BY NATASIA LANGFELDER
Marnie Alton made a splash in queer culture when she first appeared on LOGO’s lesbian-themed comedy, “Exes and Ohs.”
Alton’s beauty, bubbly persona and knack for comedic timing makes her a welcome addition to any cast. She is currently appearing on “#HASHTAG,” Tello’s new web series that explores the impact of social media on your queer women in the dating scene.
The show follows Chicagoans as they perfect the art of Instagram seduction and encounter the danger of sexy #selfies. Alton and I chatted about how hard it is to navigate the social media dating scene and what she hopes viewers will get out of watching, “#HASHTAG.”
“#HASHTAG” explores the impact of social media on our relationships, both romantic and platonic. Do you think it makes dating easier or harder?
I think in many ways it’s done both. I’ve heard arguments for both. I believe that for different personality types it has a different impact.
For me, personally, it’s made it harder to make the connection. I know it connects people in a practical way. I can find someone I want to find more easily. The question is: Can I get to know them? I’m a very sensory person. When I’m getting to know someone I need to know, what do I feel when I see them?, what do they smell like?, what do they move like? Those are things that pull me towards people and on a digital medium that’s really hard to ascertain.
We explore this on the show as well. Social media has made an impact and polarized relationships to extremes. On the show, it works out differently for all the characters.
Do you think adding a potential significant other on social media too soon can be detrimental?
Basically you don’t even have a choice nowadays. People can find your social media footprint whenever they want.
I think there’s a tendency in the dating field to utilize these platforms as a best-foot-forward platform, like I’m putting up all my best pictures, I’m spending an hour writing a funny quip. It’s not necessarily an accurate portrayal of what life with you might be like. It might work to add someone and to present yourself in that way. You could pique somebody’s interest with that version of yourself. But is that authentic? This is why I can’t do Twitter. There’s nothing cute or funny I can say in 140 characters.
What was your most embarrassing social media mishap?
The reason that one doesn’t pop into my head because I’m so trepidatious. It’s taken me years to wade into social media. My cautious entrance has really curated my experience.
I’ve heard that there’s a episode of “#HASHTAG” where everyone just wears lingerie. Does being half naked with your coworkers bring you closer together?
Yes, it does. Shopping for said lingerie with my co-workers also brought us closer together.
You’ve said in the past that you’re really drawn to projects that have artistic meaning for you. What drew you to “#HASHTAG?”
Hashtag has allowed me to work with a community that fills me up. What makes me happy is doing artistically moving things as well as working with people who I love and respect and who I’ve had great experiences with in the past. At the end of a day of shooting, you’re exhausted. If you aren’t getting along with the people around you it’s a miserable time.
Also, when I read the script it was smart, not overdone and a cool way to talk about something that most people in the world are experiencing right now.
What message do you hope viewers will take away from “#HASHTAG” after watching the entire season?
My first instinct is to say a sense of unity. Meaning that, as much of the entire purpose of social media is to bring people together, it’s a dichotomy. It’s as if we are all on a freeway together, but we are all in our own cars in a huge traffic jam. So we are all together, but separate. I hope that “#HASHTAG” will remind us that we are all experiencing this in the same way and it’s universal. This is who we are now and this is how we function.
Anytime we can have the sense that someone else is sharing our experiences, it can make the lows a little bit easier to bear and the highs a little more fun. I hope that’s what they come away with.
You’re on Instagram @marniealton! What’s your most frequently used hashtag?
I’m an Instagram girl because I have two adorable dogs. I can’t stop taking pictures of them. My dogs’ names are Whiskey and Bourbon. So my hashtag for their pictures are #ShotofWhiskey or #ShotofBourbon!
In 2007, you co-starred in the short lived but long loved LOGO sitcom “Exes and Ohs.” Why do you think the show had such an impact and is there any hope of a reunion?
Unfortunately, the timing was bad for the show. It’s not an uncommon story. Our second season was set to air right when the recession hit. We got lost in the shuffle and it was aired a year too late. That was really sad. It deserves more than it got.
It had an impact because it was a show about five women. Where are there shows about five women? Maybe there are a little bit more now, but not then. Unlike most women on TV, we weren’t sitting around crying about boys, we were dealing with issues that real women deal with. The creators of that show created real people, who dealt with their problems like real women and who were lesbians on top of that. At that time, it was all about Britney and Madonna kissing and the show wasn’t that. It was real, unique, ahead of it’s time and it spoke to people.
There isn’t a hope of a reunion. It’s over. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.
What are you up to now?
I’ve expanded into music and performed in Los Angeles. I’m also opening a fitness studio, which combines all my passions. It will be opening in May. It’s called Bar Belle and it’s designed by me. It is born out of ballet training and strength training.