Tila Nguyen -- aka Tila Tequila, who now prefers to go by the moniker Miss Tila -- just might be the world's most famous bisexual. Or at least the world's most infamous.
The model, actress, Internet sensation, and aspiring U.S. ambassador to Vietnam (no, really) found fame in 2007 with her MTV reality show A Shot at Love (a sequel, A Shot at Love 2 aired soon after) which featured a gaggle of attention-starved men and women vying for Tila's affection. The show firmly lodged itself, and Tila, into the popular culture landscape and she's refused to leave the spotlight ever since. She just released a new single, "I Fucked the DJ," is readying her own celebrity gossip site, TilaTequilaOMG.com, and spent the last week tearing up New York City on a press tour that found her canoodling with Howard Stern, Entertainment Weekly, and us.
We caught up with Tila to chat about her first same-sex experience, being a role model for the queer community, and why haters better watch their backs.
Out: It seems like everyone is coming out with a single these days. What differentiates you from everyone else out there?
Miss Tila (Tequlia): Whats different about my music is that its very unique -- when you hear it you can tell, right away, "Oh, thats Tilas voice, because I have a very distinct voice, a very distinct style, very distinct lyrics. It's very colorful. My music is very colorful! And very fun -- its not too serious.
There's been a lot of controversy about your sexuality. How would you describe it?
I really hate it when people ask me, "Do you prefer guys or girls?" I ask them, "Are you bisexual?" and theyre like, "No." I say, "OK, then you wouldnt understand. Thats a really shallow, dumb question. Dont ask me that." Theyre like, "Shouldnt you pick one, then?" Im like, "Um, no, because I just happen to love whomever I love." At one point I was engaged to a woman, and I was going to marry her for the rest of my life, so, I came out, because I was just going to be with a woman for the rest of my life. But unfortunately, certain things happened. Love is love and Im still here looking for it.
When was first time that you realized you liked women?
When I was about 8 years old -- I didnt know what sexuality was, because I was 8 -- but I would play hide and go seek with this girl friend of mine and we would always go in the same closet while all our other friends were playing. Wed go in the closet and touch each other. I didnt understand that that was sex, or something sexual. Wed always hang out and we were like girlfriends when I was 8. But then, one day, I asked her, "Hey, when you watch TV and we see people kiss or whatever, do you feel something strange down there?" I didnt know what it meant. And shes like, "Yeah." And then we just started hanging out more and I had no idea what it was, though. But at 11 years old, thats when I really noticed. Im like, "Why am I different?" because I would be in the gym locker room and all these cheerleaders were changing and I had my size 30 jeans on and I was like, "Why am I so different than them?" They were all hanging out together and talking about shaving and stuff and I was like, "I dont know how to fit in. But I really feel weird." There was this one girl that I felt something for and I didnt understand, at the time, what it meant. So, you hear about my life story growing up as a tomboy -- blah blah blah. It was because I didn't understand that I was into females.
Some people, especially when A Shot st Love came out, said that your bisexuality was just a hoax, and that you were doing it for attention. How do you respond to those kind of accusations?
You cant hoax this -- unless I could win an Academy Award for my fantastic acting on A Shot At Love, which people criticized for saying that it was fake and Im a fake bisexual. We shot it for a very long time. Id lived in that house with these people. These were real feelings -- those were not actors and Im not acting. And that was my first show, thats my big breakout moment, so, when people say that -- those are the people who are stereotypical or theyre not bisexual. These are the people who are straight, who dont understand what it means to bisexual.
Do you consider yourself a role model for the queer community?
Thats a very controversial subject -- for me to say that Im a role model for the gay and lesbian community. I dont care what anyone says, they always talk shit about me. Whatever. You know what? I was the first one to put out a TV show about bisexuality and a lot of people came out to me at the time and said, "Your show really helped me come out." And then, right after season 2, Katy Perry made "I Kissed a Girl" and then everybody was kissing girls and then Ellen [DeGeneres] came out [Ed note: Ellen DeGeneres actually came out of the closet in 1997] and everybody started coming out, slowly. It became a topic of conversation. So I definitely think that it allowed people to talk about it and pay attention to it and not turn a blind eye to whats out there. So, you dont have to like me but I did it first.
You also have a reputation for being a very sexual person. How big of a part of your life is sex?
If I didnt have to work I would have sex -- I actually had to go to my therapist and say, "Hey, I have a sex addiction." I don't mean being promiscuous. I said, "Is this a problem? I dont understand." Its not like I go out there and I sleep with everybody but it just like, takes over me. And she says I have a very addictive personality because I have an addiction to the Internet and I would masturbate, literally, for nine hours and it would just ruin my day -- Im not satisfied. And I dont understand whats wrong. And she would say, "Its another addiction. Try to focus that on something positive like working out." Im like, Hmm. Ill stick to masturbating.
Which is a kind of workout in and of itself.
[Laughs] It is a workout! Thats how I keep in shape.
When people learned that we were going to be interviewing you, I got some e-mails and some tweets that said something along the lines of "I will never buy another copy of Out magazine ever again." What is it about you that gets people so riled up?
Im very aggressive, Im very vocal, Im very intelligent, and they dont like women who are sexy and very intelligent and feisty, with an "I dont give a fuck" attitude. They like girls who are pretty, dumb -- just tits and ass. [It's like] "Just shut up and let us jerk off to you and act like a bimbo." Some girls out there -- Im not going to say who, but we all know theres a couple of girls out there who are doing reality shows that dont have a voice, they dont stand for anything. Like, what are you doing? So I think a lot of people either really love me for that, because they write me and say, "Youve helped me accept myself for who I am and [taught me] not to care what anyone else thinks." But then other people would be -- and it's not just with [Out magazine] - but once I post up anything, they would immediately call and bombard every single company or whomever Im working with "Im never going to watch your show again" or "Im never going to blah blah blah." Why are you wasting your time? Do something positive. If you dont like me, why are you stalking me? If I dont like somebody, Im not sitting here watching every single show theyre on and then waiting and listening to a [radio] show and then calling in to stalk them. So I think theres a thin line between love and hate. When you hate somebody with that much passion, its more like youre obsessed with them.
You have some of really intense, crazy, ravenous fans. What is your relationship like with them?
I think I attract the type of fans [that are similar to] the type of person I am. People are always like, "Tila fans are crazy! Theyre obsessed. Blah blah blah." But Im very close to my fans. Ill call them and Ill chat with them and Ill be real with them and its not for show. Ill call them from my cell phone and Ill just do it on my own. Or Ill be on Twitter and be like, "Hey, Im going to call somebody. Lets play a game." And Ill call them and theres no press there. Its not for any press or publicity. Its just I like to keep in touch with people and Im very relatable and I think that means a lot to them. I did an interview yesterday and they had fans calling in and then someone was like, "Oh, blah blah blah from Twitter" and I was like, "Oh, thats Mitchell!" And they just feel like "Wow! No other celebrity would ever remember their fans names and she does" -- and I do. I read all of my fan mail, I respond to them all myself and if I see your face often, I recognize you.
You're getting ready to launch your own gossip site, TilaTequilaOMG.com. What's the story with that?
TilaTequilaOMG.com is going to be the best celebrity gossip website in the universe -- infinity and beyond. It is going to take -- what I call him -- "Piggy" Perez [Hilton] down and out of business. A lot of think its just me sitting there like, "Hmm, maybe Im going to talk crap about this and that person today." But its actually real celebrity news as it comes in. We have exclusive material. I have partnered up with some exclusive people and we have paparazzi for us exclusively and its pretty much real news about celebrities that is coming from my point of view. Ill deliver you the news but from what I think and then its very reader-friendly and I do celebrity interviews as well and theres something called "Tequila Shots" which is -- Ive been in Hollywood for about 10 years now so I do know a lot about dirty celebrity secrets. And for my friends, Im not going to put them on blast, but theres quite a few people whove treated me wrong and Im definitely going to put them all on blast. So, theyd better be sorry.
I interviewed Jeffree Star a few months ago and he said he wanted to "pop your breast implants." And I know that you feud with Perez and a bunch of other people, too. Are those feuds for publicity's sake? Or does that battling have a personal component to it as well?
A lot of people try to have feuds with me because they dont really loud-mouth about it and Ill attack back. But for the people that, to me, are nobodies -- they really want to just talk crap about me. I dont even know them and theyre just waiting for me to blog about it. I blogged about Rihanna because she was on the radio and she started talking crap about me. I was like, "OK. You want to say something about me? Well, let me tell the world something about you, honey -- something that I know, that's the truth." So, it was everywhere. And thats also how I began to think Wow. This is my calling. Im really vocal. I dont care what anybody says about me. I will deliver real news to you. This blogger wrote me and she said, "Girl, youre going to get sued." I was like, "No, Im not, because in order to get sued you have to prove that what I said was false and in order to do that youre going to have to --" A month later I wrote her and Im like, "Hey, no lawsuit. I was right." So, as far as feuds go -- dont mess with me. Really, really dont mess with me. A lot of people have preconceived judgments of who I am with Hollywood. They like to put me in that group of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan. I am not like that. Not like its bad -- whatever. Yes it is. [Laughs.] In my mind I feel like Im still just that same girl from Texas that just happens to be in the entertainment industry. I really dont care. I have a very very feisty personality. Just dont mess with me, man. Dont mess with me and you wont have any problems.
What do you still want to accomplish?
Well after all this -- thats why Im doing the gossip blog, I have a record label, music -- I built all that for a reason, not just for me to be a mogul and for me to be famous. Once it gets rolling and I'm just the boss and I have people working for me and my company grows bigger -- then I can have a family. I was heading that route, but unfortunate situations happen. I would like to have a family next -- my own.
Miss Tila's new single, "I Fucked the DJ," is now available on iTunes. For more info, visit her MySpace page.