INTERVIEW: Why the Cimorelli sisters are my new role models
I sat in front of a booth in New York City’s Highline Ballroom, patiently awaiting my one-on-six interview with the sisters of Cimorelli. OK, let’s be real: I was impatiently waiting for them. How could I contain my excitement while preparing to interview a six-sister band that got famous on YouTube and won a Teen Choice Award?
Though I prepared beforehand, I wasn't really sure what to expect from the interview. Would one of them do all the talking? How do I get them to open up to me? These thoughts swirled in my head as I heard them approaching, but my worries were immediately soothed when I looked up to see their genuine smiles.
They introduced themselves and each shook my hand one by one, grinning ear to ear. Wow, these girls are rays of sunshine, I thought to myself. And then they did something I wasn't expecting: They asked me about myself. Even though I was supposed to be the one asking the questions, they treated me as more than just another annoying journalist asking them the same old interview questions. It was so refreshing, being on the receiving end of the questions for once, and they wholeheartedly cared about getting to know me a bit before diving into their interview.
We started with the easy stuff and gradually dove into deeper, more personal subjects, just as I conduct most of my interviews. But this didn't really feel like an interview — it was more of a casual, fun conversation. These sisters made me feel comfortable and at ease, as if I had been their gal pal for years.
I was grateful that they didn't mind breaching more personal topics, and they were open to discussing their experiences and struggles. When I brought up the hot topic of body image, I was thankful that I had remembered to hit the "record" button on my phone because these girls offered up some memorable and useful words of wisdom. Nineteen-year-old Amy jumped in and said, "For me, I feel like we're so much more than just our physical being. That's not who we are. We're our brains, we're our souls, we're our minds, we're our thoughts, we're our personality. We're a whole being, but a lot of times, women and men — especially in the entertainment industry — they're all reduced to bodies and objects, and that's not right and that's not what we are." I couldn't have said it better myself, honestly.
This is such a great nugget of wisdom for every woman — young and old — to keep in her back pocket to think about. We all have those days when our hair looks like a mess or we can't find an outfit that looks cute. But Amy proved a great point. There's so much more to us than our appearance, and sometimes we just need that little reminder as we internally freak out about our frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows or small butt. I immediately felt comforted when Amy said this, and it really just put everything into perspective for me.
As Amy talked about this, her sisters all nodded and smiled intently and encouragingly. They mostly took turns answering my questions, usually with the oldest, Christina, taking the reins and speaking up first. But for other questions, they all wanted to talk at once, such as when I asked about whether they experience any negativity online. To this, they all answered with a unanimous groan and resounding "yes." But rather than drone on about how they've experienced cyberbullying, they took a positive spin on it and made me realize how important it is to think differently about these types of situations. Lisa started by saying, "When is the last time you were having a really, really good day and you were really happy with yourself and then you just felt this strong need to insult someone? Never. It doesn't happen. So, anyone who's trying to bring you down has probably been having a really bad day or there's something bad happening in their lives." With a warm smile, Katherine quickly chimed in, adding, "Try to give people the benefit of the doubt."
With cyberbullying affecting tons of teens these days, young guys and gals alike should look to Cimorelli for some inspiration to get through it. Their empathy is off the charts, and they reminded me of the importance of brushing off the haters and keeping your chin up. And even beyond the topic of cyberbullying, they have this awesome ability to turn anything negative into a positive. I think even the most cynical of people could be inspired by them.
Though I steered them through some tough topics, we wrapped up on a positive note when I asked them each to pick another sister and describe her biggest strength in one word. They all looked around the booth at each other, grinning as they thought about how they could possibly narrow it down to one word. Christina started by saying, "Lisa's is awareness. She'll be aware of something that's going on before I'll be aware of it." Lisa was next, saying, "Dani's biggest strength is how she can forgive and get over things really easily." They all chimed in with a few "mm-hmms," nodding in agreement. Then Katherine explained, "Lauren's greatest strength is that she's extremely genuine. Talking to Lauren is refreshing because it's not fake at all."
OK, seriously... could these sisters get any cuter?
Next up was Dani, who said, "Katherine's biggest strength is her words because she has this great vocabulary and she uses it in so many good ways. She's so good at apologizing and communicating and stuff like that." Lauren looked at Amy and thought long and hard, then said, "Amy's strength is that she's like a ray of sunshine. Amy can always brighten up anything." At this point, they were really making me wish I had sisters because of how much they love and care for each other. Lastly, Amy looked over at her oldest sister and said, "I don't wanna be cliché and say that Christina's greatest strength is her leadership, but it kinda is." Lauren couldn't resist chiming in and added, "Christina's greatest strength also is her fun facilitator abilities. She can make anything fun." They all laughed and nodded in agreement, recalling memories of boring car rides when Christina took over and spiced things up a bit. OK, so maybe their answers weren't restricted to just one word, but gosh, were they adorable answers anyway.
Before I knew it, it was time to wrap up with one last question so the girls could prep for their concert later that day, so I asked about what fans can expect in the coming months from the band. It's looking like their future is as bright as their positive attitudes. They just landed an awesome partnership with Hasbro, Inc. to create an original anthem, "What I Do," for the company's newest product, DohVinci. These nifty art and design kits are redefining the arts and crafts game with little plastic devices that shoot out Play-Doh, making for a unique way to let your (oh, and I guess your kids') imagination run wild. With songs that focus on expressing oneself, this was a partnership made in heaven, if you ask me.
Christina added, "Two things: Tons of new music coming out and tons of touring. Those are the two things we're more passionate about, and we just wanna do those for as long as we can and as much as we possibly can." And with that, the girls politely thanked me, asking if I was coming to their concert later that day. When I told them I wasn't able to attend, they said they were bummed and wished we could've hung out more. Wow, these girls are too sweet, I thought. And the best part was that it was so genuine. I snapped a few photos and headed back home, feeling empowered by their words of wisdom (and jamming to their song "All My Friends Say").
It was obvious to me that I had just met six amazing young women whose positive vibes could turn anyone's frown upside down. What stood out to me the most is the fact that they're not going to let the music industry's standards morph them as they continue to grow as artists. Christina explained that she's had to deny managers' requests to put the older girls in more revealing outfits simply because they're older. So if you're a mom looking for a new role model (or six, for that matter) for your daughter, I think the answer is quite clear. All of their music is totally kid-approved, but I can guarantee that you'll also be jamming to one of their songs after one listen.