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TV Interview

'Candy Bar Girls' interview: 'Lesbians will hate us more than anyone'

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Candy Bar
If you haven't seen the cheeky TV adverts or eye-catching billboards already then here's the lowdown on Candy Bar Girls. It's Channel 5's new fly-on-the-wall series based around the goings-on at Soho's famous lesbian bar. We caught up with the stars of the show - Big Brother's Shabby and her girlfriend Red, internet marketer Jo, bar worker Sheauntelle, dancer Dannii and DJ Lil' Jo - and got all the gossip.

On what they were expecting from the show...
Sheauntelle: "I was expecting it to be really gritty and seedy and nobody was going to watch it and that it would like The Real L Word in America, and I couldn't see it going anywhere."
Danni: "I heard it was a documentary about lesbians and I'd just left university so I thought, 'That sounds like an interesting project'..."
Shabby: "...A sociological experiment."
Jo: "I think from my point of view, lesbian representation on the telly has been very sexualised and I was hoping this show may bring something new to the table."

On whether lesbians are badly represented on TV...
Jo: "I think we've moved on, but I do spend a large amount of my time with people that I know outside of London, explaining that if I want to be their mate, that doesn't mean I want to sleep with them. From my perspective, it's a positive challenge and an education. I did this show because I thought being lesbian was incidental to everything we do. I deliberately didn't want to do more sexualised stuff because we have so much of that and we have such a bad rep because of things like The Real L Word."

Candy Bar
Thoughts on Shabby's Big Brother past...
Sheauntelle: "I remember my mum told me that there was a lesbian in Big Brother really excitedly and I said, 'Just because there's a lesbian doesn't mean that I will start watching', but she loved you and kept voting."
Shabby: "The embarrassing thing is that they've used the entirety of my Big Brother entrance on the show and that was probably the cringiest moment of my entire life."
DJ Lil' Jo: "I'm excited for people to see what a good person you are. The media have totally misrepresented you and you a great friend. I came off Shipwrecked and got a lot of abuse as well."
Shabby: "We can show people that we're not like the shows represented us to be.... a lot of lesbians hate my guts, but straight girls love me."

On how often they actually go to the Candy Bar...
Shabby: "We were there last night."
Sheauntelle: "I work there."
Jo: "I used to go a lot when I was 17, but that was a long time ago."
Sheauntelle: "We're still the only lesbian bar where if a man wants to come in, he has to be with three girls and I think it's still quite a big thing."
Danni: "It's still iconic".
Sheauntelle: "The show shows how Gary has really rejuvenated the bar. A lot of people were worried when Gary took it over because he owns two boys' bars, so they were worried he may turn it into a similar gay club."
Shabby: "I didn't have a good time there last night. That might have been because I was s**tfaced.... I was thrown out of the Candy Bar recently. I threw a chair down the stairs. I was just f**king s**t faced. That manager chick kicked me out."

On Candy Bar owner Gary Henshaw...
Danni: "I love Gary and it's really cute because he had to do all this research and was like, 'What do lesbians like?'"
Sheauntelle: "He literally walks into Candy Bar and is like, 'I haven't seen this many lesbians in my life!'"
Danni: "He's very friendly. He makes you feel very comfortable."

Watch a preview of Candy Bar Girls:



On Shabby & Red's romance...
Shabby: "I found it very uncomfortable watching it. They genuinely show our first date. And then they show one of our earliest follow-up dates, where we kind of have an argument and stuff. It was really tough falling in love in front of the cameras."
Red: "We were friends beforehand, so it was all really weird. But we barely argue at all now, do we babe?"
Shabby: "Never!"
Red: "Especially not last night".

Candy Bar girls
On criticism from the lesbian community...
Everyone: "There has been loads."
Shabby: "Lesbians will hate us more than anyone."
Sheauntelle: "It's been said that they are jealous and I think that might be a little bit true. I don't understand why anyone in the lesbian community could feel under represented on this show."
Shabby: "On forums and blogs, they are saying we are not a good representation."
Sheauntelle: "We may be missing a big Diesel Dyke, but they are so over-represented in the lesbian world."
Shabby: "You can't win... 'Oh we want to you show loads of different types of lesbian. Oh you're not showing the lesbians that look like lesbians'. I don't get it"
Jo: "I think there could have been a bigger range of ethnic groups and maybe a wider age range."

On what their parents think about the show...
DJ Lil' Jo: "My mum's in it. I think there's an episode where a lot of us go back to see our families."
Shabby: "I got a text from my mum the other day saying, 'I've just had a shock seeing you on an advert'. I said, 'It might be the time for you to stop watching Channel 5!' But her response was, 'I can't do that, I really like The Restaurant Inspector."
Shabby: "We love the The Restaurant Inspector and we love Cowboy Builders."

Candy Bar Girls airs on Thursdays at 10pm on Channel 5.

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