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UH HUH, IT'S HER, FROM 'THE L WORD'

A TV show made her popular, but music is Leisha Hailey's love.

Leisha Hailey is the biggest rock 'n' roll sex symbol you've probably never heard of.

Sure, maybe you're familiar with her '90s alt-pop group, the Murmurs. And maybe you dig her slick new electro-pop band, Uh Huh Her.

But it was her starring role on Showtime's The L Word that helped make her a cult figure in the lesbian community. As Alice, a bisexual journalist and TV personality, she attracted scores of female fans, to the point where, in 2007, AfterEllen.com ranked Hailey No. 1 on its "Hot 100" list, ahead of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Natalie Portman.

These days Hailey and her Uh Huh Her bandmate Camila Grey are touring the nation behind a new EP, Black and Blue. On Saturday, they'll be at the State Theatre in St. Pete.

During a tour stop for a "family dinner" at Nick's Fish House in Baltimore, Hailey took a few minutes to answer some questions by email.

Uh Huh Her has a more synthy, electro-poppy sound than your previous output. Did you listen to a lot of pop or dance music during your days with the Murmurs? Did you ever anticipate this was where your musical tastes would go?

No. Until I met Camila, my musical taste was geared more toward an alt-girl style. Cam opened up my world to things more synth-driven because that's the music she is drawn to.

How would you characterize your working relationship with Camila? Equal partners? Besties? Co-workers? Boss-employee? Wife-wife?

I can start by saying it doesn't feel like work. It's all of the above. In the studio Cam is definitely the producer. We pick up each other's slack in a lot of different areas. Sometimes I'll handle the business side of things while Camila has to tour, and vice versa. When we're on the road, we're both very equal in terms of duties, although I happen to lift all the heavy stuff because Cam has a bum shoulder.

You have a strong lesbian following. Without abandoning those fans, is the balance where you'd like it to be, in terms of your fan base? Do you want to perform for more straight fans - in other words, go a little more mainstream? And if so, how do you do that?

Let me start by saying that our fans are very supportive, and we're very appreciative of them. Our fans are mostly female, for sure. As far as their sexuality, that's a non-issue for us. Our goal is to always to grow our fan base, and you do that by touring and promotion, etc. We certainly make music for everyone, and not one specific group.

Obviously, when you go on tour, you have to put your acting career on hold. Do you miss it? Are you still looking to act, or would you prefer to make a living as a musician?

I think of myself as a musician first. It's what I did for 12 years before I was on The L Word. Most people got to know me through that show. I feel like now I'm back where I belong. I love acting and it comes very naturally for me, and I hope to do a lot more, but right now the band is my priority.

How much time per day do you spend doing social media? How has it affected your daily life of, y'know, being a rock star?

I have to admit Cam takes on the social media workload more than I do. I can never think of anything exciting enough to say. I feel pressure to either deliver some sort of news or say something really clever, so I get overwhelmed and decide not to do it. Cam, on the other hand, flies by the seat of her pants and I have to admire that. I promise to get better.

- cridlin@tampabay.com

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Uh Huh Her

The band perfoms with Diamonds Under Fire at 8 p.m. Saturday at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Pete. $16. (727) 895-3045.

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