Today (or tomorrow, really) we celebrate our Author's birthday. Her friend Rachel (and a crucial part of the TEOMF team) wrote a faux celebrity interview for her 18th birthday. We felt it was appropriate to post here. 

At Pizza Hut with Jocelyn Chambers

“Can we meet over pizza?” That’s the first thing Jocelyn Chambers asks me as we’re arranging our rendezvous over the phone. Even though I’m lactose-intolerant and rarely eat pizza, I let her know that yes, we’ll meet over pizza and I’ll probably bring something I can eat. I ask if her if she minds, and she says, “No, not at all.” We agree to meet after her concert at the Civic Center in Portland, Maine and go to the nearest Pizza Hut location. I get myself a ticket to her concert, despite the fact that I rarely attend concerts. But I love symphonies. I witness Jocelyn put on one of the most raw, emotional, and epiphany-producing shows I’ve seen in a long time before I meet her outside. We hug and greet each other; it’s the first time we’ve met in person, but we talk like we’re just old friends catching up. Jocelyn is nearly six feet tall in heels, towering over my five-foot-two stature, and she dresses like 1950s pinup glory. Her hair and makeup are impeccable. She has a soothing, slightly raspy that’s half fairy princess and half film noir siren. “So how about that pizza?” She asks with a breathless smile. We get in my car and I drive her to Pizza Hut.

Jocelyn is nothing short of talented. She’s dabbled not only in film composing, but in writing, photography, blogging, painting, singing, short film directing and poetry. She works hard at everything she does, and it’s paid off; her book The Era of Mixed Feelings, which features contributions from other teenagers describing their experiences as teenagers, has received endless accolades in the book industry. Not only that, but she scored an Oscar nomination for composing the score to the coming-of-age drama A Word Made Flesh, making her the first black woman to earn that honor. “I’m still reeling over it,” she says. “It almost seems unreal. Like it’s just a dream or something.”

Once we get to Pizza Hut, Jocelyn orders a personal pizza that takes nearly forever to come out, as is tradition with pizza hut, and she does not hesitate to dig right in. We sit in silence for a little bit, Jocelyn eating her pizza and me eating a leftover veggie burger that I brought with me, but it doesn’t feel like an awkward silence desperate to be filled. It’s like we have nonverbally communicated that right now, eating comes first and talking will come later. When we’re finished with our meals, I ask her how she’s been lately. “Busy,” she says without skipping a heartbeat. “But it’s a good kind of busy. I’m doing what I love and I couldn’t be happier about that.” One thing’s for sure, she’s keeping herself occupied while anticipating the Academy Awards coming up in a month; she’s been performing concerts at multiple locations around the country, making her debut performance at the Madison Square Garden in two days, updating her Tumblr blog with stunning photography and profound quotes, and documenting her strong outfit/hair/makeup game on Instagram. Even what Jocelyn does in her spare time isn’t done in a mediocre fashion; she’s fully and completely in love with what she does. It’s that full-on passion for everything she does that has earned her an Oscar nomination and a spot on the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. “People have always told me, ‘Jocee you can’t do that, Jocee that’s not possible.’” She says about the people back home in Texas. “But they were wrong. When I show up at the Oscars, I’ll look straight into the camera and smile and wave to the people who put me down. I don’t believe them anymore. At this point in my life, I feel like I can do anything.”

Happy birthday, Jocelyn. We love you.