Fact: growing up is tough without an older sibling. As the oldest of four, I know all there is to know about being a big sister, but I was always envious of those who had one to call their own. Had I had one, I would have spent far less time philosophizing about getting my period, what high school is really like, the art of french-kissing, etc. etc. etc. Instead, I had to ride the waves of youth not knowing what to expect; relying on fictional big sisters to teach me the ins and outs of being a teenage girl. This is an ode to those who helped me on my path to womanhood.
Cher Horowitz, Clueless
Cher may be mega rich and a tad superficial, but the girl has a good heart. And a dream closet. Through her, I learned the values of friendship, not settling for just any guy, and colour-coordinated outfits. Not to mention that it’s okay to be 16 and totally clueless.
Penny Lane, Almost Famous
Almost Famous is one of those movies I could watch over and over again and never get sick of. It’s full of compelling characters—the most notable being Penny Lane, who is mysterious, fashionable, caring, and charismatic. She also gave good advice: “I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt, if ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.”
Amanda Zimm and Elizabeth “Busy” Maria Teresa Carlita Ramone, Ready Or Not
In elementary school, my after-school ritual was to run home, grab a bunch of snacks, and watch Ready Or Not. Amanda and Busy are pretty much complete opposites, which helped the series appeal to different types of girls and cover a wide range of topics. These included everything from getting your period to dealing with divorced parents to discovering a sex manual.
Caitlin Ryan, Degrassi Junior High / Degrassi High
Since we both shared the same name, brown hair, a freckle on our chin, and a passion for writing, I felt an instant connection with Caitlin Ryan. She is confident and opinionated and taught me that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. I was also a sucker for the Caitlin-Joey romance.
Enid Coleslaw, GhostWorld
After watching Ghost World for the first time, my best friend and I decided that we were just like Enid and her best friend Rebecca (I had to dye my hair black, though—and did). Enid is badass and not afraid to tell it like it is, yet insecure at the same time. She was in a rush to grow up, yet also afraid of change—which is pretty much what being a teenager is all about, right?