‘UnReal’ Star Shiri Appleby Kicks Off A Nastier Season 2 With Ink, Coke, And Sex

UnReal gave viewers a look at the behind-the-scenes antics of America’s reality shows with its first season. The series, which is a show within a show, features a cast of actors playing the production team of a popular dating show in which female contestants compete to win the affection of whatever arrogant bachelor they can con into appearing on the fictional reality series. Shiri Appleby stars as Rachel Goldberg, executive producer of the fictional series, which is titled Everlasting, and, as Rachel, Shiri became the UnReal fan favorite, guaranteeing the series a second season. Now, as UnReal launches its second installment, Appleby once again grabs viewer attention with her seedy behind the scenes antics.

UnReal Star Shiri Appleby Parties Hard In The Season Opener

Ms. Appleby returns as Rachel in her fully self-destructive glory as UnReal debuts its first episode of the season and already, Rachel is seen living hard on the Vegas strip. The UnReal character is tattooed within the first moments of the episode, following that adventure up with some cocaine and sex. She might not have been called back to reality if it weren’t for Everlasting and the new bachelor she has just coached into appearing on the reality series.

Shiri’s character conned Darius (B.J. Britt) into becoming the first African-American suitor on her series, but the bachelor is now reconsidering the commitment, considering the fact that it would require being kept locked up in Everlasting’s mansion for the off season. Also conspiring to derail Rachel’s plans on UnReal is the network president, Gary, who isn’t on board with Rachel’s plans for the new season.

Quinn King, played by Constance Zimmer, jumps in to save the day on UnReal, as she convinces Gary to go along with Rachel’s plan, promising the network executive that Darius will be challenged by the most stimulating and attractive women they can find. Quinn promises the list of contestants will boast a racist, a black activist, a clergy woman, and a terrorist among them.

As everything gets back on track, UnReal takes a not entirely unexpected turn, when Rachel, confident that her history-making season is in the bag, begins to show her true colors. Appleby’s character toys with both contestants and crew, making one assistant producer bawl on set. Shiri plays her UnReal character at her absolute meanest, proving that Season 2 of UnReal is going to outdo Season 1 by far.

Shiri Appleby Opens Up About Dating And Reality Television

Shiri plays the showrunner for a dating series on Lifetime’s UnReal and outside of the series, she says she really thinks dating shows help out the single men and women of America. Appleby says it helps to see others try and not always succeed because it can make one realize that their own social lives aren’t quite so bad.

“It makes you feel better about the dating path that you’re on. And it’s like the princess fantasy is totally real,” says the UnReal actress. “Would I love for some guy to get a hot air balloon ride for me and take me to some romantic thing on a beach? It would probably make me feel quite uncomfortable, quite honestly. But when you’re single, it’s fun.”

Shiri isn’t single, however. Ms. Appleby is married and she has two children, Owen Lee Shook and Natalie Bouader Shook, so she admits to having a slightly different perspective when it comes to dating shows and romance, especially as it’s portrayed on UnReal. She says UnReal presents contestants with the idea that a man can change one’s life, but Appleby says that idea is just too simplistic.

“I think my life has been changed; definitely for the better, but I don’t necessarily think it’s just because I ended up in a relationship with a guy,” UnReal‘s Appleby says. “I think it’s the work you do when you’re in a relationship with somebody else, it’s also really being present in the relationship.”

As for reality shows, Appleby says she does watch Project Runway and that both she and her husband enjoy the show, but, other than that, they don’t really get into reality shows. Shiri was tempted to return to The Bachelor, but after discussing it with husband Jon, the UnReal actress realized neither one of them were really very interested in watching it again.

The next episode of UnReal airs on Monday, June 8 on Lifetime.

[Image by Lifetime]