If you’re going to quote me on anything, it’s this: Private people have something to hide.
I understand the desire and need to keep things personal but I certainly don’t relate to it. I’m not a private person. I believe that experiences—good and bad — are meant to be shared as a way to bring people together and create a legacy. That’s why I write the way I write, and speak the way I speak. But it was a much different story 15 years ago.
In my early teens, I was introverted, unsure and meek — until I met Anna Von Frances nee Anstey-Porter. You might recognize her as one of the panelists from MuchMusic’s: Video on Trial, or as a bolded name in Shinan Govani’s gossip column. Her official job is the Don of Pink Mafia, a popular promotion company that focuses on the party end of entertainment. I know her as Porno, her high school nickname, and she is one of my biggest influences. I can certainly thank her for helping me build my voice.
She was unlike other girls in high school. She really stood out. Anna was the most outspoken, brazen, crass, controversial, and intelligent 14-year-old I had ever seen. I immediately wanted to be her friend. And when that happened, I morphed from an insecure, self-conscious, soft-spoken, unsure teen into an outspoken, brazen, crass, controversial, and intelligent 14-year-old. It was in me before, I just never had the courage to unleash it. Anna changed that. I called her in Toronto recently to talk about the girls we once were and the history of our friendship.
Me: What’s your first memory of me?
Anna Von Frances: I don’t know what I thought when I first saw you because I spent so many years in therapy erasing those years from my life but I do know that I always felt that you were smart, funny, beautiful, and great but I hated your friends. I identified with you as wanting to fit in and I hated the way they treated you in that they made you feel like you were on the other side of the glass looking in.
Me: I was thinking the other day about who the most influential people in my life are, aside from my parents and Chris (my best friend.) I came up with (astrologer) Rob Brezny, because I’ve made so many life decisions based on his column, (an ex-boyfriend) because I’d be in a very different place if I hadn’t met him and in terms of my teen years, you. You had this confidence I’d never seen before. And I started to mimic that. Us being friends was such a huge part of my development.
AVF: That’s flattering.
Me: It was also a volatile relationship. Do you remember that part?
AVF: Yeah, but teenagers are volatile. I think I was brash and outspoken as a way not to feel awkward.
Me: People had opinions about you.
AVF: Of course they did. I had tits and I wasn’t sorry for myself. Everyone hates a woman who doesn’t get on her knees and grovel. My mother didn’t raise me that way. And I was unbelievably beautiful when I was younger. (NOTE: She really was. And still is.) I was a ten-alarm-fire babe, huge tits, 95 pounds with a C-cup and I was a straight A student who had opinions and wasn’t afraid to tell people I liked to sleep with women. I wasn’t ashamed to say I liked girls. That’s why people had opinions of me. I had brains and boobs and I wasn’t sorry. I’m still not sorry.
Me: Did you know you were my first girl kiss?
AVF: Oh really? Oh, Elly, your teenage development was the most awkward thing ever.
Me: Do you not remember my first girl kiss?
AVF: I remember we kissed.
Me: Do you remember where it was?
AVF: No. I feel like you were dating someone or something.
Me: I’m not sure about that part, probably though. It was in a basement of a party in a washroom and you asked me if I’d ever kissed a girl and I said no and you kissed me.
AVF: I’ve erased all my memories from high school. They weren’t my glory days —
Me: They weren’t glory days for a lot of people.
AVF: The irony is that I’m so much the same person as I was then. I haven’t really changed much. Other people have just caught up.
Me: Have you ever gotten in trouble for being outspoken?
AVF: Yeah, I put my foot in my mouth all the time.
Me: What have you learned from it?
AVF: To quote the new “Karate Kid” movie, “It’s not so much about how you get knocked down, it’s about coming back up.” It doesn’t matter that you say the wrong thing. It’s how you deal with it after. If you own up to your mistakes, apologize and take steps to rectify so it doesn’t happen again, then who cares? I never understood why I’m the kind of person who’s been held to all my mistakes. Whatever, I have a big mouth.
Elianna Lev has a real fancy new website that you should bookmark and visit frequently: www.eliannalev.com
To learn more about Anna and Pink Mafia, click here.