Oakland Finally Gets a Badass Rep on TV
Three episodes into The Real World San Francisco: Ex-Plosion, and my love/hate relationship with that household is forming a rock hard foundation (as you might be able to tell from my weekly recaps). But despite how much I despise reality TV and naked hot tubbing, there’s one thing about the Real World that I love: the bold, beautiful, blesbian filmmaker Arielle Fitz. We met up on a recent Sunday in the Mission so I could learn a little more about the baddest bitch in the house. -Jules Suzdaltsev
What were you doing before the show?
I was about to move to Berlin. I’ve never been, but I’m that kind of girl. I’m just like, Hey I’ll book a ticket, fuck it, I’m gonna live there. Before that I was working the whole tech San Francisco thing, and I quit everything; my girlfriend, my apartment, my job, and I moved back to Oakland, putting all that money into going to Berlin. Around that time, just for shits and giggles, I sent in my photo and bio for Real World. I was like, it’d be ridiculous if I got on the show, right?
You guys talk to your exes a lot on The Real World – you must have known they were coming on the show, right?
HELL NO! No we didn’t! In fact, all of us were trying to forget those people, and when you watch it, it looks like we spent so much time talking to them, but we really didn’t! I am probably the most reality TV virgin in the house when it comes to this stuff. I never watched reality TV, I was just thinking, so that’s how it’s all done.
By day two or three, 4/7ths of the house had hooked up.
Yeah, I was definitely in the background … pushing all of it as much as possible. It was just so funny, although I did feel a little bad. When we were all hanging out, and Tom just said, “You were BY FAR the most attractive person in the house,” I was just thinking, Tom, Jamie’s right there! Why must you do these things?
What are your food obsessions these days?
My favorite kind of food right now is Ethiopian. I used to date this Ethiopian girl, and she taught me the ways. You have to go with friends, you get some honey wine, and you get your injera, which is like this lemony spongy bread you eat everything with, and then you eat your food with your hands and you feed each other. The best Ethiopian spots are in North Oakland.
I’m warming to Oakland, but I’m not feeling this Oakland bandwagon as long as I have rent control.
Part of me just wants to keep Oakland what it is.There's a mass exodus of San Franciscans moving into Oakland, and I’m like, No! Stay in SF! Because there’s a lot of culture, there’s a cool neighborhood-y thing going on that allows me to be creative. Suddenly all the cafes I like to go to are bloated and played, which sucks.
What’s your story?
I went to Cal, then went abroad to Brazil. Started my first company helping other Cal students get internships at startups, and didn’t make ANY money, so I tried it again with this company called GenJuice, and I sold it at 22, and then I ended up working for a few startups here. But I hated my life. I had a mini-quarter-life crisis last year, where [my ex] Ashley and I were like living together. We got to home sit a baby pug and I realized, I am so not ready for parenthood. You gotta clean up and feed them, you can’t just go out and drink and have nasty sex in a public restroom … sigh.
[Sarcastically] So are you the gay ambassador for San Francisco now?
I can’t speak for all things lezzie. There’s a moment on the show where I’m like I’m nobody’s fucking representative and I like go crazy, and there’s all this talk about me being gay, black, a woman, San Francisco local. Before the cast list aired, a lot of people though they knew who I was, which was at first a guy, then they thought I was trans ... and I just got so worked up about it.
What’s the story behind your first short movie, The Anniversary?
It was actually me and my ex. I wanted to really learn more about cinematography because I’d never actually held a camera and shot my own stuff, so when she and I were broken up, we went on a little trip to Santa Cruz with each other, and we’re like, Hey, while we’re trying to figure out if we want to be with each other, in between sleeping and screaming, let’s shoot some stuff. I put together a story about a girl that was texting her girlfriend a love letter … and that’s all I will tell you about it. Just know, anything I ever shoot is going to be creepy or nasty or gross.