I adjust the camera on the tripod, hit the record button, and dash back to resume my casual position on the bed. The clicking sound of the camera’s shutters tells me that it’s started filming.
“Hey, darlings! It’s Saige Copeland,” I chirp, shooting the video camera a winning smile that would put any Hollywood star to shame.
Today, my crazy schedule has a rare blank space: no parties, no dates, no riding competitions, just a blissfully boring day to relax. I’ve decided to spend it creating content for my popular YouTube channel, SaigeVlogs.
“My favorite person in the world, Isabelle Palmer from IzzySquizzy, is joining me for the BFF Tag! And by the way . . .” I trail off, biting my lip. My lip gloss tastes like bubblegum. “Being in the spotlight makes her nervous sometimes, so be nice in the comments, mkay?” I give the camera a determined, no-nonsense look. “If I see any hate, that user is getting b-l-o-c-k-e-d.”
The first time Izzy agreed to make a video with me, someone had made fun of her outfit, saying she looked like a kindergartener. Pictures went viral, and she’s been reluctant to appear on my channel ever since. I’ve vowed to do everything in my power to make sure it never happens again, even if that means scrolling through every single response and deleting any hurtful ones.
“Izzy!” I call, waving her into the room. “Say hi to my fans.”
Hesitantly, she walks into view and introduces herself to the camera.
“Move the sign and take a seat,” I instruct, gesturing at the chalkboard I use to announce all my videos. “And, babe, you look adorable today.”
She blushes as she puts the sign on the floor, her hazel eyes scrunching up happily. “What’s the BFF Tag?” she asks, curling up on the bed with me and wiggling her toes nervously.
“It’s simple,” I begin, more for the audience’s benefit than hers. “You read some questions about our friendship from the laptop, and we answer them together. Ready?”
She nods, balancing the computer on her leg. “OK, number one . . . ‘How did you first meet?'”
I grin at her, recalling one of the most bittersweet days of my life. “It’s a funny story, actually. Our mom announced that she was adopting a girl, and everyone was super excited, except me. I already had four sisters, I didn’t want another one! Then Mom got back from D.C. with this girl in the backseat . . .”
Izzy takes over. “Saige was kind of a brat, honestly. No offense!” she exclaims, holding up her hands defensively when I stick my tongue out at her. “There was a welcome party for me with presents and everything, and Saige was off in the corner huffing and rolling her eyes.”
“We had a rivalry for awhile, since both of us are into fashion. I wanted to be the best dressed, and so did she. It was ridiculously dumb, but eventually we figured out how similar we are and became best friends.”
“I’m so, so glad we got over that,” Izzy murmurs under her breath, and I nod.
Thinking about how petty and childish we had been makes my stomach hurt. Over her shoulder, I read, “Next: ‘Do you have nicknames for each other?'”
“Of course! Saige’s is Red Riding Hood, because of all her red hair,” Izzy says.
I tug on one of my braids, showing off my silky locks. My unique hair color has always been a source of pride for me. “And Izzy’s is Sleeping Beauty,” I add. “It’s her dream ballet role, and if no one wakes her up, she’ll sleep all day!”
The next question is “Who is her favorite singer?”
“Hey Violet!” we chorus as I whip out my phone and start playing music. We belt the lyrics to O.D.D. together — “I’m the girl in the back of the class, pink hair but I’m wearing all black.”— while Izzy flips around her magenta hair extensions.
“‘What’s her favorite color?”
Another easy one. “You love gold, which your eyeshadow makes pretty obvious,” I point out, and she flutters her eyes, showing off the sparkly makeup.
“You know it,” she smiles. “Your favorites are the primary colors, right? Because you’re an artist.” She says the last word in an exaggerated French accent. I can feel her relaxing and acting sillier as we go on, and it makes me happy.
#5: How long does it take for her to get ready in the morning?
I grin smugly. “Well, I’m smart enough to pick my outfit the night before, so not that long. Izzy, on the other hand . . .” I shrug, like What can you do? “Her room constantly looks like a tornado went through there. One time I found a discarded T-shirt caught in the fan.”
“Fine, but at least I don’t spend twenty minutes doing my makeup.”
“That’s because you do a simple look, and I go all out,” I object, crossing my arms. “Remember the first day of school? My eyeshadow was the school colors. It looked amazing, admit it.”
She rolls her eyes. That’s fine; I know I did an incredible job. My back-to-school picture on Instagram had gotten thousands of likes.
#6: What’s her dream job?
“Oh, we’ve had this planned forever,” Isabelle gushes, and we share a knowing look that’s full of excitement for the future. “We’re going to move to New York so I can join the NYC Ballet, and she can find a modeling agency. We’ll have a cute apartment and go to Fashion Week together every year.”
#7: What’s your favorite memory together?
We burst into laughter, so hard that we can’t manage any words. It’s such a wild story. Catching myself before I snort on camera, I wipe joyous tears from my eyes and recall that fateful day in the summer of 2015.
“Izzy and I were hanging out with our sister Savannah when she suggested we become spies,” I begin. “So we made up a group called the TSO.”
“Tween Spy Organization,” my best friend clarifies helpfully.
“Right. So we got dressed up in tight black clothes and snuck through the house, taking pictures of anything suspicious. Later, we confronted our family about their weird behavior, but it turned out they all had excuses, and we had just jumped to conclusions.”
Thoughtfully, Izzy adds, “We seem to do that a lot.”
#8: What’s always in her bag?
Izzy claps her hands together cheerfully. “Oh, I know this one!” she exclaims. Springing eagerly off the bed, she rushes off to find our purses.
I call after her teasingly, “I hope you know what’s in there — you’d better, after all the times you’ve snooped through it trying to steal my phone.”
Skipping back into the room, she gives me a guilty smile. “Oops?”
Our favorite bags are tossed onto the bed: mine from New Mexico, decorated with a traditional Navajo pattern; and hers, glittery, gold, and modern.
Counting on her manicured fingers, Izzy lists my necessities. “Well, you always have your mini art kit, with the watercolors and tiny little paintbrush. And some emergency makeup, plus that teeny tripod for your phone in case there’s a vlogging opportunity.” She shoots me a wondering look, silently asking if she’s named everything. And of course she has.
Now it’s my turn. Izzy tends to space out a lot, which means she’ll sometimes stuff things in her purse without realizing it. It’s crammed with candy wrappers and hair ties and notes I’ve slipped to her during class, but I know I’m supposed to guess the things she carries around purposefully. “Your Metro Card, those disgusting fruit snacks you’re addicted to —“
“— and you always seem to have gift cards with you. Where do you get those?”
“I’ll never tell,” she smirks, and winks.
#9: What’s her favorite sport?
When Izzy doubles over, giggling, I brace myself for what comes next: “The only sports you do are Netflix marathons.”
I roll my eyes. “I exercise,” I protest. “Sometimes while I’m binge watching Stranger Things. It’s called multitasking.”
She doesn’t, Izzy mouths at the camera. I knock my sock-clad feet against hers, like Shut up!
“I’m actually an athlete,” she announces. There’s a proud glow on her cheeks. “I do ballet. And anyone who says it’s not a real sport is just jealous.”
“OK, Izzy, last question,” I say, peering at the laptop screen. “You ready?” After she nods yes, I read aloud, “‘What do you like most about her?’”
“Oh, that’s a hard one!” she gasps. She knits her eyebrows together as she considers it. “But, hmm, I think . . . I like everything about Saige. That’s my answer.”
I feel my cheeks start to grow hot, so I clamp my hand over my mouth, as if that’s going to hide it. “I love how sweet you are,” I manage to croak out from between my fingers. “Just like that.”
Recovering myself, I throw my arm around Izzy’s shoulders, and we beam at the camera. “Thanks for joining us! Make sure to check out my BFF’s channel, IzzySquizzy, and like, comment, and subscribe. Stay fabulous!”