Dani Shay met and fell in love with her girlfriend, Ali Stroker, while the two were filming Season 2 of The Glee Project last year, but the two kept their romantic relationship under wraps until just a few months ago.
Now, Ali is set to appear on Glee’s Season 4, Episode 14 Valentine’s episode and Dani couldn’t be more excited. Speaking exclusively to Wetpaint Entertainment, Dani opened up about how she and her girlfriend fell in love — as well as what it’s been like for the two lovebirds to collaborate with music.
What's been happening since the show?
Since the show I recorded a new EP that was called “One Venture.” And I wrote a song called “One,” and we made a music video to announce our relationship and commitment to the public and make a statement about love together.
When did you write the song?
After we were done filming the show. After it was wrapped, I was in New York to get the feel of it and where I wanted to be and all that. Ali and I were spending a lot of time getting to know one another and actually spending time outside of the walls of reality TV. It was really cool, and then one night, she was actually in Florida which is where I'm from visiting some family members. And I was in her apartment, and then the song just sort of came to me that night.
What was Ali’s her reaction when you wrote this song for her?
Well, after the blushing was over, she was just, I think, blown away by the real message of the song. That night, we Skyped, and I sang it to her over Skype. And I remember her face was just like, “Uh, wait.” I'm sure she was a little flattered, but after that it was like, “Wow. This is a really big statement.”
When you wrote that song and sang it to her, were you two in a place where it was very clear what the two of you had?
Well, I think that just becomes clearer and clearer every day still even, but it was clear that there was a very strong bond and strong connection. I think that’s the true essence of that song. We realized that it was even bigger than us, it was bigger than just Dani and Ali.
It was about the connection, really an essence that bonds us all. That underlying feeling, I guess you would essentially call it love. It's hard to define right? It's like the undefinable thing, but we realized that this song and this connection and what we can do together is bigger than just what either one of us ever thought. That was when it was like, okay. This needs to be like a public thing.
How was it making the music video?
Really fun. I mean we just played. We just got to be playful and ourselves and go to the beach and play in the water and go out to dinner and film that. I mean it was just getting to be ourselves. It was a great time.
Did it strike you at that point that other people were going to see it? That you were announcing something other than just a private declaration of love?
I wasn't feeling very scared I suppose, but I was always making sure that Ali was comfortable. When I get grand ideas and they're really clear, I'm like, “Okay. I accept. Yes, let's do it.” When I was talking to her about it, she had some nervousness and some reservations at first, and then we talked about those things.
Like, is it more important to be cautious and try to maintain everyone's approval, or is it more important to be honest and vulnerable? And hopefully do that so that other people can see it's okay to put yourself out there; and it's okay to be vulnerable; and it's okay to be different; and it's okay to try something new. So we ultimately decided that it was more important to do that than it was to try to maintain some sort of safety zone.
You were open about your sexuality from the beginning, right?
Well, I wasn't necessarily talking about sexuality in terms of a label. But I didn't really have any shame about the fact that I have dated women, and I've dated men too. I didn't necessarily feel any need to hide that.
When did you know that you felt something other than friendship for Ali?
That started to become clear at callbacks.
Yes, yes. I mean, the friendship was instant and so fun, and we laughed so much. Then towards the end of callbacks, it started to become very clear that I was like, “I'm feeling something here, and I want to take care of that.” I remember telling her that. Like on the last night we were together, we asked each other, “What is this?” And we both said, “I don't know.” And I said, “I don't know, but all I know is that I want to take care of this and that it's something really special.”
But part of you must have been like, “I think she likes boys”?
That's never stopped me [laughs]. No. Not to sound too cocky or anything, but honestly, it's never stopped me because I don't see gender as a limitation at all. Like, “She defines herself as straight, there's no chance.”
I don't label myself as one or the other. I feel my essence is all of it. It’s everything. I don't really see it as a limiting thing, you know? I mean she wasn't the first person that I dated that had only ever dated men before.
But she might be the last.
[Laughs] But she might be the last, exactly. Yeah.