Introducing Friend Crush, a feature wherein you, the reader, nominate that girl you’re obsessed with just because you are so in awe of how great she is and wanna spread the love. You might be the best of friends, or perhaps you just creepily admire her style from afar. (Both totally OK, as long as the latter stays legal.) Then we talk to you guys and the whole world falls in love with both of you and we don’t have to sing songs about trees and children and playgrounds in music class anymore! Yippee!
SUBJECT: Friend Crush: Ella!!!!!!
My name is Ambar Navarro. I want to nominate my friend Ella Schwartz for Friend Crush, for always being there for me and for being like no girl I have ever met.
Ella is an amazing girl. She is a noise artist in Milwaukee. She plays at the Let It Bleed fest every year, as well as a ton of other shows and fests. She is studying photography and has a little black Pomeranian named Feabea.
We met when we were 13 or 14 on MySpace and became penpals. Since then I have been telling Ella everything. Two summers ago I got a chance to travel to Milwaukee and meet her for the first time! And last summer she visited me here in Texas.
I love Ella so much. She is beyond cool and has been with me through so many guy problems, and problems in general. She is very strong and opinionated, and gives me the best advice with a sense of humor.
Ella is unique in her style of thinking, fashion, words, everything!
ROOKIE: When you and Ella first started talking online, what did you talk about?
AMBAR [crusher]: At first we only talked about music. We were both really into synth pop and both started going to shows when we were around 13. We didn’t start talking about boys until much later.
What was it like when you met in person for the first time?
I remember the day our moms talked on the phone about me flying alone for the first time to meet her. Looking back at it now, I can see how dangerous this could have been! It seems crazy to me that my mom would let me meet my MySpace friend across the U.S. But at the same time I knew that Ella wasn’t going to be some creepy MySpace guy.
When I landed in Milwaukee I was met by Ella and her mom. The first thing we did was give each other a huge hug, and I noticed our height difference (I’m about five feet tall, and Ella is about five-nine). She was wearing a black dress, black tights, and black shoes, and had her hair brown, short, and curly. She had recently started wearing ALL black, and sometimes her mom’s hat. Ella’s style has always been really cool and constantly changing.
Can you say more about her style?
It’s gone through so many changes. Her first MySpace style that I knew was very synth-poppy. She was constantly dyeing her hair: white, pink, every color of the rainbow (I think she had rainbow hair at one point). Later she started wearing more black—long black dresses, black tights. She had this Bob Dylan look going on. Then she became more involved with Lolita fashion and started with cute pink ruffle dresses, tights, heels, Japanese fashion, and bows. Now Ella has cornrows. Ha, you can’t ever tell where her or her hair is going.
What makes Ella such an awesome friend?
She’s the one friend I have who can understand everything in my life. We’re both artists (I make experimental films), and it’s great having someone my own age be passionate about an art form when we are both developing creatively. Both of us started going to shows at such an early age, we both come from single-mom homes, and we’ve both dated older men. Ella could always relate with me and give me the best advice!
What’s a great piece of advice she’s given you?
“You need to date a young African-American boy with family values and a huge wang.”
Ha!! Why did she tell you that?
I’d been dating a lot of older guys—I thought they would be smarter, but they weren’t. And they all happened to be white. She said, “White people are selfish. I know, being a white person myself.”
Did you take the advice?
I haven’t taken it yet.
What’s her music like?
Ella is a noise artist, so her music is very noisy (to state the obvious). This is coming from someone who doesn’t really know much about noise music. She, on the other hand, really seems to know her stuff. She once played a 30-minute noise set; her goal was to see how long it would take for the room to empty. I’ll be a fan of anything she does.
What’s her best quality?
How open and accepting she is. She always sees my point of view and defends me no matter what. She’s never judged me for anything. I know she supports me in every way.
Why do you feel lucky to know her?
If I didn’t know Ella, I KNOW there would be something missing. It’s hard to describe the bond we have, but we really get each other mentally. Ella is super fun, nice, smart, creative, weird, talented, funny. I feel incredibly grateful that I have a friend out there who I know cares about me and checks up on me. She’s one of my adventure buddies—I hope everyone out there has one of those. She’s one of those amazing girls that don’t come around often, and I’m glad there are things like this website that appreciate girls for who they are.
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ROOKIE: How did you feel when you learned that Ambar nominated you for Friend Crush?
ELLA [crushee]: It was a heartwarming surprise and I’m pleased that there will be an outlet to illustrate our persevering friendship!
Who added who on MySpace, do you remember?
I believe that I added Ambar. I was drawn to her because we are the same age, she is Hyperbubble’s number-one fan, and we both collect sunglasses.
Do you remember your first meeting?
I vividly remember watching as Ambar approached my family at the airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, rolling her luggage in a vintage houndstooth dress. Our first opportunity to meet in person instantly brought our relationship to an unparalleled “Friend Crush” level. I couldn’t believe that we were finally together (and that she is almost a foot shorter than me).
Ambar told us that you’re a noise artist. What’s your music like?
I am the reigning princess of Milwaukee noise and I perform works of staged apathy and extreme minimalism under the project title Nummy. Typically I perform militant wall (a type of experimental music) with a variety of touch-sensitive Flower Electronics synthesizers.
What do you love about Ambar?
I love that she appreciates my sense of humor, and I love the feeling of the deep and natural affinity that I share with her. I cherish our friendship. ♦
To nominate your own Friend Crush, send your name and a picture of yourself, your FC’s name and email address (and a picture if you’ve got one), and a paragraph or two telling us what makes her so great, to firstname.lastname@example.org.