Flashback: 1990. My childhood living room. My father, draped over the couch in only a way a father can, somehow taking up every inch of usable space and snoring. A gigantic floor model television circa 1984 tuned to MuchMusic (Canada’s polite answer to MTV). I’m sitting in a nearby chair, transfixed by the MOST AWESOMEST MUSIC of three 20-something harmonizing women. The petite blonde in the video – the one in the little black dress, sitting in the Santa Monica sand – has the same hair cut as my 5-year old sister. Maybe it was the way she wore those high-waisted, light-washed Levis or maybe it was her convincing me to break free from those prepubescent chains, but whatever it was, right then and there, Chynna Phillips became my idol.
Fast forward a decade. It’s 2000. As a recent college grad, I’m roped into working on a feature film. Billy Baldwin was the lead in a little contained thriller of a production, of which I was the Production Office. Seriously - I was the whole office. Rumor around the film office had it that his wife was traveling from the far reaches La-La-Land to the opposite end of the continent to spend some time with her husband… little ol’ “nothing fazes me” was completely starstruck when I found out that his significant other was none other than my childhood idol. I. Was. Terrified. I think terrified mostly because I feared whatever preconceived notions I’d had about how lovely I wanted her to be were now at risk of being shattered if she turned out to be a complete biotch. Which, I mean, let’s face it. She was a pop icon… odds are, she was going to be divalicious.
That moment we met, I felt like my Tiger Beat poster from 1990 had walked into the room… except she’d since abandoned her iconic platform heels and little black dress (which if you ask her “could not have been shorter”) and instead walked in to the room, hair long and sans makeup, with a baby on each hip. She was quiet, unassuming and oddly enough… shy. A warm smile, a warmer heart. We fell into conversation and talked like we’d known each other forever. Other then the fact that we both knew her husband, at that very moment, she and I truly had absolutely nothing in common and yet, she was completely relatable. That day in the production office, it was like cupid had hit us with some serious non-lesbian love arrows and BFF-lightning struck.
I feel as if we all have our own preconceived notions of what our “Best Friend Forever” should be. We all have a laundry list of requirements. Mine really has just one word on it:
She’s down to earth. Absolutely hilarious. Someone who doesn’t always have a censor – which, let’s be honest, we all need that sort of friend. Kind. Loving, Probably the most compassionate person I know. That feeling like we’d known each other for years has grown into us actually knowing each other for years (11, to be exact). We talk every day and have for the better part of a decade. We’ve watched each other mature; we’ve been through each others ups and downs. We’ve vented together, we’ve cried together and we’ve laughed together. We’ve talked all night. We’ve giggled at inside jokes. We’ve shared our innermost secrets and we’ve bared our true selves. We’ve had silly arguments; we’ve let stuff slide. We’ve been each other’s rational voice, we’ve been each other’s devil on the shoulder. We’ve planned amazing girl-vacations that we’ll never actually go on. We’ve shared our dreams. We’ve shared our fears. We’ve sent each other rambling e-mails and we’ve responded to them with love. We’ve been a part of each other’s life changing experiences. We’ve learned to love each other for all of our good (and all of our insanities). We remember each other’s important dates and we call each other out on the stuff that matters. She’s my truth-teller: the one I go to when I need a hug or a slap in the face and I treasure our daily catch-ups and our silly texts.
As fate has it, we live on different coasts – but that doesn’t seem to stop us. We only see each other a handful of times a year, but she knows and I know that if either of us needed each other, we’d hop a plane in a heartbeat, no questions asked. She’s taught me what true friendship really is, and for that I am grateful.
Somehow, my teenage idol, the blonde with the pixie cut and perfect harmony, precariously leaned against a tree trunk two decades ago as she encouraged the world to ‘Hold On’ and make lemonade out of life’s lemons… that woman, whose voice, two decades later, can almost always be heard singing three-part harmony in your local grocery store’s speaker system and whose song you’ll inevitably sing for the rest of the day once you hear it… that ’90s pop star… that woman I knew everything about based on tabloid culture… the woman I lovingly call Chychy - became my BFF.
They say that over the course of your lifetime, you’ll be lucky to count your BFFs on one hand. For me, Chynna’s friendship counts for about three fingers… and for that, I am blessed.
(And to all those 13 year olds out there: Lady Gaga may be able to pull off a meat dress, but Chynna Phillips can rock a mushroom cut like nobody else.)
Image via Baby Loves Pink