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Courtenay Semel Talks NOH8, Love and Loss: Interview

Courtenay Semel Talks NOH8, Love and Loss: Interview

Courtenay Semel.  Mention her name to your friends and you will no doubt receive a plethora of responses from "wasn't that Lindsay Lohan's girlfriend?" to "I think she was on one of those reality television shows, right?" to "lesbian heiress?" During our chat, we discussed the NOH8 Campaign, Courtenay's thoughts on finding true love and even delved into those nasty Hollywood rumors so that we could clear up a few things.  Her candor was laden with emotion when on the topic of the love of her life -- late Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson. 

Courtenay Semel.  Mention her name to your friends and you will no doubt receive a plethora of responses from "wasn't that Lindsay Lohan's girlfriend?" to "I think she was on one of those reality television shows, right?"...Regardless, everyone has an opinion.  Uninvited comments and tabloid fodder hounds are something the 27- year-old Yahoo! heiress has had to deal with since birth.

Born in Beverly Hills, California on November 11, 1979 to affluent parents Terry Semel and Jane Semel, Courtenay is the eldest of three girls.  Terry served as the CEO of Yahoo! for six years before resigning his chair to co-founder Jerry Yang.  It is anticipated that within the time he served and following, Terry received more than $500 million between his salary and stock options (even after accepting a $1.00 salary in 2006 in large part due to the recession).  Not too shabby for someone who graduated Long Island University with a B.S. in accounting.

Courtenay contacted me because she wanted to become involved with Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley's uber-popular NOH8 Campaign, but had no idea where to begin.  During our chat, we discussed the NOH8 Campaign, Courtenay's thoughts on finding true love and even delved into those nasty Hollywood rumors so that we could clear up a few things.  Her candor was laden with emotion when on the topic of the love of her life -- late Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson.

SheWired:It looks like you will be posing for Jeff Parshley and Adam Bouska's NOH8 Campaign!  I am super-excited that it all worked out for you.

Courtenay Semel:Yeah, for sure.  I just wanted to say thank you for helping to pull it all together. 

 

Oh, you are very welcome.  It was no trouble.

I love it.  That's good because, I mean, it's ridiculous.  We shouldn't even have to do this campaign.  It's about time, you know?

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It really is time - I agree.  How did you hear about the NOH8 Campaign?

My friend Brittany Gastineau did the shoot.  Then my friend Marky mentioned something to me about how I should do it, too.  I wrote him back to say that I didn't know who to reach out to or where to go to get involved.  Then it all started to work itself out.  It's right up my alley and I wanted to be a part of it.

 

I'd like to take a moment to chat with you on a personal level about your involvement in the LGBTQ community and the way that this has all affected you.  Would that be okay?

100 percent.  Well, when I was asked to do Curve Magazine on the cover, I had never had a chance to "out" myself per se.  It was kind of done for me.  I think that doing the Curve cover was sort of my stamp to be out there and be a voice and an advocate for the lesbian community.  

For me, it was one of those things that just happened.  Now, after finding the love of my life and it being a girl, I wanted to really take a stand and be a voice in that community.  And now after losing her, it's kind of even harder.  I believe that you fall in love with the person.  In my eyes, the love of my life was a woman and we never wanted to hide it from day one.  We "outed" ourselves in our relationship and that was us and we never felt that we wanted to hide it and neither should anyone else.  We literally "outed" ourselves.  We wanted to show that you fall in love with the person and that was the love of my life and that was that.

Some people just know when they are kids that they are gay.  Others have no idea until it happens.

Exactly.  I always knew something was missing but I just didn't know until I happened to fall in love with a woman.  I knew that this was the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  Now, for instance, I am in Twitter wars with people because there was a rumor a few weeks ago that I was making out with a guy.  Now, it's almost the type of thing where you lose the love of your life and I'm kind of a virgin all over again and I don't even know now.  I dated men, I met the love of my life and then I lost her.  Now what?  I had a full-on Twitter war over the weekend because some girl was trying to say that I was a fake lesbian and that Casey [Johnson] and I were doing it all for the press and that was definitely not the case with Casey and I.  You know, just because I may have made out with a guy as a joke, I don't feel that anyone should have to pigeonhole you and talk about your sexual preference.

 

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I imagine it has to be pretty difficult because you are in the public eye and are judged every single time you are seen with someone.  That has to be difficult, especially after losing the love of your life.  It takes a lot of time to be able to heal.

Exactly.  When people say, "Do you like guys or girls?" I have absolutely no idea.  I am still in love with Casey, you know?  That is why I really wanted to be involved with the No H8 Campaign.  It is about the person and it shouldn't matter who someone wants to marry.  She'll forever be the love of my life.  Even if I have the chance to love again, which I hope at some point I will. She will never be forgotten as the love of my life - ever.

I'm very sorry about Casey by the way.  I imagine it was very difficult to have the cameras in your face especially after it had all just happened.  Not all of us have to go through it in such a public way.  It had to be very hard.

Exactly.  I think the most difficult part was to have someone out there claiming that it was the love of their life and me not being able to be the last person next to her before that happened and have somebody else out there saying all of those things.  At least I know the truth within me and I know she does within her.  I think that was the hardest part of that.

I wish you the best, Courtenay.  I know that you will have a lot of fun doing the NOH8 shoot with Adam and Jeff.  You are going to have a great time.  Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me. 

Oh, thank you so much.  If SheWired needs anything in the future, I'll be there.  I would love to help.  I love it!

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