Tila Tequila says attention is “like a drug”; producer says “pure documentary … wouldn’t draw viewers”

Two profiles of people best known for their work with reality TV appeared in newspapers recently: one is about a producer working in the Midwest, while the other is about an attention-seeking reality star who wants attention except when she doesn’t.

The Kansas City Star’s Aaron Barnhart profiles Herizon Productions’ Sharon Liese, the executive producer behind High School Confidential, the documentary series that followed high school girls for four years. The story explains how she produces series despite being a small production company in Kansas, and also goes into some of the way she constructs her series. “I see documentary and reality on a continuum. I know I don’t want to do it on the high end of reality. I know I wouldn’t be good at it. I’d like to do everything as pure documentary, but I know that wouldn’t draw viewers,” she said.

Liese is currently working new series that include Flyover Fashion, which follows fashion boutique owners trying to create “cornfield couture,” Hookers for Jesus, “which follows the life of Annie Lobert, a former prostitute who now proselytizes to sex workers on the Las Vegas Strip and tries to get them out of the trade.”

The Los Angeles Times profiles Tila Tequila, who has been creating drama and getting attention while insisting that she wants to be left alone. Tila is also dealing with the death of her fiance Casey Johnson, who Tila dated for a month until Casey’s death in January. A Shot of Love executive producer Sally Ann Salsano told the paper, “If I had a crystal ball, this isn’t what I would have seen for her. I actually think she’s just on a desperate hunt for love. That was really all she ever wanted.”

Tila tells the paper, “Sometimes when I’m alone, about to go to sleep, that’s when I feel too comfortable and I say things that are too personal. I feel safe and it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s early, nobody is listening.’ I talked to my therapist about that. She said sometimes when you feel like the world is too much, you go to the Internet, you have a meltdown, you go online and you talk and you feel like you’re entertaining everyone and you get a temporary high, right? Like a drug. And she said when I’m done, the high comes down and I get this huge backlash from the media — like, ‘Oh, my God, what are you doing?'”

From Kansas, Sharon Liese makes TV shows for America [Kansas City Star]
The reality of Tila Tequila’s situation [Los Angeles Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.