Chatting It Up with MTV’s ‘Downtown Girl’ Shallon Lester

I have a confession to make.  I think I have committed a sin of grand proportions.  Or perhaps a crime against womanhood itself.  I have never seen either Sex and City movie nor have I watched the television show. *wipes sweaty brow* So glad I got that one off my chest.

So, I wasn’t into Sex and City. Shoot me. (Please don’t. Only kidding. I have a low threshold for pain).  But I do like the concept of urban living friends, sassy and smart, who are trying to figure it out and do so with a good dose of humor.

MTV features such a girl crew in the new reality series, Downtown Girls (Tuesdays, 11 p.m. Eastern/Pacific).

Instead of Carrie Bradshaw, we have Shallon Lester, a relationship blogger for Glamour.com. Other members of the girl group include Gurj, “a brassy, strong-willed London rocker, [who] works in digital media for Atlantic Records” and has a steady beau;  Nikki, one of Shallon’s two roomies who “is on the hunt to find her Prince Charming…and owns a [struggling] high-end boutique called Nikki Laura”; Victoria, Shallon’s other roommate, “an aspiring attorney” and “queen of the first date”; and Shallon’s “best friend and a bride-to-be, Klo, a newly reformed party girl in the midst of planning her wedding to the man of her dreams.”

In the first two episodes of Downtown Girls, the new fab five conduct an “Ex-Swap” where they attempt to “recycle” one another’s exes (it must be seen to be believed) and search to find the right guy for Shallon via Facebook.  When the girls interview promising prospects, Shallon joins in, not-so-deep cover-like, wearing a black bob wearing and speaking in a Russian accent reminiscent of Natasha Fatale from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon.  All of it is good-natured fun for the more “mature” (read: grown up) MTV viewer.

So you want to know about more Shallon? (Surprised that I knew what you were thinking? One of my many special powers, superwoman that I am.)  Well, The Ride (a.k.a. me) talked to Shallon about the show, women versus men, and the “big dream”.

Shallon Lester of MTV's 'Downtown Girls' (photo: MTV/Rene Cervantes)

Here’s what Shallon had to say.

Roomates: The Good

Generally, I play well with others (stop snickering) but I can’t imagine living with two roommates. Me, myself and I are all that I can handle right now and they are a handful.  Shallon said she gets along well with roomies, Nikki and Victoria. An only child from the OC (Orange County, CA), Shallon did admit that the roommate thing did take some getting used to at first. With that said, Shallon enjoys the sharing her space and herself with her cohabitants.  “I never had the experience of going into a [sibling’s] room sharing stories about how a date went while eating popcorn. To have experiences like that is fun especially being so far away from family. Having your best friends right there to share things with. Always having someone there to share the cupcakes and the calories.”

Roomates: The Not-So-Good

Shallon may not have roommate horror stories to share that involve her current crew but there was in incident that happened — that she probably would like to forget — when she shared a space with three others.

One night, when her roommate’s drunken boyfriend was sleeping over, he stumbled into Shallon’s room on his way to the bathroom and fell into her bed.  The roommate became angry thinking something unseemly was going on.

Other than that incident she said that any “trouble” bordered on the usual:  “Did you take my shoes?” or ” Our electricity is being shut off because I thought you had paid the bill. ”

Relationship Blogger for Hire: Where Do I Sign Up?

So how did Shallon become a “relationship blogger”? It’s not exactly a career you learn about at your friendly college job placement center but it was in college that Shallon got her start as the writer of  California Polytechnic State Institute’s (Cal Poly) first and only sex column. Shallon, who was a virgin until age 22, felt her dating experiences were relatable.  “It’s more about the universality of experiences,” said Shallon.  It’s just that hers tend to be a bit more bizarre, or rather, “adventurous”. For example, many women have discovered that a guy they’ve been dating has been keeping a few secrets from them — like being MARRIED.  In Shallon’s case, yes, the guy was married. He also happened to be in the Mafia and is in prison. “Those who can’t do teach,” said Shallon blithely.

Man Trouble

Why do most women have man trouble? According to Shallon, “women tend to over think communication with guys… women don’t think like men. Women think nothing of calling or writing back immediately ‘Why wouldn’t I write back?’, they say. Men like to be frustrated. Frustrate a man and you win. Frustrate a woman and watch out.”

Women and “The Pole”

Episode one of Downtown Girls featured the crew taking pole dancing class. So what’s the fascination with the stripper pole?  “It’s a great workout but let’s be honest women are fascinated, curious about strippers who are men’s ultimate fascination,” said Shallon. “Most women don’t go with men to strip clubs. They wonder what goes on in there.” And yes, Shallon been to one. “You want to wash your hands afterward”. She does have respect the lady pole twirlers. “It’s really hard. You have to be really strong. Girls earn their money.”

She also shared this interesting “factoid”. Guys will blow hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a strip club and “get nothing”. “If you spend that kind of money on a regular girl, she’s going to give you sex.”

MTV's 'Downtown Girls' (photo: MTV/Rene Cervantes)

Sex and the City Girl

Yes, she’s fan. Shallon said that Sex and City gives a voice to and empowers all women. They can talk openly about sex, boyfriends and careers. And with the action taking place in New York City, the Big Apple becomes a techincolor version of every city in the world. Dating is not really different in other cities, it’s just bigger and bolder in the NYC, said Shallon.

“Downtown Girls” from The Downtown Girl

What should we expect from the show? “A lot of fun,” said Shallon. “We address issues of balancing careers with relationships. Women think that men love that. They don’t. [Also] balancing intense relationships with intense friendships.  Learning how to compartmentalize ex-boyfriends. Young women in the city with friends as family.”

And The Dream

What the dream for Shallon who has co-authored a novel, Hot Mess: Summer in the City and is working on a second book due out next Spring —  a Chelsea Handler-like humorous memoir.  Oh, she also has a television show in development. “There are so many things I want to do. I want to be a famous well-known writer that gives a voice to young, smart funny women. There are plenty of us out there.  We don’t get the recognition we deserve.”

To follow Shallon on Twitter, click here. To check out her blog, click here.


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