An Introduction to My Favorite Girls

By time…the place we crossed paths…and alphabetical order…

FAMILY

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Apparently, at the age of three, I dropped her on a hardwood floor...but being the sweet, forgiving sister she is, she has remained my right hand woman, best friend and other half. Bryn and I have walked through life side by side, no matter the distance. We once climbed a very large, dangerous mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was terrified and nervous and emotional but Bryn was stoic and calm. Her presence alone was enough to get me up that mountain. And that’s how she is…always there, gentle, steady and loyal. Though the younger sister, in every phase of my life - dark or bright - she's been my tree to lean on. Our inside jokes make no sense to anyone but ourselves and we will always say 'bye I love you' a thousand times before we hang up. I’ve never known a person with such abundant self value, poise and grace. My elegant maid of honor, my universe, my everything, Bryn Blanks. Virgo.

One day, when Jack and I were long distance, I was painting in a studio in college and he just...appeared. Helen had driven him all the way from Cleveland to Charlottesville just so he could surprise me. She takes my side almost every time even though Jack is her big brother. And when he projectile vomited all over my comforter after Foxfield while our best friends were hooking up on my couch...she knew just how to calm me down. Her knowledge of pop culture and reality tv goes unparalleled. She was a stand up comedian in her other life...and the first person I'd call if I were thrown in jail. If you're in trouble, you want this girl on your side. My miss. moo, my h-eeyyy-linnn, my soul sister, Helen Reed. Libra.

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Her dad might be my grandpa, but blood or not...we're connected. I've known her since birth and when we were little we'd run through fields, climb trees and fight over things like flowers. Self made, resourceful and the kind of person who can make a feast with a piece of bread and some apples - she's one of the smartest people I know and would make the perfect diplomat. We've walked through a forest naked, explored Disney Land, gotten so high we couldn't speak and wandered through Amsterdam together. She's fearless and fun and selfless and completely carefree. I've watched her take ferries to visit friends at the age of 10, wwoof through the midwest, teach English in Korea, get her master's in Sweden and deny herself of luxury because it's really not important. My loyal friend, my match, my half aunt turned dearest friend, Moon Herrick. Leo.

MOAB

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You all know the story of Outward Bound - the place that healed me. I met a girl before the trip in a hotel. I asked her if we could hang out in one of our rooms and just talk. We spent the next 10 days together, pooping in a box, skinny dipping in a river, repelling down a cliff, bathing in mud, running through canyons, covered in bugs and dust and dirt and earth. She introduced me to O.A.R., Ralph Waldo Emerson, kava and the stars at night. That was 12 years ago. Since then, we've met up all of 6 times. She is a true testament to quality over quantity. With Ana, every second, no matter how short, is gold. If you need wisdom, authenticity or a reminder that life is beautiful, this is your girl. My pen pal, my rainbow unicorn, my healer, Ana Beegan. Leo.

She's moving to Spain and can't be there but there's no doubt we'll feel her presence. <3

CLEVELAND

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We met at a car wash in Shaker Heights, Ohio during one of the most difficult times of my life. She helped me let loose with her bright smile, contagious laugh and bold, confident way...inviting me into a place I would only live for 10 months...making it feel like home. She took me to prom, taught me that black is beautiful and gave me kinship when I needed it the most. She once modeled for me in front of a church in 20 degree weather when I first picked up photography...in a bikini. Call this girl if you need to redecorate your house. My fire cracker, my lioness, my soothing companion, Simone Billings. Sagittarius.

UVA

Loud, proud and absolutely infectious - know that if you bring an animal around her, she will act like she won the lottery...until said animal leaves. She'll befriend you instantly, offer you 22 different kinds of weed, take you to her favorite restaurant and try things off of your plate without asking...because you're family. Duh. She's visited me in every city I've lived in since college, submitted me to a job that landed me in a national commercial, and driven me back and forth from LA to Santa Barbara at midnight...even though she had to work with Julia Roberts the next morning. The best damn fashion stylist in the greater Los Angeles area, hide your chicken wings around this one. My panda, my hermosa, my partner in crime, Amanda Lim. Sagittarius.

The second I heard this blonde, white girl from Warsaw, Virginia taught a class called 'Nig*er', I fell hard. I met her after my first ever collegiate photography class. I told her she seemed cool and invited her to a party. I now know Bergen thought I was hitting on her...and she was totally cool with it. She was the first person to meet Jack and approved instantly. She can bartend like a magician, speak on environmental sustainability better than anyone I know and make any guy (or girl) within a 100 mile radius faint out of admiration. Her strength is my weakness and I love her so much I don't even know what to do with myself. My rock, my cuddler, my 'mom' and your head honcho of this retreat thing, Bergen Hubert. Virgo.

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I was in the dark room with my tray, observing an image I took of Jack for the first time. I was using photography to display his body as a structure, like architecture. A girl approached me and asked, 'Is that the Italian professor?' A couple of hours later we grabbed lunch. We've rendezvous-ed in Miami, Berlin and Paris, had many sleepless nights and done things we wouldn't dare do alone. This is the girl that's protected me from storms, reminded me to dance carefree and stroked my hair till I fell asleep. At graduation, with Bergen, we mooned the entire class of 2013. She demands espresso everywhere we go, refuses to take the metro and will remind you that it's Lea, like PRINCESS LEA. My safe place, my bear, my harmony, Lea Scafidi. Libra.


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NASHVILLE

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Though we both graduated UVA 2013, we didn't meet till Nashville. I was basically friendless and ecstatic to get connected to a kind, gentle, highly aware person who keeps my secrets better than my journal. We met at a coffee shop and after two hours of conversation crossed the street to get a beer. Though she's calculated, easy going and undeniably mature, I feel like I can be an absolute fool around her. She's got a real love for documentaries, social justice and BREAD and she gets what it's like to be in a long term relationship...and not be married. My clarity, my listener and favorite double date, Kathryn Clinard. Virgo.

AUSTIN

Has never asked me to reimburse her, taught me how to do my taxes and makes sure I get home safe, this is the older sister I never had. We once drove all the way to Houston to see Solange perform only to find that she wasn't coming. Still one of the best road trips I've ever been on. She's funny, light hearted, hard working and the friend I exchange GIFs with more than anyone else. Our partners are basically the same person and when I'm really, really low she knows how to sit with me and just let it pass. If your hair health is suffering, your bank account is looking rough or you need a tune up on what's going on in the world, this is your girl. My big sister, my curl whisperer, my idol, April Kayganich. Virgo.

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I once walked into her house while she was bowing down to a Mexican temple (on her computer screen), tribal music blaring, palo santo lit, cats drinking water from the faucet. She asked me out to lunch on Instagram and it was one of the best 'yes'es I ever said. She calls me 'baby' and 'mama' and knows how to make me happy when I'm sad, just by being who she is while feeding me herbs, CBD and oat milk. We once spent an hour riding around searching for bike lights at 7pm on a Friday because she knew the universe would lead us to something. (It did.) She'll soothe your aches with a tea bath, remind you to be light and airy and broaden your music taste, effortlessly. She's the hottest mom I know (besides my own). The rare person who makes me forget my headaches; my sunlight, my yang, my remedy, Cassie Courtney. Aquarius.

Jack and I met her officially in Nashville but our first date was in Austin. She was waiting for us at the bar, always early, impeccably dressed and ready for a good time...I couldn't say how many bottles of wine we've consumed together. Once at dinner...she just got up and left...without a word. She was one of the first people to actually hire me, paying full price, under the name of Woke Beauty. She hasn't just supported me, she's sponsored me. If you need a good story or a damn witty caption, this is your girl. The friend who will come over and watch music videos with us till she falls asleep on the couch; I'm kind of surprised Jack didn't invite her to his bachelor party. Thank you, Phoebe, for loving Walter even though he humps your leg. My boo, my light beam, my let loose go wild, Phoebe Hankins. Aries.

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I sold her a pink dress at a yard sale and gave her my business card because I just really wanted to be her friend. She understands my passion, can match my sassiness and knows how to make me laugh...my real laugh. We once argued with my dad over the usage of the word 'dove' for an entire hour right before she spilled red wine on his carpet. She's an intellectual, an incredible producer, a real art lover and my favorite person to watch a film with...because I know the conversation afterwards will be mind blowing. Sometimes we finish each other's thoughts; we're connected on a different level; I just feel like she gets me. And gosh...we've never bickered. Knock on wood. If you overhear our banter, you might think we're flirting. What can I say. It's chemistry. My soul mate, my icon and the one person who will 'go there' with me every single time, Thoa Nguyen. Scorpio.

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Self-less, wholesome, well spoken and a force to be reckoned with, I'm a better person because of her. She gave me access to a brand new community over and over and over again. She gives me faith in humanity. She makes me hopeful for a better future and a richer society. I love zooming in on her and teasing her more than anyone...because she's kind of perfect and it makes me laugh to see her vulnerable. Her sarcasm goes unmatched and if you talk to her long enough you can bet on a dry sense of humor. We can watch sports, go to fancy events and hang out with each other's families...naturally. She continues to amaze me and sometimes I feel unworthy. Yet...she constantly reminds me just how worthy I am. My teacher, my advocate, my Ginny, Virginia Cumberbatch. Pisces.

Every time I introduce someone to this girl they ask me for her number. (I always 'forget' to give it to them because I'm a possessive Scorpio and she's mine.) Blessed with an unusual voice, an adorable accent and a sexy bod she knows how to flaunt, this girl will entertain you...endlessly. She once showed up two hours late to her own birthday party. We like long walks around the lake, early Pilates classes and wining and dining. Our conversations never really end...they just get interrupted. Her Instagram stories consist of twerking, salsa dancing, singing in the car and only God knows what else. She's extremely affectionate, shameless and charming and I don't know. I kind of want to be her. My Latina spark, my twin flame, my empath, Yamel Thompson. Scorpio.


I love you guys so, so much. See you soon. xx