Kiersey Clemons and Ebony De La Haye on Falling in Love on Set – Variety

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For the Energy of Pleasure difficulty, Variety talked to eight LGBTQ {couples} in leisure about their love tales. To learn extra, click on right here. 

An actor and her stunt double falling in love whereas working on a film in Fiji sounds just like the premise of an escapist romantic comedy greater than actual life, however it’s, in truth, Kiersey Clemons and Ebony De La Haye’s true origin story.

The 2 met in 2017 on the set of “Sweetheart,” a survivalist thriller in which Clemons — whose breakout flip as a teen lesbian in 2015’s “Dope” led to roles in “Hearts Beat Loud,” “Scoob!,” “Antebellum” and extra — performs a lone survivor keeping off a mysterious monster on a abandoned island. As her stunt double, De La Haye needed to carry out some notably difficult underwater stunts that make Clemons shudder to consider to this present day. (“That sounds so scary; thanks for doing that for me, babe.”) By the top of the shoot, they have been inseparable — however Clemons had to return house to L.A., whereas De La Haye, an Australian residing in Singapore, completed the U.S. visa course of.

Three years later, Clemons and De La Haye reply Variety’s Zoom name in mid-Might from their pool in the Valley, the place they moved proper earlier than California enacted its COVID-19 keep at house order. It’s an ideal backdrop, although unintentional. “We have been simply on the pool and have been like, ‘Oh s–t, we now have an interview!’” laughs Clemons as De La Haye, clutching a can in a koozie, paddles herself nearer to the digicam and waves. Used to grueling work schedules, they’re now filling their quarantine days with exercises and takeout, lengthy drives and longer TV marathons. (Twisty dramas like “Westworld” for Clemons; senseless HGTV reveals for De La Haye; the U.Ok.’s “Love Island” for each.)

Variety caught up with the couple to speak about quarantine, compromises, whether or not or not they care about astrology (the Sagittarius does; the Gemini doesn’t), and why folks nonetheless care a lot about “boring f–kin’ lesbians.”

What was it like if you first met, on the set of “Sweetheart?”

De La Haye: The film shot in Fiji … we have been there for eight weeks or one thing, did some water coaching and stuff earlier than [the shoot]. It was simply so stunning, and such a ridiculous setting. It’s type of corny {that a} relationship got here out of it.

How lengthy did it take you to determine that there was one thing there?

Clemons: I feel we actually bonded from the start as buddies. She was simply essentially the most relatable individual to me in phrases of pursuits and clearly being queer.

De La Haye: I received by default.

Clemons: After which I used to be additionally like, “Oh, you will have a pleasant face.”

De La Haye: It took some time, although … however we’d already vibed, and there’s at all times that bizarre queer factor of, “Does this lady wish to be my greatest good friend, or…?” In the event you misinterpret that, it’s embarrassing. But it surely grew to become apparent in the direction of the top.

So how do you transition out of sharing an expertise like that, in Fiji, to being like, “now we’re courting”?

Clemons: It required quite a lot of vulnerability, however I feel it labored in our favor. Folks at all times have flings on movie units — consensual ones, let’s be clear — however should you hit it off with somebody in the start, particularly in a spot like Fiji, the place you don’t reside, you may very properly be like, “Okay, that was enjoyable. I’m gonna return to my regular life now.” However as a result of it was the top of filming, it was, “wait, don’t go!”

So for some time, we have been doing lengthy distance and going again from Singapore to America. She had began her visa course of already, so it was simply type of by destiny that the timing labored out.

De La Haye: Beginning a relationship lengthy distance may be very making an attempt. I feel it’s important to discover that individual extraordinarily attention-grabbing and intriguing to even hassle with what it entails to make a yr of that price it. I imply, if I didn’t get a visa, I don’t know. That may have made it tougher. Fortunately, all that labored out.

How lengthy did you do lengthy distance?

Clemons: A yr. After which on the finish of it, it was, “Okay, you’re coming right here and now we’re gonna simply transfer in collectively,” which is the gayest factor I’ve ever heard. And we’re each fairly rational folks, so we have been like, “That is loopy — however we gotta simply attempt.”

I do know lots of people who’ve finished lengthy distance as a result of I’m an actor, and that occurs so much. We’re all touring all over, actually and mentally! [To De La Haye] And you’ve got buddies everywhere in the world who do this, too, as a result of they’re doing stunts and reside reveals. So we had lots of people to seek advice from, as properly.

De La Haye: The truth that we began that means is useful, as a result of it’s one thing that we’ve finished and achieved, and it’s very prone to occur once more. If one among was to get a job that takes us in one other course, it wouldn’t look like the top of the world if somebody needed to go away for six months.

Although now you’re in the identical place for, who is aware of how lengthy.

Clemons: It’s humorous, as a result of we’re each very unbiased folks. We actually do like the sensation of going to work, not speaking all day, and then coming again and being like, “Okay, inform me about your day, how are you?” You’ve gotten that second to catch up. Being in isolation with a associate is simply extra fixed remark. Like, “Wow, how did I not understand you probably did that earlier than?!”

I’ll provide you with a lightweight one: I like to drink cans of glowing water, however midway by ingesting it’ll typically get heat and I don’t wish to end it. So by the top of the day I’ve seven half-drunk cans of La Croix in all places. Three weeks into quarantine, Ebony was like, “I can’t stand it, why aren’t you ending them?!” Little stuff like that.

Ebony, you normally have an excellent bodily job. How has it been to not be doing it?

De La Haye: Effectively, I positively had greater expectations for myself. [To Clemons] You’ve been figuring out most days, and I’ve actually fallen off.

Clemons: It began out together with her coaching me, and then someway I obtained the inspiration, and she simply…

De La Haye: I feel for lots of people it’s like, no matter you do quite a lot of normally is what you are taking a break from, in a way…so I’ve been tremendous lazy. It’s been tremendous enjoyable.

Clemons: I’ve began to create little targets for myself. We’re working on handstands.

De La Haye: You’re doing nice.

Clemons: Thanks, babe.

You’re balancing one another out! Is that the normally the case even exterior of quarantine?

 De La Haye: 100 %.

 Clemons: Oh yeah, we’re actually full opposites. Yin and yang. Normally you’re going exhausting in the paint figuring out and I’m like, “you’re triggering me, go away.” So this positively creates a brand new relationship dynamic. However yeah, usually we’re at all times on totally different pages, apart from what issues.

I really feel like that’s what works. Like, you will be as reverse as you need, however when you’ve got the identical values, that’s it.

Clemons: We agree on meals, politics and who’s humorous. These are our core values.

What are you doing for meals whereas in quarantine? Did you exit to eat so much earlier than?

Clemons: We like to exit for dinner. Once we journey, it’s actually simply, “what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner?”

De La Haye: We’re at all times discovering tiny, non-events to seek out an excuse to have a date night time at a brand new restaurant.

Clemons: “We made a brand new playlist, let’s rejoice!”

De La Haye: “We thought of shifting!”

Clemons: “I began my interval!”

Okay, be at liberty to not reply this if it’s too private, however what are your astrological indicators? And do you care about them?

 Clemons: I’m gonna reply this, as a result of I’m gonna exhibit: I’m a Sagittarius and she’s a Gemini, so you already know what that means. We’re an ideal appropriate match, apparently, but in addition, s–t will get loopy round right here. We love a debate, we love a passionate dialog. We’re each actually spontaneous and like to exit dancing and journey. We stability one another out very well.

De La Haye: I don’t actually know a lot about it.

Clemons: It’s a traditional Sag, Gem scenario. I guess different Sag, Gem {couples} would say that.

De La Haye: Are Sagittariuses extra prone to be into astrology?

Clemons: In all probability? As a result of Geminis are just a little bit skeptical and judgmental.

De La Haye: [nodding] Ah! There you go. I knew you’d show your self proper.

Clemons: As a result of that’s what a Sagittarius does: I’m at all times proper, and you at all times wish to debunk what I’m saying — however I’m at all times proper.

So what made you wish to do that function in the primary place, since speaking about your relationship is fairly intimate?

 Clemons: Typically I overlook the significance of placing our relationship and our lives on show. [To De La Haye] You’re good at reminding me of that. As a result of typically individuals who observe me will DM Ebony … and say, “you current as a person, your relationship with Kiersey, the best way you current your self and your id has impressed me to be extra comfy in myself.”

We didn’t have that inspiration after we have been younger. I knew my mother had queer buddies, however I didn’t see quite a lot of them in their relationships or in the event that they lived collectively, you already know? They usually weren’t married, clearly. So I feel it’s vital to point out folks that you just as a queer individual are additionally deserving of a wholesome, regular relationship the identical means that hetero folks have each single day.

De La Haye: That’s the factor that I positively wasn’t conscious of till I used to be an grownup in this kind of relationship, with somebody that I needed to be with. Though the illustration is there, typically the relatability nonetheless isn’t sufficient. Individuals are very in, you already know, boring f–kin’ lesbians. Folks don’t at all times see that in their lives … It’s so humorous to mirror and know that we’re these folks now, that individuals can have a look at us and say, “I wish to have a relationship like that someday.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

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