Does she have any secret talents you haven’t mentioned yet?

She does type faster than anyone I know, by texting and stuff. I don’t know if it’s a talent, but she’s an amazing older sister; her younger sister is in kindergarten this year, and that’s a really big age gap, but she’s always there for her, even if they don’t get along. Jennifer’s also really good at finding the weirdest YouTube videos. She found one that had this woman who, like, only eats bananas? She really wanted us to try it out, and I was like…I really don’t like bananas that much. You can tell her that I said she was gonna try the whole banana fad.

What’s the craziest thing you guys have tried to do together?

The mall in our area has this rule where you can’t go in alone after 5 PM on a Friday night if you are under 17, and we were 16. We really wanted to have a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate the end of the school year. It was Friday the 13th in either May or June, and we literally walked into the mall. We hadn’t thought about this rule we were about to break because we thought, “No one’s gonna think we’re 16 and kick us out.” We ran into a security guard within five seconds, and he asked us to show him our IDs. He realized we were too young, but being the rebels we are, we left the mall and snuck back in through Forever 21 and pretended that never happened! We thought it was totally rebellious.

You also said how inspiring she is to you. Can you think of something she inspired you to do that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?

Hmm…I’ve always admired how passionate she’s been about her flute playing, and she always says that’s the one thing that makes her happiest. I was never really interested in violin in high school, I kind of just did it for my friends, because they really loved it. I don’t think I ever would have tried out for the all-state orchestra if it hadn’t been for the fact that we were friends. I guess her passion for music spread to me, because I really wanted to practice to get in. It was really amazing when we both got in, we spent the weekend in Rochester, New York, and could just goof around, have fun and make music. I feel like I wouldn’t have tried out without her being there. I don’t think I would have had half the fun I had without her.

What is the one thing you love most about Jennifer?

I think it’s the fact that she can make me laugh, whenever. I can be talking to her and crying, whether in person or over text, and be really upset, but she always can put a smile on my face and make me laugh. I feel like that’s something not a lot of people can do, make me laugh when I’m distraught over something dumb. She has bunch of random pictures on her phone that always make me smile.

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ROOKIE: Hi, Jennifer!


Sali told me that you didn’t hit it off the second you met, but over time you became best friends. Can you think of any moments that really helped define your friendship?

Well, we kind of met through music because we were both in the same youth orchestra in middle school. But freshman year, we were in something called the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, and in the beginning of the school year there would be an overnight camp. I think it was in sophomore, junior, and senior years that we were both in the same cabin, because we requested it, and we would stay up late at night in the same bed with the same blankets because it was always freezing, talking until 3 or 4 AM about life, what we wanted to do with our future, and what was going on with our friends and boys and all that. I never really had that connection with anyone else before, and that was a really defining moment in our friendship.

You definitely know you are friends with someone when you can stay up super late talking for hours about anything.


She also said you both have sort of switched personalities after being friends for so long. How do you think your friendship with Sali has changed you?

When I first met her, she was a very open, bubbly, bright and outgoing person. I mean, she was the one who came up to me, because we had a mutual friend, and she was like, “Oh, are you so and so’s friend?,” and that was the first time we ever interacted. Being friends with her made me more outgoing because she was always so fun and super nice to people, and that rubbed off on me after being with her so long.

OK, because I’m dying to ask, tell me about this all-banana lifestyle you are wanting to try.

[Laughs] Yeah! I’ve been watching this person on YouTube and she’s been eating, like, a crazy amount of bananas a day. When I first heard about it, I was like, “Ew, that’s kind of…gross!” I’ve just been watching her videos for a while and wanted to give it a try!

Sali said you guys have helped each other a lot through hardships. Has your friendship gotten you through tough stuff in your life?

It definitely has! I mean, in high school we had a lot of the same goals: We wanted to do well in school and get into good colleges. But not only that, the social aspect was really important, too. We would talk about boys a lot. I remember in one of our [orchestra] tours, in Italy, we were talking about our futures and college, and I kind of teared up and started crying, and she made me feel a lot better. Even during our first semester of college this year, we were both having some problems, so we would Facetime each other and call each other and it would always make me feel so much better.

Sali said she really admires the fact that you can always make her laugh. What are some of the things you do to cheer her up when she’s down?

Well, a lot of the time we go to stores like Walmart, and we’ll go through late at night and buy things and joke around about stuff. Like, we’ll go down the Asian food aisle and pick up different Asian and international foods, and then we’ll go get ice cream. We get bubble tea a lot and joke about things we’ve been through, things that were serious at the time but that we can laugh about and make fun of now.

How do you think Sali is different from other people, and how does she look at the world differently from anyone you know?

Sali is one of the smartest people I know. I mean, she has gone through a lot, and when you first meet her, you think she’s like any ordinary girl, but she’s really, really smart. She reads so many books and just knows things! I remember in high school, I would always ask her things I had no clue about, and she would somehow know everything about it!

She said she really admires your passion for performing. What do you admire most about Sali?

What I admire most about her is that even though she’s been through so much, she’s one of the strongest people I know. I mean, she’s seen a lot in her life, and she still goes forward. It’s been such an inspiration seeing how well she’s doing in her life.

What do you think is the coolest, most amazing part of your friendship so far?

The best part is that we can call or text each other any time and talk about anything, and we are always really excited to talk to each other. Most of the time, our conversations are in all caps! [Laughs] We Facetime and Snapchat each other—she’s my best friend on Snapchat. I’ve never had that connection with anyone else. I feel so comfortable being around her and telling her everything about me. We have the same sense of humor, so we find a lot of things funny, too!

What’s one super silly, hilarious story we should know?

Well, this actually happened last week. Sali and I were at Target with her current boyfriend, and we were just shopping around, because we usually go to Target anyways. We saw this person with a shirt from the college I go to, and she was like, “That person goes to the same college as you!” But then she realized it was her ex-boyfriend, and he was there with his new girlfriend who he had met at school, and I guess he was bringing her home to meet his family. But Sali realized it and turned around and ran the other way, then her now-boyfriend ran that way, too, and then I ran that way, and we had to avoid her ex-boyfriend as he passed by the aisle we were in. Then Sali had to go to the bathroom, so she snuck around to go, and her boyfriend went with her to watch out for the ex-boyfriend, just in case. I forgot that I had to get one other thing, so I went back to grab it, and right when I got there, Sali’s ex’s new girlfriend was just about to see me, so I had to turn around and run the other way! I hid out while they were shopping around in that aisle. Finally, after the three of us waited, like, five minutes for them to leave, I went to get my stuff and we left. It was just super funny trying to avoid him in the store! [Laughs]

Oh my god! I love that story more than I can say, thinking of you guys sprinting and sliding around aisles avoiding this guy…

Yeah, basically! Because he kept going where we were going for some reason, so we kept having to hide behind the aisles!

Thank you so much! This was so fun.

Yes, thank you! Bye! ♦

(Interviews by Lucy.)

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