Jill, 18, and Deja, 19, met at the same high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. They may look like best friends/college students (and they are—Jill’s a freshman at a university in California, and Deja’s a sophomore at one in Washington, D.C.), but in their hearts they are the co-rulers of a post-apocalyptic paradise island. If that sounds like the coolest thing you’ve ever heard: WE AGREE! They told us all about it on the phone last week. Get ready to seriously freak out about these pals.
SUBJECT: Friend Crush! <3
Deja and I first bonded in pre-Calc when I was a junior and she was a senior. One day, a space shuttle was being flown on top of an airplane around the Bay Area for some reason. Because our school is on a hill, all the teachers let us go outside to watch it fly past. That was the day when Deja and I first established our apocalypse fantasy. This was in 2012, before the alleged apocalypse, and we decided that we were going to be the sole female survivors and the goddess-queens of Apocalypse Island, where all the men would worship us. Gucci Mane would also be on the island, and we would frolic and party and ride dolphins and be hippies forever and rebuild society as a matriarchy.
Deja is the coolest person ever because she likes to turn up, but she is also really smart and artsy and passionate about social justice, just like me. We are also both vegetarians and feminists, and we both LOVE the movie Spring Breakers. Right now her li’l hippie soul is running around Washington, D.C. while I am still here in California. Even though we are on opposite sides of the country, I know we will be friends forever and eventually rule Apocalypse Island, sipping coconut juice and dancing all day like spring break forever.
ROOKIE: Based on your letter alone, I’m like, in love with you and Deja.
You mentioned that you and Deja are both feminists. Was that something you bonded over right away?
In my junior year, I met Deja and I also started a feminist club at our school. I was discovering a feminist community, and she was really into it, too. We bonded over that, but our immediate connection actually was in math class, talking about fashion and the apocalypse and random stuff. I think Deja literally has had, like, 20 hairstyles since I’ve known her, but at that point she had braids with little seashells in them, and I was like, “Oh, that’s so cool!” We were talking about music, and I really liked Grimes, and I was like, “We HAVE to go see Grimes at Treasure Island [music festival]!” We ended up going together, and that was the first time we hung out. It was really cool.
How exactly did Apocalypse Island start?
Apocalypse Island! So basically, it was 2012, and the whole apocalypse was coming or whatever. I was obsessed with it. I’m not sure why. I guess maybe it came from me not really connecting with other people or fitting in at school, but I had this idea, like, What if everyone else was gone, and it was just me? And then I’d get to roam around the earth by myself. When I met Deja, it became like, “We’re going to be the last two women on Earth!” It was this sort-of fantasy, and I think it came from the grind of high school, and thinking about this paradise island in contrast to how hard school was at that time.
What are some of your mutual obsessions now?
I wrote this in the letter, but we’re both really into Spring Breakers. A lot of people hated on it, but it’s such a beautifully constructed movie. It’s really fun to watch. Deja and I are still always saying “Spring break!” It’s sort of something that we want to do together—like as friends go on some wild adventure-vacation, with maybe a little danger, but without the crime [like in the movie].
Yeah, you don’t want that to happen. So, there’s the spring break fantasy. And the Apocalypse Island fantasy—but the apocalypse has to happen first.
In the world you’re living in now, though, if you could go on an adventure-vacation with Deja anywhere, where would you go?
Oh, wow. I’d have to ask her about where we should go. I’d want to go to New York with her because I’ve only been there twice, and both for very short periods of time. It’s such an intense city, and such a vibrant city, that I feel like we could really take it on together and have a blast.
Deja is away at school now, right? What has it been like, being so far from your best friend?
It really sucks! She’s a year older than me, so she left for college before I did. That actually made me make new friends and discover my small group within my senior class. But I really miss Deja, and we send each other texts and talk on the phone. When she came back for summer break, it was like no time had passed. We were hanging out with each other like every day, and going out and having fun again. I feel like even though we’re far apart, we’re going to be friends for a really long time. I can handle it now.
I’m so happy for both of you, that you are so dedicated to each other! And that you’re keeping it going.
Yeah! And we met in such a random way! We weren’t even in the same grade at school, and I don’t think we had any mutual friends. We really connected, so that’s special.
What do you love most about Deja?
She has a really positive, imaginative mind. She can find beauty and fun in so many things. We’ll be walking down the street, and she’ll take a picture because she’ll see something—something beautiful to her, that just clicks. I think that’s really cool. She gives life to things that are ordinary or unnoticed.
Thank you so much, Jill! It was so great talking to you!
Yeah! Oh my gosh, yay! I feel like there’s always so much more to say, but you don’t want this article to be, like, soooooo long!
Whatever! That doesn’t matter, it was so much fun! Bye!
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ROOKIE: Hey, Deja!
DEJA: Hi! How are you doing?
Pretty good. How about you? How has your day been?
Um… [laughs] It’s been a little rough, but it’s going good.
Has it been hard leaving California and Jill?
It’s been very hard! The culture is very different here. I miss the diversity of California. And with Jill, yeah, we have a bond like no other! I have yet to meet anyone like her.
What do you guys do to stay in touch when you’re far away?
I have to say: social media. We have so many inside jokes; I’ll see something on Instagram, she’ll see something on Facebook, we’ll tag each other, and then we’ll start talking about all the memories all over again. We find a lot of stuff on the internet that reminds us of each other.
That’s so great! What makes your bond so incredible?
She’s more optimistic and wild, and I’m a Libra, so I kind of balance the wildness and give her a more calm perspective on our stories. She is the most open person ever, so anyone around her will feel open, too. Like, I know I can go with her to any type of event, and she’ll make people feel like she is their friend, you know?
She’s so cool! The way she described your friendship makes it seem like the best teen-movie plot!
Yeah! And she said you both love Spring Breakers–can you tell me what you love about it?
Oh! [laughs] Because they’re, like, fun girls that like to try new things and party wild, and that’s basically us! She loves James Franco, and I happen to LOVE Gucci Mane, and those are the two main male characters. And it’s so odd that those two characters would come together, just like me and her were coming together, so it was a perfect reflection of us!
Jill said earlier that on Apocalypse Island…
…Gucci Mane would be there with you, frolicking around!
Yes! She made me a whole map of our island, and we were mermaids. And she made me a soundtrack to go with it!
You know you can buy an island for, like, a thousand dollars now. You should totally make this happen!
When we retire! We’ll live together on an island.
Minus the apocalypse part. Definitely plus Gucci Mane.
We’ll bring him to the island!
What was it like before you and Jill became friends? Did you know each other at all, or…
I had never, ever seen her or met her during my years at high school. We were taking math class and had to sit together, and I had these shells in my twists. It was our first day meeting each other, and all of a sudden she started playing with my hair! I was like, “Okaaaay…” And then, I think the shells led to talking about an island, and we started talking about the apocalypse, and then she was like, “There’s a music festival on an island!” And that’s how our friendship started—we went to Treasure Island Music Festival.
So it was super sudden that you became friends!
Did you instantly feel a connection with her?
Yeah, it was instant! We started talking, and the talking never stopped! It was just… natural.
What do you miss most about Jill, now that you’re both living in different time zones?
Oh my god! What I miss most is that she is the person that kept me loving the things in life that might otherwise annoy me. Like, when something annoys me, she’ll find the good in it. I really miss that! She was like, my little heartbeat, for real! She kept me happy about things.
That’s so sweet!
Yeah! I’m getting so sad thinking about this!
I’m sorry for making you sad. You guys are the best!
It was great talking to you, Deja!
(Interviews by Lucy, with Lena.)
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