Friend Crush

Illustration by Emma D.

Gaby sent us this FC nomination about once a week for a month. We loved her persistence (though we are NOT encouraging this technique!) and, when we talked to these two, we fell in love with them and their friendship. They are honestly each other’s biggest fans and supporters, and talking to them is just really uplifting and will make you want to call your own bestie right away and gush at them (we ARE encouraging you to do this).

TO: [email protected]
FROM: Gaby

My name is Gaby Serrano, I’m 16 years old, and I live in the Philippines. I’d like to nominate my friend Claudia for Friend Crush, because she is, hands down, the coolest person on the face of the planet.

We met when we both got jobs as media producers at the student council at our school. I was a shy junior who had never been part of any school politics, and Claudia was a senior who had already been in the student council. But we instantly bonded over an array of things from how hot we thought Julian Casablancas was, to how no generation of Skins could ever beat the first. We would gush about music, fashion, books, TV, the things we wanted to do, and the places we wanted to see. There are very few friends in life who just get you and speak the same, weird-ass language you do, and I’m glad to have found that friend in Claudia.

She is also one of the most talented, hardworking people I’ve ever met. She takes amazing photographs (check out her work at and she never fails to come up with great ideas to solve problems. Claudia is my Friend Crush because she is her own person—she has inspired me to stop caring about what others think and expect of me. She has encouraged me to try to get out of my comfort zone and step out into world, and for that I am eternally grateful. All in all, I love her to death, and it makes me sad to know that I’ll have to say goodbye to her in a few weeks.

Claudia’s graduating high school (and leaving me behind!) this March. We’ve only known each other for a year, but I already consider her as one of the best friends I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve been thinking of ways to let her know how much she means to me before she leaves for college; she’s a Rookie fan, so I figured, what better way to do so than by nominating her as Friend Crush!? I really, REALLY hope you put this up this March, because it would mean a lot to me to show you and all your readers how awesome Claudia is and how much of a pal she’s been to me.


ROOKIE: Where in the Philippines do you live?

GABY [crusher]: I live in a city called Las Piñas.

What does “las piñas” mean?

I think it means “the pineapples.” Either that or “the palm trees.”

I like the idea of saying “I live in the pineapples.”

Yeah, it makes me feel like I’m on the SpongeBob show.

So tell me what’s so great about Claudia.

She’s just generally the best person ever. She doesn’t care about anything—and I mean that in the best way possible. A lot of girls our age think there’s like a standard for every girl: you should look pretty, you should have a nice body, you should do this, and you should do that. But Claudia has her own vibe going on. She doesn’t care what people think, and to me that’s really awesome. I think that’s what makes her special.

You said you met when you were both media producers for student council…

Yeah, we were both waiting to be interviewed for the job. I thought they were only gonna take one of us, so I looked at her and was like, This girl is my competition. I wonder what she’s capable of. I didn’t like her—I thought she seemed like a bitch. I had no idea we were gonna be partners, and then when we did get paired up, she turned out to be pretty cool!

What does a media producer do?

Basically we get told to make posters and designs and T-shirts and stuff—anything that the president wants us to do for the council.

Was there one moment when you realized that you liked Claudia?

She had her interview before I did. When she came out, this one friend of hers was like, “How was it? Did they make you dance?” and Claudia was like, “Nah, it was easy,” and she just took off. I was like, Ooh, what a badass.

You said in your email that she’s inspired you to stop caring what people think of you. How did she do that?

I used to look at my work right before turning it in and be like, “Oh, this is crap.” And I wanted to ask people, “Is this OK? Is this OK?” But Claudia told me that if I felt something was good, if I was content with something that I’d made, I should just go with it.

How did she inspire you to get out of your comfort zone?

I don’t really go out that much, to be honest. I’m more of the stay-at-home-and-read-a-book type. But lately so many good bands have been coming here—like Toro y Moi and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart—and she was the first one to nudge me and ask if I wanted to go out and see them. I felt pretty scared at first, ’cause I’ve never been to like a real gig before. She was like, “No, you should go! It’s totally fun.”

Have you gone to a show with her yet?

No, not yet!

Also, when we were working on our art and stuff, I had one particular style that she thought I stuck to for a long time, and she opened me up to all these different resources that made me want to change the way I made stuff.

What was your style before, and how did it change?

I used to use a lot of fonts and premade vectors when I made designs. I didn’t really rely much on the fact that I can draw. I mean, drawing’s sort of my shtick. So Claudia was like, “Why don’t you draw these posters? That’s what you’re good at.” She encouraged me to be more illustrative, I guess. [Laughs]

Do you have a website with your drawings?

Yeah, I have a Tumblr:

Hold on, I’m gonna look at it right now.

All right.

What if I’m like, “Oh god. These are terrible.”


Oh wow! You drew these?


They’re great!

Thank you!

Do you think you and Claudia will stay close after she goes to college?

I really hope so. Because you know how friends just depart even though they say they won’t? I really hope that doesn’t happen with Claudia, because we’ve formed a really tight bond. Every time we talk I realize we have something new in common. I hope that continues. She already graduated yesterday, and we talked last night, so I think we’re off to a good start in preserving our friendship.

How far away is she going for college?

Well, technically she’ll still be living 15 minutes away. But she’ll be up north a lot—she’s going to college near Manila.

Oh! What? Dude, this is gonna be easy. I thought she was moving far away!

But it will be harder to see each other now that we’re not going to the same school anymore.

Do you have a strategy in place for how you’re going to keep your bond strong?

I guess keep chatting, and keep texting her about random stuff, and she promised to take me out to more gigs. She swore to that. I hope she keeps her promise. Not a lot of the bands that I like come over here very often. I hope more of them do. Especially the Strokes.

Have they ever played there?

No! Sadly. We are not worthy of their awesomeness.

Well let’s just lay down the gauntlet right now. Julian Casablancas, if you have a Google Alert on your name and just found this interview, go to The Pineapples and play a show.


Is there anything in particular I should ask Claudia about when I call her?

Um, what do you love about Gaby?

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ROOKIE: Gaby said that when she first saw you, when you were both applying for the media producer job for the student council, she took one look at you and decided you were a bitch.

CLAUDIA [crushee]: [Laughs] Oh my god. I thought she was unapproachable too!

I love that you were both intimidated by each other.

I had actually heard about her before that. I knew she was printing T-shirts, and I thought they were really good. I’m intimidated by people who are better than me. [Laughs] And I was intimidated by her, yeah.

What was she like to work with?

She was SO helpful! She was honestly the best partner ever. We just had harmony when we were together. When I had any suggestions, she would listen. When she had any suggestions, I would listen. We meshed together so well. It was the definition of a good partnership.

She also told me that you guys bonded over a bunch of loves that you share, and that one of them is Julian Casablancas.

Oh my gosh, yes! [Laughs] I went to the Reading Festival in the UK last year. I was telling the student council about it, because I was so excited. I didn’t know if any of them even knew about the Reading Festival or about the Strokes. Gaby automatically freaked out and was like, “Oh my god, the Strokes!” So obviously we got to the topic of Julian Casablancas…

What do you like about him?

Oh my god—his hair, his voice, his EVERYTHING. Aaaaaah! Everything!

[Laughs] He is really cute.


I like the way that his lips touch the microphone while he sings, like he’s making out with the mic.


How were they when you saw them live?

It was AMAZING. It was kind of new for me because people don’t really go that crazy at shows in the Philippines. But in the UK everyone was pretty wild. They were all drunk and crazy. It was really really fun. The band sounded amazing, and the set list was SO GOOD OH MY GOD. They played all the songs that I wanted to hear.

And you also bonded over your love of the first season of Skins. Which is also my favorite season.

The first season, right? Nothing matches that.

Do you have a favorite character?


I love her too. My favorite, though, is season-one Effy, back when she wasn’t talking.

But Effy’s kind of a bitch.

But I like teenage bitches. It’s why I’m friends with Tavi. (Don’t tell Tavi I said that.)

[Laughs] I’m a huge fan of Tavi and of Rookie. I love Rookie so much! I read it every day.

Yay, we love you too! So, what do you love about Gaby?

OK. [Deep breath] I love her hair, I love the way that she talks. When she talks in council, you have to listen to her, even though she’s not pushy at all. She’s a really good friend. She keeps my secrets. She listens to me. She can relate to me in a lot of ways, and when she can’t relate, she tries to. I think that’s really really nice. This has never happened to me before—meeting someone who I can relate to completely and I’m completely comfortable with. We actually became best friends in a year.

Have you thought about how you guys are going to stay tight after you start going to college?

Yeah, we already have a plan. Every time a band comes to play here I’m going to invite Gaby. That’s the way we plan to stay close—by watching shows together and hanging out.

She is gonna love her first concert.

Yeah, she will. Imagine if her first is the Strokes! Oh, god. She’d die.

Is there anything else you want to tell the world about Gaby?

OK. Gaby is the most amazing person you’ll ever meet, and a lot of people say that, but this time it is actually real. If you meet her, cherish her, give her food, and love her. ♦

(Interview conducted by Anaheed.)

To nominate your own beloved pal for a future Friend Crush, please send your names, ages, and pictures, and a paragraph or two explaining what’s so freaking great about her, to [email protected], and write Friend Crush in the subject line, please.

The Late Shows

Cracks (2009)
Half of me bleeds Picnic at Hanging Rock and the other half Suspiria, therefore I love Cracks. We will forgive the title (not as bad as, say…Gigli), for that, dear reader, is the only flaw! This movie is BEAUTIFUL. The setting is an elite British boarding school for girls. What more can I say? Fairy-tale landscapes, love triangles, poetry, magic, semi-restrained histrionics, and bullying, all of which is puppeteered by the girls’ enigmatic diving instructor, Miss G. Everyone is stunning, and the costumes are splendid. You will have key pieces for your wardrobe figured out by the end credits (I especially loved the colorful silk head scarves tied in big side bows, flapper style). But aside from fashion, there’s plenty to mull over in Cracks. Existential things like: why do humans do the things we do? —Sonja

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Staying up all night to battle zombies is probably not very fun. However, staying up all night to watch other people battle zombies is most definitely awesome! And if you are planning a zombie movie marathon or simply trying to get your zombie fix while The Walking Dead is on midseason break, you must start with George A. Romero’s late-’60s classic, Night of the Living Dead. It’s shot in black-and-white (I do not recommend the colorized versions) and has all of those old-movie charms like the loud eerie music that totally clues you in that something scary and awful is about to happen. Though it’s not Shaun of the Dead funny, it’s more cheesy than 28 Days Later scary because it’s so dated. You’ll probably want to slap the protagonist Barbra, who escapes a zombie attack and spends the rest of the movie alternating between catatonia and hysteria. But you’ll still thoroughly enjoy the film if you embrace the cheese and revel in the old-school zombie awesomeness. They’re slow-moving but crafty! Radiation from outer space is to blame! And there’s organ eating! Even though they movie’s not in color, it’s still pretty gross, and caused a lot of controversy when it first came out because there was no rating system, so kids went to see it and were traumatized. I’m not sure what all the fuss was about since my dad showed me this movie when I was 10 and I turned out perfectly normal… —Stephanie

Party Monster (2003)
Everything about this movie screams bad influence: sex, drugs, murder, Marilyn Manson cameo, flagrant sexual ambiguity. The first time I watched it was at a sleepover, and two of the other girls ended up getting picked up by their parents because they were “uncomfortable.” Shock value aside, though, this is a good movie. It tells the story of the murder of a drug dealer in the late-’80s/early-’90s New York club scene. Party Monster creates a fantasy world so detailed and convincing that you’ll find yourself staying up all night on the internet researching the real case to find out what’s true and what’s not (spoiler: most of it is, horrifyingly, true). Macaulay Caulkin is spot-on as club kid Michael Alig; and Chloe Sevigny nails the part of his girlfriend, Gitsie, and looks so, so glamorous while doing it. What’s more, Party Monster’s costumes make Lady Gaga look like she shops at Talbots. The glitter budget for this movie must have been huge. —Jamie

Up All Night
Thursdays, 9:30 PM, NBC

The best thing about this awesome show, which stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as a couple adjusting to life with a new baby, is the fact that Reagan (Applegate) and Chris (Arnett) are both cool, intelligent, funny people that don’t make me want to kill myself or shoot the TV. You know how usually in TV sitcoms the mom stays at home and the dad is a total idiot who can barely tie his shoelaces and is all “I know you’re a liberated woman but WHERE’S MAH DINNER?”? Well, this show is totally not that. Reagan is a producer for her friend’s talk show, Ava, a kinda Oprah-esque situation hosted by the always magical Maya Rudolph, while Chris leaves his high-powered lawyer job to be a stay-at-home dad. That’s right. Stay-at-home DAD. And like, there’s no weird gay jokes about it or Who’s the Boss?-type situations either. It’s just normal. And normalcy being the salient trait of a couple whose first kiss was at a Tenacious D concert fills me with joy and restores my faith in humanity and in the future. After you’ve been laughing at this show for half an hour, you’re left with warm and fuzzy feelings inside that make you love the world. (And also butterflies in my stomach anytime Arnett is on TV). This show rules! You can even watch it with your parents without being embarrassed, and that counts for A LOT. —Laia

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Watching this movie will cause you to make an epic ’70s rock playlist and hit up your local thrift store in search of bellbottoms and puka shell necklaces. I rewatch it regularly because it’s one of those comedies that work like comfort food when you’re sick. I saw it for the first time my freshman year of high school and actually sort of wished that I’d been hazed by the seniors. Sure, that would mean that an evil young Parker Posey would be covering me with condiments and yelling at me to fry like bacon on the asphalt—or, if I was a guy, I’d be chased down by a young Ben Affleck, whose character, according to rumor, had flunked just so he could paddle incoming freshman again—but after the humiliation was over, one of the cooler seniors like Jason London (who plays the only football player I’ve ever sort of related to, Randall “Pink” Floyd) might invite me to the ultimate kegger in the woods, where I might get out to make out with the adorable stoner Slater, who provided the blueprint for all of my early high school crushes. Oh, and thank you, Matthew McConaughey, for your performance of the line “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man—I get older, they stay the same age” taught me to avoid the creepy older dude at the party. —Stephanie

American Graffiti (1973)
Drag racing and drive-ins frame this classic coming-of-age story about teenagers cruising the main strip of their Northern California town. Released in 1973 but set in 1962, director George Lucas (pre-Star Wars) beautifully captures the look (the cars are, indeed, “bitchin’”), the sound (songs by artists like Frankie Lymon, the Platters, Fats Domino, and the Beach Boys are used throughout) and the innocence of the era (young girls hop into cars with guys they don’t even know!), as well as the magic that seems to hover in the air when you’re in high school, aimlessly driving around with your crew at night. Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard—both staggeringly young—play best friends, preparing to leave for college. Dreyfuss’s character, Curt, spends his last night in town searching for a blonde goddess in a T-Bird, while Howard’s character, Steve, tries to patch things up with his girlfriend after telling her that they should see other people while he’s away. American Graffiti is just one of those movies that everyone needs to watch—if not for its historical significance or low-key awesomeness then definitely to witness the adorably naïf performance of a young Harrison Ford as a cowboy-hat-wearing drag racer. —Amber

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
I am pretty sure I saw this on a plane. I would be surprised if I rented it. I saw so many movies with Michael Cera in them, they all began to run together, as if 2008 was just a long montage of his nervous virgin hands fluttering in the air like puppet birds and the affections of too-hot girls that he loved/hated/had impregnated passed him like a teenage ship in the mixtape night. I remember I was surprised that I liked it, and that the chaos of being in a band was fairly well-represented. There may also be a scene with funny puking where I may have LOL’d. I would watch it again if it was on TV or if I was at someone’s house. Kat Dennings is always good at what she is doing. —Jessica
I thought it would be like a two-hour Converse ad, and sometimes it is, but it’s also amazingly romantic and fun and has Kat Dennings and Michael Cera at their very cutest and most charming. Plus there are some of the funniest drunk/puking scenes in movie history. Nick & Norah mimics perfectly that wandery, hopeful feeling of a really really long night spent searching for something—you don’t know what’s going to happen, and it gets boring sometimes, but then it gets fun again, and because it’s a movie, the thing you secretly hoped would happen, does. Is that too much of a spoiler? This is a romantic comedy, so you knew they’d get together, right? But what they bond over is the music they love, and that’s pretty great. If you’ve ever lived in NYC, it’s fun to spot all the places you’ve hung out with your friends. Pretend that the embarrassing subplot about how Kat Dennings has never had an orgasm didn’t happen. —Anaheed

Go (1999)
Ronna, facing eviction, is willing to do whatever it takes to pay her rent; Simon is headed to Las Vegas with the credit card he swiped from a drug dealer; and Adam and Zack, two fidgety soap opera stars, are looking to buy some ecstasy. Go takes place over the course of one wild 24-hour period, and its three interconnected stories unfold at a thrilling pace. This movie is darkly hilarious, and the way it plays with time is genuinely cool. There’s also a young, Dawson’s Creek-era Katie Holmes and a cat with the ability to read minds (sort of), and if you pay close attention you might just see Cindy Sanders from Freaks and Geeks. —Amber

Rock ’n’ Roll High School (1979)
At this high school (where the students RULE), they love rock ’n’ roll so much that the teachers keep having nervous breakdowns and quitting…that is, till the iron lady Miss Togar shows up! It’s fun and silly and begs for audience participation like, say, a food-fight-dance-a-thon-while-pulling-an-all-nighter? And it’s got P.J. Soles from Carrie! And then there’s the soundtrack! It starts off with a rare Paul McCartney/Wings song and proceeds with Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, and beeeeeeeyond. Oh, and of course, the Ramones (who, by the way, aren’t even brothers). —Sonja

200 Cigarettes (1999)
I used to watch movie one over and over again when I was in high school. I mean, I’d finish it and then immediately rewatch it. And that was in the VCR days, so I’d actually have to rewind the cassette—how’s that for dedication? Set on New Year’s Eve, 1981, 200 Cigarettes follows several young revelers as they roam the streets of Manhattan’s East Village, looking for romance. These young hopefuls include Paul Rudd, Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Dave Chappelle, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffmann, the brothers Affleck, and ELVIS COSTELLO. When I was younger, I was attracted to this comedy because of the amazing cast, but now I have a much greater appreciation for the dialogue—the back and forth between Love and Rudd is particularly smart—as well as how perfectly, and often hilariously, it captures the disparity between our expectations for a given evening and how things actually play out. —Amber

Skins (UK)
E4 (2007–now)

Last month, a friend of mine came to visit and brought the first four seasons of Skins (the British version) with her. We went through all of them in two weeks. The show follows various groups of teenagers through their last two years of college (like junior and senior year of American high school). There’s a lot of sex, drugs, and drinking, but whether or not you’ve led a hard-partying lifestyle, the characters will suck you in, and many of the issues that they deal with—from understanding your own sexuality and coming out to struggles with anorexia and mental health—are rarely portrayed with such honesty and emotion. I found characters like Cassie and Effy immediately fascinating because in all my book-reading and TV-viewing, I’ve never met anyone like them (especially the kooky, adorable Cassie). Then there were kids like Sid and Chris, who despite some poor decision-making clearly have good hearts and I couldn’t help rooting for and weeping over during some incredible storylines about family and grief. But the true sign that Skins is a well-crafted show is that I also came to care about characters I didn’t like at first—and to a degree still don’t—such as Tony and Cook. The one thing I will warn you about is almost the entire cast are replaced every two seasons, which I found jarring, as I got really invested in the first group and haven’t been quite so into subsequent casts. But once you are hooked on Skins, you’re hooked, so even though it means meeting another new group of people, I’ll definitely be watching season five ASAP, in preparation for the upcoming sixth season of this awesome show. —Stephanie

After Hours (1985)
Back in the mid-’80s, when I was in high school, I went on a bad date to see this weird Martin Scorsese comedy experiment at the local art-house theater. I didn’t like the boy and said yes only because I was flattered (I don’t think anyone had asked me on a proper date before) and because the boy in question was one of two dudes in my high school with a New Wave haircut. I spent the whole time blocking him from groping my boob (he actually did that whole pretend-he’s-yawning-to-reach-his-arm-over-my-shoulder move in real life), so since that repulsive eve this film has had bad associations for me. But when I rewatched it last night without an aspiring boob-toucher at my side, I found it endearingly goofy and pretentious as only an art-house film about “downtown New York” from 1985 can be. The casually corrupt main character, Paul, is as much of a cad as my high school date, but Rosanna Arquette is great as an early example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and is Catherine O’Hara (the mom from Beetlejuice) ever not glorious? The story takes place over the course of one night that becomes a swirling nightmare where EVERYTHING goes wrong in a way that makes you go AAAAAAAAAAH! and NOOOOOOOOO! and bite your nails clean off. Soundtrack has Joni Mitchell and Bad Brains and Peggy Lee. —Anaheed

Friday Playlist: Hanging Out With Effy Stonem

Sneaking out every. Single. Night. Hanging out with Effy can be sort of dangerous, but I guess that’s what you should expect from such a daredevil party girl. Her taciturn ways and destructive personality make it hard to get through to her, but Effy will always be a crazy queen of the night.

So smear on the glitter eyeliner, get your brother to distract your parents, and slip out tonight to dance until the break of dawn with Effy Stonem. Just don’t get into TOO much trouble!

Hanging Out With Effy Stonem from RookieMag on 8tracks.