcy Sterling.
While the uber-feminine Somaya was single at the time of shooting the reality series on E!, she’s now getting serious with sexy rapper Lady Luck (aka Shanell Jones) and may be off the market sooner than you think.
AfterEllen sat down with Somaya in West Hollywood to get real about being a part of Famously Single and what she learned from the experience, how she’s dealt with her Mom finding out about her sexuality via Google and who was more of the aggressor when she and Lady Luck finally got together.
AfterEllen: We’ve seen you on other reality shows, so why do Famously Single?
Somaya Reece: All the therapy shows I’ve seen on TV are just too heavy and I didn’t know if I was ready to deal with my own demons and my own things and what I go through. So I asked, ‘is this going to be one of those things where I’m going to have to get ax and beat the hell out of my car and say it’s my Dad’s fault?’
So when the producers were like “No, we want to make this more of a lighthearted version of that and more about discussing the single life.” I was single at the time and it made sense. I could also discuss some of my childhood traumas and things that I have been speaking very vocal about for many years as my help for society and other men and women who suffer domestic abuse and other things I discuss on the show.
AE: What did you learn from being on the show about being single?
SR: My story is different. I don’t have a problem being single. I choose better individuals to date now because I had one terrible experience and I said I’m not going to date a bad person or a bad boy ever again…I decided to be single for as long as I could. It was just my thing.
People think and it all stems from our childhood what we learn in school and our parents. You have to get married and something’s wrong with you if you’re not and you have to have kids by the time you’re 30. There’s a whole pressure and you can’t blame people for feeling that way and for becoming serial daters because of that. I was told the opposite. My Mom and Dad said “Do not get married until you’re ready!” A lot of people have been programmed to believe if you’re not in a relationship there’s something wrong with you.
AE: How do you see differences between dating men and dating women?
SR: Girl power! My first experiences were with women. I’ve known that I’ve always been attracted to women more than men. After my first experience that was really negative with that one boyfriend [Somaya talks in the show about the abuse she endured], that didn’t determine that I would not date men again. It only determined that I just needed to be more aware of the type of man I date. It made me go through this whole thing where I’ve never felt safe with a man. I’ve never had a full blown, like, “You’re blowing my mind” moment with a man.
I have always been attracted to women. I’ve always felt safe with a woman. I feel 100% connected with a woman because she knows what I’m dealing with and I know what she’s dealing with but just because you’re dating the same sex doesn’t make it all the same. There’s a huge difference but in the end, this is where my preference has been and it’s been difficult for me to talk about due to my family.
AE: Are you out to your family?
SR: My mother knows because she’s learned how to Google. [laughs] She learned by Google and the commercial for this show. My mother knows but she’s been in denial but I need to live my life. I’m living my truth and I’m not afraid. Where we’re at now with reality shows now it seems like everyone is gay for pay and a gimmick. It’s an exploitation of our community, which is why there’s certain misconceptions and perceptions of LGBTQ and it’s false.
I hope to be one of the voices as well with my girlfriend, where we can break that because in reality shows, it just seems to have become a joke or a gimmick. This is my truth and this is what I live and I’m not going to be a spectacle. I would like to definitely touch topics on that.
AE: Mom knows but what about Dad?
SR: I don’t know how to deal with it with my Dad because he’s become a little bit of a religious person. He doesn’t know how to Google so he won’t find this but my Mom will. [laughs]
AE: You and Lady Lucky are so cute together. Have you always been attracted to butch women?
SR: Actually, I have always been attracted to tomboy femmes. I also love very feminine women because I’m very feminine. I don’t think I’ve ever really had a type but I’ve never dated a real butch girl, ever. Even my girlfriend, who is a tomboy, is very feminine. She has short hair now but she’s got the long weave and will do a little lip gloss. I’m also tomboy but I’m also very feminine. A lot of my friends that are butch, I’ve never really gone there but I respect it. They’re beautiful.
Somaya with Lady LuckPhoto by Maury Phillips/Getty Images
AE: How long have you been together?
SR: We’ve been friends together for seven years. Looking at her, you’d think that she was the aggressor but I am. I get what I want when I want it and I will tell you I like you and that’s how we came about. I flirted with her for many years and nothing ever happened but one tequila-infused night at a strip club of all places, I kissed her. We’ve been official since December and we’re really happy and she says this is the last stop. I’m very happy with her and we’ve been talking about kids and maybe taking the next step. She treats me like a queen.
Famously Single airs Tuesdays at 10pm on E! For more on Somaya Reece, visit her website.