“What you are is a fucking tragedy, Simon Snow. You literally couldn’t be a bigger mess.“ He tries to kiss me, but I pull back- "And you like that?” “I love it.” He says “Why?” “Because we match.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Carry On
I want an episode where Gabriel tries to Akumatize Marinette.
As in: “on purpose”. He did it to Nino, he did it to Simon, he did it to Santa, he can do it to anyone.
And so Gabriel meets Marinette, this passionate kid who really loves fashion, pastel pink, and banana-haired young models, as she is visiting Adrien, and he decides to ruin her day, because it should be about as easy as stealing jewelry from teenagers candy from a baby.
Gabriel has mastered ‘unpleasant jerk’, practically has a PHD in it. It’s second nature. When you look up 'ass’ in the dictionary, you find his picture next to a stock photo of a donkey. So he tunes it up to 'extreme ass’, aka ‘his normal’, and destroys Marinette’s hopes and dreams by, I don’t know, telling her she has no future in fashion except maybe as a costume designer for underfunded live action superhero shows.
clingy drunk: he hugs magnus from behind and doesn’t let go, and
when magnus sits down, alec plops on his lap and wraps his arms
around his neck, burying his face in magnus’s neck. when jace
laughs at him, alec tries to punch him and misses.
talkative drunk: every single deeply-held secret suddenly comes
spilling out. alec reveals that he thinks jace’s hair is weird,
that clary and he watch friends together every tuesday, that
izzy singing sounds like a dying demon, and that magnus can do
this thing with his tongue – that’s when magnus shuts him up with
hungry drunk: he asks magnus to conjure up belgian waffles, then a
bacon cheeseburger, then lobster, then ramen from that one little
shop in tokyo, then more alcohol, and inhales it all
sentimental drunk: alec tells jace how much he loves him, and tells
izzy how much he loves her and he’s sorry about the yin fen, and tells clary how she’s actually
tolerable now, and tells simon… whatever and tells raphael he’s
sorry for punching him and tells magnus sorry for almost marrying lydia and sorry for the soul sword
again even though you’ve told me not to apologize and sorry for the
dumb shit i’ve said to you but also i love you i love you i love
you did you know i love you?
judgmental drunk: he sits with magnus in a corner and laughs at how
idiotic everybody looks when they try to dance. and then magnus goes
up to dance too and alec’s jaw drops to the floor as he watches his
boyfriend, and then he gets all “grabby hands” with magnus (see
“i’m not drunk” drunk: insists he’s not drunk even after too
much gin and tonic, laments everybody’s irresponsibility, insists
i’m the head of the institute and i have to take
care of you guys all the time, but then is obviously drunk (see
any other drunk option)
sleepy drunk: three drinks in, his head is pillowed on magnus’s
shoulder, eyes half closed, and moments later he’s snuffling as he
sleeps, a little smile on his face while his cheeks still glow red
and a chuckling magnus kisses his forehead
Do you ever remember how Baz thought that Simon had broken up with Agatha because he could never imagine anyone voluntarily breaking up with Simon, so he tried to assure Simon that there was nothing going on between Baz and Agatha, so that they could get back together again, even though that would hurt Baz, because after all, the only thing he wants is for Simom to be happy? Because I do and aAaaAAahHhsfhglk
snowbaz soulmates au where the ink you write on your skin appears on your soulmate's skin and vice versa
Okay, I really let my imagination run away with my words here. :D I really love this trope. But what if we took this a step further? What if, instead of soul mates, this was actually a spell that could be used to communicate with someone from far away?
Sometime around seventh year, this spell is taught in Magickal Words. And you get forced with a partner to learn it. Baz and Simon get partnered up, of course. And Simon botches the spell and makes it relatively permanent.
At first, neither of them really do anything about it. Simon might occasionally draw a stupid face or something on his arm just to piss off Baz. But Baz makes certain to no longer make notes to himself on his skin. It’s like this for almost a month. Until Simon goes on a mission for the Mage, and he receives dozens of cuts all over his arm and a few across his chest. It isn’t until he’s checking his cuts on his way back that he notices something written on his wrist.
Snow. Are you hurt?
Simon is really confused by this at first. Because why on earth would Baz be writing to him when he never has before? He immediately searches for a pen.
I’m fine, he writes back. Why? His handwriting is atrocious compared to Baz’s.
Suddenly, all these small arrows start appearing on Simon’s skin, each one pointing to his cuts. He looks under his shirt at his chest; there are some there, too.
I’m covered in scars, appears underneath his writing.
Fuck. It suddenly makes sense. He must have really fucked up the spell, and now Baz is getting all these marks on his skin where Simon’s cuts are.
I was cut, Simon writes. Do they hurt you?
Not much, Baz writes back. Be careful next time.
Simon doesn’t write back. He doesn’t know what to say. They don’t speak about it at all when he gets back. Nothing happens again until a few weeks later, over Christmas break.
Simon is sitting on his bed at Watford, trying to enjoy the quiet, when a large scar appears along the side of his neck and over his collarbone. He doesn’t notice it immediately, but begins to feel a burning sensation there. It isn’t until he goes into the bathroom to shower that he sees it. It terrifies him to see such a scar that large. He immediately runs out of the bathroom and grabs a pen.
Baz, what happened?
Dueling. The reply is almost instant.
Did you lose?
This almost makes Simon shiver. Baz so easily admitting defeat. In the form of one beautifully written word on his skin.
Simon walks back to the bathroom and stares at the scar in the mirror. It still burns. Burns like magick. Baz must have been hit pretty hard to have a scar left like this. He traces it up and down, wondering what it must look like against Baz’s grey skin.
Does it hurt? Came another set of words on the back of his hand.
It burns, Simon writes. Are you in pain?
I can handle it, forms along his right hand. Simon snorts at this. Of course Baz would be ambidextrous. Simon searches along his arm for a place to write but it’s all full of words. He then looks down at his legs. He’s wearing boxers, so he can write there. He’s not sure if Baz will see it immediately, but he decides to write there anyway.
I’m not left-handed, Baz, he writes. And then because of the extra space on his leg, he adds, I can’t write on my right arm.
So you decide to write on your leg instead? Idiotic, Snow. The reply appears on Simon’s leg, right under his own words. And it was almost instant again. Simon tries not to wonder if Baz is actually wearing pants at this moment.
You wrote on your own leg too, Simon writes.
To prove a point that it’s idiotic.
How is it idiotic if you’re doing it too?
There isn’t an instant reply this time, and Simon realizes they’ve written all the way from his knee cap to the top of his thigh. Something they could only do if they’re both not wearing pants. Simon really tries not to think about it.
(I don’t know what this was, I’m sorry. But maybe I’ll turn it into a real fic one day :D)
what can you say
about making Simon a shadowhunter, Mrs Clare? it seemed odd to me that after a
whole series of battling for equality between species/races, the downworlder
had to become a shadowhunter. not only he basically ceased being a minority, he
also became a part of a privileged community, and it just didn’t sit well with
Just for the record — I’m not Mrs. Clare; there is no Mr. Clare.
I am married, but my pen name is not my husband’s property. :-)
I think this is a very interesting question that brings up a ton
of issues, but there are some aspects of it I’d love to clarify — for instance,
I am puzzled at calling Simon “the Downworlder.” Is he more a Downworlder than
Magnus? Things like that actually are really important when discussing stories — if he were the only Downworlder in the story, that would be one discussion, but he isn’t, and therefore his story does not speak for the experience of all Downworlders or even a small fraction.
I am sorry you were surprised negatively by Simon’s story in
TMI. Simon never wanted to be a vampire — he always hated it, and unlike
Raphael and Lily, he never joined the community of vampires but instead spent all his time with Shadowhunters. Being a Daylighter
had already changed him from being any kind of regular Downworlder, as did
bearing the Mark of Cain: both made him even less “the Downworlder” and more of an anomaly. It also separated
him from the other Downworlders, who treated him with distrust. In my
experience, very few readers expected Simon to remain a vampire, given that it
was something he never wanted or got used to, and that it was not his dream.
More on that in a bit.
As to the question, to me the suggestion that Shadowhunters are
“the privileged” and Dowworlders are as a block “the marginalized” — instead of
being a complicated metaphor in which they sometimes but not
always stand in for people who have had their rights curtailed — overly simplifies the situation. It is an argument seems to ignore the fact that in fact, humans exist along axes of privilege and marginalization: that people can be privileged in one way and marginalized in another and that when Simon becomes first a Downworlder and then a mundane and then a Shadowhunter, he is not moving clearly from marginalization to privilege, but rather exchanging some types of privilege for others (he remains white as a Downworlder, and is a Daylighter), and exchanging some types of marginalization for others (the marginalization of being a Downworlder for the marginalization of being a mundane-born Shadowhunter and a Jew in a world where Shadowhunters are meant to have one religion).
Because the argument disclaims spectrums of privilege and marginalization, it also suggests that the world of the Shadowhunter Chronicles
is one in which there are no gay or POC or trans people in existence; one in
which there is no racism, homophobia, ableism, cis privilege,
or bigotry against the neuroatypical. But that is both problematic erasure, and also not true of these
books. Downworlders don’t stand in for people of color or
LGBTQ+ people because people of color and LGBTQ+ people are in the books; they have not
been subsumed into metaphor. (I know the showrunners said there was no
homophobia in the Shadowhunter world, only warlock-phobia, but that’s the show,
not the books, and it has a different world and world-building. I notice this
is a question I get since the show came out, and I sometimes wonder if it’s a
question of confusion between the two different universes? It’s easy for that to
Fantasy prejudice metaphors are complex and confusing and they
rarely work as a one to one comparison (in other words, there is a difference
between saying that this fantasy
situation is reminiscent of this real world thing and saying this fantasy situation is exactly the same
as this real world thing. For instance, one of the really interesting
things about True Blood is that it made many deliberate parallels between
“vampire rights” and GLBT+ rights — referring to vampires “coming out of the
coffin” and “God Hates Fangs” on church signs. However, its vampires were also often
violent predators who killed and ate people. The argument that Simon “basically ceased being a minority” (while,
somehow, remaining Jewish) is similar
to making an argument that True Blood was saying that gay people kill and eat
their neighbors; I’m fairly sure in fact, they weren’t. They were reaching for
a resonance — the echo of a real world situation that would give a layer of
relatability and meaning to their points about difference. But they were not
creating a literal “these things are the same” comparison or they wouldn’t have
had vampires chewing off people’s heads.
So: are Downworlders discriminated against? Yes, sometimes, by
Shadowhunters, who are a small specific group. Do they “stand in” for a
specific minority group? No, they cannot, because they are accessible as a
metaphor to any marginalized group or groups whose rights have been abridged.
Also: the world at large does not discriminate against Downworlders because
they do not know they exist, nor do they privilege Shadowhunters because they
don’t know they exist either. It would be one thing if this was a high fantasy
and Shadowhunters and Downworlders were all there was, but these books are set
in our world, and the characters experience real-world bigotry, racism,
homophobia etc. because of it.
Alec sighed. “Sorry to
wreck your vision of our happy family. I know you want to think Dad’s fine with
me being gay, but he’s not.”
“But if you don’t
tell me when people say things like that to you, or do things to hurt
you, then how can I help you?” Simon could feel Isabelle’s agitation vibrating
through her body. “How can I—”
“Iz,” Alec said
tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible
things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never
asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and
I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else.
I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked
into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would
ever inherit my blue eyes now.” He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took
a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s. “It’s not like a stab
wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”
“He hurt you. It was a
long time ago, and I know he tried to make up for it, but—” Bat shrugged.
“Maybe I’m not so forgiving.”
Maia exhaled. “Maybe
I’m not either,” she said. “The town I grew up in, all these spoiled thin rich
white girls, they made me feel like crap because I didn’t look like them. When
I was six, my mom tried to throw me a Barbie-themed birthday party. They make a
black Barbie, you know, but they don’t make any of the stuff that goes with
her—party supplies and cake toppers and all that. So we had a party for me with
a blonde doll as the theme, and all these blonde girls came, and they all
giggled at me behind their hands.”
If we carry the theory through (Shadowhunters
are THE privileged, Downworlders are THE marginalized) that means that Alec, as
a gay Shadowhunter, is more privileged than Simon, a straight vampire. That Ty,
who would be locked in a mental institution if the Clave
discovered his autism, is privileged beyond white, rich, immortal and powerful
Malcolm Fade. It’s saying that when Cristina encounters a wealthy, white,
straight, misogynist male werewolf in Lady Midnight who tries to
force sexual attention on her, she, a Latina woman, is the one
who is the privileged character because she is a Shadowhunter and he is a
Downworlder (though Sterling has arguably, given that he lives outside the
supernatural world, never experienced a whit of prejudice because of it.) So I’m sure you can see where the problem lies.
It also erases Simon’s Judaism entirely. Stating
without caveat that Simon has become “part of a privileged community” means
ignoring the fact that Simon is Jewish; that he decides in Tales that he will
continue to practice, and that he was the only Jewish protag written by two
Jewish authors that I’m aware of having been on the bestseller lists last year.
He didn’t think about being a
vampire as he was preparing to transform — he never wanted to be one or
consented to be one, nor was he part of the community, as Raphael constantly
pointed out — though he does later think of having previously been a Downworlder
when interacting with vampires and Shadowhunter prejudices. He thought of the
important thing to him: his Judaism, which he both couldn’t and wouldn’t give
up. To me it is personally painful to think that for any reader, Simon’s status
as a vampire is more significant than his status as a practicing Jew.
I think sometimes it is possible to invest yourself so heavily
in a metaphor that you forget the real world that surrounds the metaphor and
the flexibility of metaphors in general. The Shadowhunter/Downworlder situation
could stand in for the systemically privileged
and marginalized of our world: sometimes it does. However it also can stand in
for the way totalitarian governments abuse their own people: there are echoes
in Shadowhunter history and current events of the Cambodian genocide, of
Stalinist violence against intellectuals and resistors. There are also echoes
of police brutality — what Shadowhunters have is the privilege of the Law, specifically: the Law is what allows them
to enact bigotry in the name of justice, and when they abuse their jobs, it has
resonances of the way police can abuse their jobs and use the privilege
conferred on them by their authority to murder and abuse the helpless and
marginalized. There are also echoes of the way soldiers carry out immoral
orders given by superiors: the Shadowhunters are taught to be obedient to the
Clave, and one of the ways we know who our Team Good is in any TSC series that
they question that obedience. All of these are echoes and resonances: they are
not saying that the Shadowhunters are
the police, or the US military, or the Khmer Rouge; the resonances provide
context and hopefully add a sense of realism to a situation that is fantastical
in its nature.
(It’s also a wise idea not to so totally buy what the
Shadowhunters are selling about themselves. They think they’re special and
better and awesome, but the books constantly question and problematize that.
Shadowhunters also pay a high high price for their runes and their sense of
superiority: they die young and often and experience brutal constant violence
and the pressures of a repressive society that allows for little divergence
from an idealized norm.)
There are reasons that the Downworlders were never constructed
to be a specific marginalized group and their situation was never meant to be
limited in its relatability to one situation— for instance, it’s very hard to
not look askance at the argument that Downworlders are meant to be specific “race”
when you can become a Downworlder and then stop being one: when you can, as
Simon does, change what kind of magical creature you are, because there is
absolutely no correlation between that and what race or ethnicity means in our
So yes, Simon becomes a Shadowhunter: however, what I don’t see
acknowledged here is not just his ethnicity and religion, but the fact that he
becomes a Shadowhunter partly because he is aware of the
prejudice of Shadowhunters, and fights against the bigotry they show not just
to Downworlders but also to their own. He is part of Magnus and Alec’s
Shadowhunter-Downworlder Alliance. He continues to work for change from within the
system, arguably something almost no one else could do, because there are
almost no other Downworlders who have become Shadowhunters. It is odd to me to
consider Simon as simply ascending to a height of blithe privilege when he is
fact much more like someone who has become a police officer in order to root
out corruption and racism in the police, and brings his own knowledge of
marginalization (which he still experiences) with him.
That is why Simon in Tales
from the ShadowhunterAcademy is
constantly fighting and bending the rules in the name of his evolving social
conscience, though I understand if you haven’t read TfTSA. One of the things
about having had a flood of new readers enter fandom because of the TV show is
that I’ve seen a lot of arguments based on the idea that TMI is the entire
story of Downworlders and Shadowhunters, or the entire story of these
characters. I see people talking about characters getting a happy or sad ending
in TMI even when those characters go on to feature heavily in the sequel books
and could by no reasonable account be considered to have any ending, happy or
sad — unless you thought TMI were the only Shadowhunters books that existed
rather than a chunk of a larger ongoing mythology. In no sense has Simon’s
story ended: you have no idea if he will remain a Shadowhunter or not. Perhaps
if you consider the fact that TMI is not a story that has ended for Simon, but
rather one that continues, the fact that he has now been two magical species
and might well move on to become another will sit less poorly with you? After
all, this is not “after a whole series of
battling for equality between species/races” this is “in the middle of a whole series of battling for equality between
species/races.” Usually the middle of a story isn’t the place it’s best to
draw all your conclusions from. :-)
Very early on in the yearly 5e campaign after a side quest where one player’s character got four boyfriends (a young elvish bard guy with several very high rolls), the other players followed suit in trying to make relationships with NPCs and it was established that pretty much every NPC in-universe is bi or pan for the sake of convenience when rolling to flirt. This had the unintentional consequence of making *literally every character in the campaign non-straight*. After the entire campaign was over several players were on a one-off mission and the following exchange occurred. The session was nearly over as we’d just found the person we were sent to look for.
Simon: So the girl is able to walk and stuff?
DM: No, she’s too weak.
Alex: I cast cure wounds on her.
DM: Yeah, she—literally any amount of HP gets her walking, no need to roll.
Simon: Okay, so we… take her back home, the barkeep was her dad right? This was the daughter?
DM: Yeah, they look a lot alike. She also tells you so when you ask.
[a few minutes later]
Simon: I wanna roll to flirt with her.
DM: Yeah there it is. That—I was waiting all mission for this one. The DC is high dude, just warning you.
Simon: Cmon dice… *nat 19*
DM: That’ll do it! Alrighty then!
Alex: Wait, dude, did—did you just make the first straight character in this universe?
DM: …Oh my god I did.
Alex: *joking* We needed the diversity, really, the believability was suffering.
DM: Finally! First one ever!
Simon: I’m a girl.
Simon: I’m using my elf lady, remember?
[Pause, then laughter]
DM: So close, and yet so far!
Simon: WE’VE GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN, FOLKS.
DM: I tried, I really did. I—I tried to make that evil wizard and his son straight, but nah, never works. Always ends up like this. You guys started this.
Alex: Every time.
I am not afraid of you, not afraid at all. I survived worse than you. You are nothing but SS with small feet.
Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor, French then-minister of health and author of the 1975 law legalising abortion in France, also former female president of the European Parliament, in response to the far-right commandos who tried to interrupt her meeting in 1979.
April Fools’ Day… the Snowbaz possibilities are endless. Also: @snowbaz-feda looks great and everyone should go check it out
you do to him?’
girlfriend has followed me out of the dining hall, her hands on her hips and
her pretty eyes glaring.
know what you’re talking about,’ I say, arching one eyebrow, and it’s true; I
have no fucking clue what she’s on about, except that it’s about Snow.
Everything is about Snow.
isn’t your doing?’ Her eyes are still squinted suspiciously.
can’t take credit for whatever has befallen Snow, but I’d love to hear about
it.’ I pretend that I’m not worried. I tell myself that I’m glad if he’s hurt.
huffs. ‘Just stay away from him, Baz.’
going to be difficult, given that we share a room,’ I drawl. I suppose it’s no
use telling her that I can never get far enough away from him. (I can never get
close enough, either.)
serious. I know you’re enemies and all, but that’s just politics. If you break
his heart I swear Penelope will curse you so hard you’ll still be screaming
from across the Veil. Hell, I’ll even do it myself.’ She’s practically spitting
fire at this point.
what the fuck are you on about?’
and crosses her arms. ‘Simon broke up with me.’
I try to
squash down the hopeful feeling in my chest. It’s not like this is going to do
me any good. (Anything is possible). (No, not this.)
condolences,’ I say drily. ‘Or perhaps I should deliver them to Snow.’
up with me because of you,’ she
snaps. ‘Because of his feelings for you.’
me?’ I try not to let it show on my face. How fast my heart is beating. How
much I want this to be true.
don’t use this to hurt him,’ she insists. ‘That would be low, even for you.
Just leave him alone.’
I’m still stuck on the part where you said Snow has feelings for me?’ My voice
sounds too high.
well, so am I,’ Wellbelove mutters. ‘I mean it, Baz. Don’t hurt him.’
makes you think I can?’ Either Wellbelove is mistaken, or I must be hallucinating.
Snow can’t have feelings for me. Snow hates me. He thinks I’m every kind of
evil he’s ever known.
he told me,’ she says. ‘He says he’s in love with you, and I sure hope for his
sake that it’s not true. I know you don’t think I’m much of a threat but I
promise you, if you hurt someone I care about, I’ll fucking end you.’
I say. I’m not scared of Wellbelove, but the way she’s looking at me right now,
maybe I judged her too quickly. I want to tell her that she doesn’t need to
worry, because I’m so in love with Simon Snow that even on good days I think
it’s going to kill me, and all of this sounds way too good to be true.
it,’ she says, and turns to walk away.
I manage to choke out, and now that her back is turned, I let the mask fall.
I’m standing rooted to the spot staring after her with what must be a
completely shell-shocked look on my face and – Aleister fucking Crowley.
Snow can’t be in love with me. It’s impossible. It’s brilliant.
back through the door to the dining hall, and I see Wellbelove walk back to her
table, and I realise Snow has been watching for her to come back.
There’s something I’m missing.
she tell me that Snow has feelings for me, if she thinks I’m going to use it to
I remember. Today is the last day of March. And that means tomorrow…
I draw in
a sharp breath. It feels like I’ve been kicked in the gut. Fuck him. I fucking believed her, even if it was just for a minute.
Fuck him for doing this to me. I want to march in there and drag him out of his
chair and beat the living daylights out of him (I don’t. I don’t want to hurt
him). I want to break down and cry, right here in front of the entire school.
Natasha Pitch’s son, the vampire, a heartbroken, sobbing mess.
NPR’s Scott Simon, a genial interviewer, asked Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee and an influential figure on agriculture policy, about Trump’s proposal to make vast cuts to food stamps. Smith posited that the program could be cut in ways that “do not harm the most vulnerable.”
“Well, let me ask you this bluntly: Is every American entitled to eat?” Simon queried.
Smith was stumped. “Well, they — nutrition, obviously, we know is very important. And I would hope that we can look to — ”
Simon interrupted: “Well, not just important, it’s essential for life. Is every American entitled to eat?”
Smith agreed that nutrition “is essential” but continued to ignore the question about whether Americans are entitled to eat.
Simon tried a third time: “So is every American entitled to eat, and is food stamps something that ought to be that ultimate guarantor?”
Once again, the lawmaker demurred: “I think that we know that, given the necessity of nutrition, there could be a number of ways that we could address that.”
There was more, but it all came down to this: In the United States, in 2017, a powerful member of Congress refuses to grant that Americans should be able to count on eating food.
That exchange should put in perspective the real and present danger Trump poses. His undermining of NATO, European alliances and climate-change cooperation poses grave dangers, but those are somewhat abstract. But taking away Americans’ food is very tangible, and a real possibility.
Jace: hey magnus, can i borrow your cat? Simon: what Jace: lewis, quit texting me, i’m trying to talk to magnus Magnus: Jace, you texted the group chat. Not just me. I thought Clary & Simon were teaching you how to use your phone?? 🤔 Clary: i swear i am !! i mean ,, you try teaching him. for all the things he excels in, he’s just awful with mundane technology Simon: shadowhunter culture 🙄 Alec: why are you asking my boyfriend to borrow his cat?? is this not bothering anyone else? Izzy: ^^^ it’s bothering me Jace: i meant to JUST text magnus. duck this Jace: *duck Jace: FUCK Jace: by the angel the ducks have infiltrated even my phone Simon: i can’t believe the “great jace herondale” can be taken down by a duck & some mundane tech Jace: i resent those quotation marks Jace: also, shut up, lewis Clary: 🦆🦆🦆 Alec: clary, if he shows up at my & magnus’s doorstep tonight because he had a nightmare about ducks, i am sending him straight to you Clary: 😳 Clary: 🦆 Simon: 🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆 Izzy: WHY DOES JACE WANT MAGNUS’S CAT Jace: i will not tell you people. i’m calling magnus. i only want to speak to him Simon: lmao he just called me Jace: SHUT UP, LEWIS Izzy: he called me too Magnus: I’m just going to call him, this is ridiculous. Simon: how were iz & alec able to get the hang of their phones quickly but jace is still having trouble? isn’t he supposed to be all-knowing Clary: simon, he’s going to kick your ass Simon: 😋🤓😌😉😉😉 Alec: i think you’ll find that izzy & i excel in most things. jace is just the flashiest of the lightwood siblings Magnus: So I called him. Izzy: and???? why does he want to borrow your cat?? Jace: magnus bane, DO NOT TELL THEM Magnus: I’m sorry, but I must. Izzy: TELL US 🔪🔪🔪 Magnus: He wants to borrow my cat who, in Jace’s words, “has the same hair color as Clary.” Clary: … Simon: HAHAHAHA Alec: by the angel, jace Izzy: jace, do you want to just tell all of us that you’re in love with clary? Jace: NO. i am in love WITH THE CAT Clary: …so you don’t want me to come to the institute to see you tonight? Alec: i’m going to make this easier for you both. clary, he loves you. jace, leave my boyfriend & his cats alone. Jace: i still want to borrow the ducking cat
Request: Hi! Can you do a Simon imagine where y/n is a beauty youtuber or something like that and he does her voiceover for a video please!
A/N: I don’t really watch makeup videos so I’m sorry it took so long and if it’s not super accurate
(Y/n) spun lazily in her chair as she scrolled through her contacts looking for one of her YouTuber guy friends that would be up at this hour. She was supposed to have this video out yesterday but there was a problem with the audio when she tried to record with her microphone.
“Hey, Simon?” (Y/n) asked, putting the phone up to her ear.
“Hey, (y/n). What’s up? And why are you up? It’s 4 in the morning.”
“Could ask the same to you, but I was wondering if you could help me with a video really quick.”
“How can I help? I know nothing about makeup.”
“That’s kinda the point.” (Y/n) said laughing. She could hear Simon sighing and rubbing his face. “You don’t have to put makeup on anyone. Don’t worry.”
“I’m able to come over right?”
(Y/n) pulled her phone out of her pocket as she pulled into Simon’s driveway. She parked behind Vik’s car and texted Simon that she was there. (Y/n) shut the car door and made her way up the front walk. If she was quiet enough and really listened for it, she could hear some of Simon’s friends recording and yelling over games and pack openings. She cradled her laptop in her arms as the door opened, engulfing her in warmth. She forgot how nervous she got around Simon in person…
“Hey.” Simon said stepping aside and gesturing his arm for her to come inside. “What can I help you with?”
“Okay so my microphone isn’t working and I need to do a voiceover for a video I was supposed to have out yesterday. But-” “Why didn’t you call me sooner?”
“I thought you’d be busy!”
“Busy doing what? I can make time for you.”
“Stop it! I want you to do the voiceover though. That’s the thing.” (Y/n) said trying to change the subject quickly. Her hands were shaking.
“Oh God. I said I don’t know anything about makeup!” Simon said slouching slightly as he began walking towards the stairs.
“I know! But it’s kind of a thing on YouTube right now for beauty vloggers to have their boyfr - guy friends - do voice overs for their videos.” (Y/n) said catching herself suddenly as she followed Simon to his room. He laughed slightly.
“You were going to say boyfriend.”
“I mean that’s what it usually is. I just don’t- yeah. You know what? Let’s just drop it.” (Y/n) said feeling sudden dejection.
“Sorry,” Simon said sitting down in his chair, reaching out his hand for (y/n)’s laptop. “So I just need to get this straight before I do it. You want me to watch the video and narrate what I think is going on even if I have no real idea?”
“Great casting choice. Let me tell you.” Simon said before taking a drink of water and pressing record. (Y/n) sat down on the edge of Simon’s bed, trying not to laugh at the mocking voice he was using.
Simon pressed the stop button and turned around with a bewildered face. “You look like you just fought in a war.” (Y/n) said laughing.
“I did! How do you do that? It looks so complicated!”
“It’s really not. It just takes practice.”
“What do you want me to do with the audio file?” Simon said breathlessly.
“Can you just email it to me? I gotta edit it and schedule it and that stuff.” “I gottcha.” Simon said typing on his computer before (y/n) stood up to take her laptop and leave, “Y-you know you can stay. If-if you want.”
“You can stay here.”
“Like for the night or until I finish editing?” (Y/n) asked hesitantly.
“Are you sure?”
(Y/n) was still editing and running through the video even after Simon had gotten into bed. He watched from beside her as she clicked around the screen making sure the audio was synced up before she exported the video, set the thumbnail, and gave the title and description. She was in the midst of typing ‘Day to Night Look | Miniminter Does My Voiceover’ when Simon interrupted her.
“Wait. Change that.”
“Instead of miniminter.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing. It’s just that if you want to change it to boyfriend, I wouldn’t complain.”
The ceremony was beautiful. It was eccentric; bright and modern, everything you could expect from Josh and Freya.
I didn’t get to congratulate the bride until the after party. She had seemed incredibly overwhelmed and busy, and I didn’t want to add to it. I wanted to keep my presence quiet. Once I’d spoke to her, I could go.
When she saw me her jaw dropped. She engulfed me in a hug instantly, her eyes glossing over, tears threatening to ruin her expensive looking makeup.
“Y/n you came! I’m so glad you came!”
I reciprocated the hug. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Frey.”
When she eventually pulled away I held her at arms length, admiring her dress. It was a beautiful floor length ensemble, eggshell white and classy, accentuating her newfound curves perfectly. She’d gotten somewhat thicker in the years since I’d seen her. It suited her unbelievably; maybe that’s what being in love does to a person.
“Well I’m glad you came,” she spoke before I could compliment her, making me realise I’d previously been silent, and I couldn’t help but feel a little rude. “I have something to tell you.”
My heart rate sped a little as Josh joined her side. He pulled me in for a short but warming hug, one I got the feeling would be a lot longer if he hadn’t overheard Freya’s previous sentence. Knowing she was still talking he only mouthed a hello before snaking his arm protectively round her waist. Once again I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the love in which they had both been blessed with. I really was a bitter soul.
“What is it?” I asked, mainly to silence my intrusive thoughts. The couple looked at each other.
This time it was my turn to well up, tears threatening to fall from my eyes as a range of emotions overwhelmed me. Mainly it was pride. Happiness, hopefulness. A little part of it was that stir of jealousy in the pit of my stomach. That’s what happens when you walk around with a broken heart - it poisons all your other organs too.
I pulled the couple in to hug them.
“Congratulations you guys. I love you both so much.” I gushed into both their ears, the words tasting bitter on my tongue. “How far gone are you?”
“She’s only about three months,” Josh explained.
“You look good for it.”
“Doesn’t she just.”
The conversation seemed to die down quite quickly, and I was well aware that my time here was coming to an end. I contemplated leaving now. I’d said my congratulations; everything else was unnecessary.
“Well, I should probably get going.” I began to excuse myself when Freya put a hand on my shoulder. She pleaded for me to wait, and so reluctantly, I did. Her eyes poured into mine.
“Have you seen him yet?”
It was as if the breath had been knocked out of my chest, and I tried to ignore Josh’s quiet scolding of Freya intended to be out of my earshot.
“You don’t have to talk about it, Y/n.” He attempted to reassure me, and I shook my head gratefully.
“No, it’s fine. I haven’t.”
I knew she meant Simon. I knew he would be here tonight - of course, he had more place here than I did. But I hoped I would be able to escape before there was any risk of bumping into him. I had no idea what I would say - or do - or if he’d be here alone. The thought of him with a date made my chest hurt, and I wanted nothing more than to leave.
“How long has it been?” Freya pressed further, her voice cautious. Next to her Josh looked incredibly uncomfortable. You and me both, I thought, feeling my throat start to tighten a little.
“It’s been five years.”
Both their eyes softened and I felt tears threaten my own once again. I looked to the floor. Five years sounded almost longer than it felt. It had been an incredibly lonely five years too. I lived on my own now, falling asleep each night next to nothing but silence. I was growing older - old enough to know my biological clock was running out, as my Mum put it. But I hadn’t even tried to get to know someone else. There was no point; if it wasn’t Simon, I didn’t want it. Not even so much because I missed him - although I did, painfully so - but just because I don’t have the strength to risk it again. It wasn’t that sad. I’d come to reason with the fact that I would never love again a long time ago.
“Are you going to talk to him?”
“Freya, I think we should sit down, the speech is about to start.” Josh suggested, trying to almost steer his pregnant wife away as he shot me sympathetic eyes. I gave him back a small smile.
“Wait, okay I’m sorry,” Freya blurted out and as she turned to me I found it increasingly hard to look her in the eye. “Please don’t run again Y/n.”
“Please. Just please stay for the speeches.” Her cheeks reddened a little, her voice cracking against her will. “I’ve missed you a lot.”
I didn’t speak for fear of breaking apart in front of her, only nodding a small confirmation before someone came to take her away. I returned to my table as the sound of a glass being tapped sounded through the hall.
The speeches were nice. They were somewhat repetitive - a little cliche, but nice nonetheless. Tobi’s had been my favourite so far, a confession of his own fondness towards the two, how he’d been rooting for the couple since before they were even rooting for themselves. Freya was positively glowing as several different people complimented and admired her. Eventually it looked as if it were all about to be over, and I silently counted my blessings as people began to talk amongst themselves. Perhaps if I excused myself subtly I could get out. I’d text Freya a goodbye, she’d forgive me. She’d understand why I’d run. It was all I knew how to do.
Just as I thought it was over, Josh stood.
“Wait, sorry everyone, there’s one last speech. He’ll be here in a minute, please entertain yourselves or grab a free drink from the bar whilst you wait.”
I smiled at his professionalism even on his own wedding day. Josh never let the dad figure slip. I couldn’t get over the fact that he really would be a Dad now. I don’t know why I found it surprising - that’s what happy relationships progress too. Marriage and children and eternity. I guess a little part of me just felt jealous that neither of them would ever have to experience what it felt like to be alone.
“There he is!” A voice from the head table shouted, and everyone’s heads turned. There he was indeed.
Stood on the stage, his slender fingers wrapped around a microphone, his face supporting a large, awkward but sweet smile was Simon. I felt my heart fall from my chest. He had aged incredibly, his skin matured and clear, his hair an unnatural white that only he could pull off so well in a dark, classic suit. He looked taller, more muscular, more confident even. He looked more himself. I guess only one of us had healed after that winter night five years ago, and it hadn’t been me. I looked down at my ring finger. Sometimes it felt like the tanline was still there, a slightly paler band just above where my knuckle is, as if my entire hand is taunting me. Seeing Simon up on that stage felt somewhat like a mockery. We had come so close, and a tiny part of me couldn’t help but wish that it was me sitting where Freya was. I shook off this thought as Simon began to speak.
He introduced himself well, really presenting the skills that his job had taught him over the years, if that was indeed still his job. I couldn’t remember the last time I had opened up youtube, or any social media for the matter. Even this invitation had been something I’d received in the post. I’d really tried to remove myself entirely. To remove him. The room fell entirely silent as his real speech began, all the Simon-esque jokes and taunting over and done with.
“Look, in all realness,” he spoke in his deep and endearing voice, sending soundwaves right through my chest. “No one needs me to stand here and say the obvious. I don’t need to tell you how good you look together, or how incredible the ceremony was, because you know that already. Josh, you don’t need me to tell you how much you’re punching with Freya because, well, you must know it.”
The crowd laughed as Josh rolled his eyes, probably stopping himself from acting a little less professionally. Simon blew him a kiss before continuing.
“The only thing I wanna say is good luck. And I genuinely mean that.” Josh watched with genuine intrigue, however Freya’s eyes seemed to be elsewhere, as if she were searching through the crowd. “You two together have a love that is so comfortable and homely, whilst also being so firey and spontaneous, and it really does keep the world spinning. It’s the type of love a man only gets once in his lifetime.”
The crowd cooed slightly as Simon momentarily looked at the floor, and I wondered if they were as in love with him in this moment as I was.
“A love where you’re so content and happy with eachother as you are really does only come around once, and you two have already got it and secured it. And I hope you secure it forever. Because God knows once you let go, it never comes back to you.”
He forced a smile. “Bitter sweet, as they call it.”
Freya was still searching with hunting eyes and I got the feeling I was the prey. As Simon raised his glass my vision blurred, and I knew I had to go. The guilt swept over me faster than my own feet off the ground but there was no way I could stay without choking up the only pieces of my heart I had left all over the maroon tablecloth.
I didn’t plan my exit route, only weaving my way through the tables somewhat frantically, trying to stick to the dark corners of the room. Once I found a back door I ran for it. It wasn’t practical. But I needed the time alone.
Once I was out of sight I pressed my back to the brickwall and let myself fall apart. The tears fell like cascades down my face, loud, messy sobs as I struggled to catch my breath. The knowledge that I would have to go back in in this state to be able to leave only made me cry harder as I questioned why I had even put myself through this mess in the first place. Maybe this is what I was destined for. A life of avoidance and hurt. Because it had been five years, and so far I had learned, the hurt never really seems to go away.
It felt like my soul leaving my body once I heard him say my name. My eyes shot open, breathing speeding up once more as I realised he was close. Suddenly I heard him turn the corner. It was too late to run this time.
“Oh my God, Y/n.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping if I did so for long enough he would just disappear. He’d leave me behind again. But he didn’t. His tone was hard to read, and I could feel even without looking at him that he would be running his hands through his hair right now, jittering his legs out of nerves. He edged closer towards me and I screamed.
“Y/n, please. Please don’t push me away. I’m not here to hurt you.”
Oh but you do that without meaning to Simon, I thought, but I remained silent. There’s no way he couldn’t hurt me. His presence here was hurting me. His presence in my memory had been hurting me every day for the past five years. But nonetheless, I steadied my breathing, focusing on the pavement in front of me.
“It’s all in your breathing. Focus on that. Remember what your doctor used to say, the breathing exercises.”
His voice was laced with concern, but was still quiet, as if he was afraid I would crack should he be too loud, like a glass window in a gospel choir. I only nodded. Soon enough my breathing slowed.
“Y/n please let me talk to you. Please don’t run away again.”
The words, although maybe not intended to be, came out as more of a question than a demand and I opened my eyes once again, allowing myself the small tester sight of him in my peripheral vision.
“Okay,” my broken voice sounded in a short whisper.
“I miss you, Y/n.”
“Don’t,” I warned, but he continued.
“No, listen to me Y/n, please. Please, for once, just let me in. Don’t leave me out in the dark again, I can’t take it.”
“So talk,” I almost urged, not wanting to hear him beg anymore, the guilt weighing me down until I was being curb stomped by my own conscience.
“Maybe you should talk? It looks like you have some stuff on your mind. I get the feeling you don’t talk to anyone else so, maybe you should be the one talking.”
He sighed when I stayed quiet, but it wasn’t a sigh of defeat. I suddenly felt a warmth towards him for the way he didn’t lose hope in me. He saw my demons, looked them straight in the eye, but he didn’t run from them. I owed him that.
“There must be something, Y/n. Something you want to say, something you want to know. It’s been five years.”
It sounded even worse coming from his mouth. I still didn’t look at him, staring at my shoes.
“How many people have you been with since?” I whispered, afraid of the answer and unsure why I was even asking. He stepped a little closer, carefully.
“A big fat total of zero.”
The answer surprised me more than what I let on.
“I’m serious,” he confirmed. “There was a stage where Josh tried to set me up with people, taking me out on double dates with him and Freya, but it never went anywhere. Not even a kiss. The other guys always mock me for it.”
I felt him look down at his shoes. I resented Josh and Freya for trying, but I didn’t blame them. He deserved to be happy. Even if it wasn’t with me.
“You?” He asked hesitantly, and I almost laughed at the thought.
“No one at all?” There was shock present in his voice. Did he really think I was capable of choosing anyone other than him? I shook my head to clarify.
Finally I pluck up the courage to look at him. His aqua blue eyes poured into mine, melting me under their gaze and somehow I managed to voice what was on my mind.
“It’s only you, Simon.”
It almost looked as if the words knocked him, but he composed himself pretty fast. The way he watched me, it was as if he was afraid I’d disappear should he let me out of his eyesight for even a minute.
“Y/n why are we dragging this out? We belong together, you know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Why are we prolonging this pain?”
I shook my head, tears threatening to fall for what felt like the thousandth time tonight.
“We didn’t work before Simon, what makes you think we can now? I can’t go through that again.”
He edged closer again. “Because we know now what it’s like to be without eachother. Now that you’re here in front of me, I don’t ever want to let you go again. I’d never do anything to compromise us again, Y/n.”
“There are so many other people,”
“And I choose you.” He cut me off with desperation. “Even after everything. I still choose you. No one else is even an option.”
Admittedly, I had given in. I was terrified. But I knew I didn’t want to be without him. Now that I’d learned what it was like to live with him, I didn’t want to learn to live without, because God knows after five years I still hadn’t accustomed to it. I knew it could be my biggest risk. But it could also be my only chance at healing.
“I choose you too,” I murmured. Simon moved closer once again, like he was unsure he had heard me right.
“Can I kiss you?” He asked cautiously. I nodded. Before I knew it, his hand was on the side of my face, holding me in place gently. His lips moved against mine so slowly and I drank in every second. This was what I had been waiting for. This was what I’d needed to fix me.
“I love you, Y/n,” he spoke into the kiss, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. My hands moved through his hair.
Ally Brooke Hernandez, 24, has a two-tone thing happening, with a black leather hat and skirt paired with a fuzzy pink sweater and pumps. Normani Kordei, 21, has accented herself with huge chrome hoop earrings and silver-dipped nails. Lauren Jauregui, 21, wears a lacy boho-chic blouse and carries her puppy, a rescue mutt named Leo. Then there’s Dinah Jane Hansen, 20, who peels off a trippy floral jacket to reveal a bright yellow tee that reads, in big block letters, “I’M A RAY OF FUCKING SUNSHINE.”
Fifth Harmony used to tour malls like this: shopped from town to town, crammed between kiosks for tchotchkes and lit by department store signs. That was in 2013, less than a year after its lineup was now-famously chosen by Simon Cowell and Antonio “L.A.” Reid flipping through the headshots of X Factor contestants on the verge of washing out. The teens twice tried to christen themselves, but the first name (LYLAS, for “Love You Like a Sister”) was already in use, and the judges hated the second (1432, pager code for “I love you, too”), so Cowell asked viewers to submit ideas online. Rebranded Fifth Harmony, they took third place and stepped off the show into a joint deal with Reid’s Epic Records and Cowell’s Syco Music.
But those are all tales of an earlier era, before 2016, the group’s biggest year yet – and the one that ended in shambles when, exhausted and unfulfilled, 5H lost Camila Cabello to a solo career. Last year’s 7/27 debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, propelled by “Work From Home,” the first top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit from a girl group in nearly a decade. But the acrimonious December split made even bigger news, with 5H accusing Cabello of quitting through her reps, and Cabello denying the accusations. It was… awkward.
“Try experiencing it,” retorts Jauregui when I volunteer as much. The rest of the group, as it so often does, rushes in to complete her thought. “I was literally going to say that,” Kordei quickly adds. “I get to sleep at night knowing we did everything in our power as friends, bandmates and human beings” to make it work. Then Hernandez: “You can’t change people.” And finally, Hansen: “Let’s just say we’re in a better place now – there are no secrets in this circle.”
Jauregui admits she nearly threw up from anxiety before the downsized 5H’s first performance, at the People’s Choice Awards in January. But today, the members are quick to (literally) high-five each other as they talk about their ongoing 7/27 Tour, the first in which they’ve built in real downtime, and a third album, due later this year on Epic. “Honestly, in this very moment, we could not be happier,” says Hernandez with more assertiveness than the Pollyanna-ish cheer that’s her trademark. Their first new single as a foursome, “Down” – a neon-edged dancehall bubbler featuring a warmly romantic verse from Gucci Mane (“Got me showing off my [engagement] ring like I’m Jordan”) – reached No. 42 on the Hot 100. Meanwhile, Cabello’s “Crying in the Club,” which entered the charts two weeks earlier, peaked at No. 47. Both are still active on the Mainstream Top 40 list.
“Crying in the Club” is a wide-screen, Sia-style ballad and “Down” is an airy dance track, but the two have more in common than just a chart trajectory: They’re both grown-up songs for longtime professional “girls” now expected to be seductive women. The 5H video, which racked up 21.6 million views in two weeks, even seems to offer some sly commentary on this, with the group pulling up to a seedy motel and writhing on beds in separate rooms. But the women have come up with their own narrative for the lyrics, which came to them from “Work From Home” co-creators Ammo and DallasK, and include “You the type that I could bake for/’Cause baby, you know how to take that cake” – as well as the chorus, “Long as you’re holding me down/I’m going to keep loving you down.”
“We dedicate it to each other,” says Hansen. “We’ve been together five years, so that message is powerful to us. We’ve been there for each other through ups and downs.” Hernandez hits her with an “Amen.”
The single is only a slice of what’s to come, because for the first time, 5H is co-writing its songs – over half, in fact, of those destined for the new album. Since January, it has been holding songwriting camps between tour stops, mostly at Windmark Recording, just two miles from here. The group typically breaks into pairs, then takes turns with that day’s writers and producers like 5H alums Monsters & Strangerz and pop and R&B producers Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande) and Sebastian Kole (Alessia Cara).
“It’s not like they came in at the end and started riffing,” says Leah Haywood of Dreamlab, which has two songs on the album. “We sat and wrote verses together, because they’re empowered women who want to be pushing the agenda.” Justin Bieber’s go-to hook man Poo Bear, who worked with Skrillex on a 5H session, adds, “I was pretty blown away. They were hungry and excited and seemed like they had a serious new point to prove.”
Those collaborators create “safe spaces,” says Jauregui, where they can try ideas without fear of judgment. But the world outside isn’t so cushy. Plenty of popular girl groups have lost members and carried on, but none have found more success. En Vogue withered commercially without Dawn Robinson. Destiny’s Child hit peak sales just before LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson were ousted. And the one Spice Girls album that followed the departure of Geri Halliwell was an abject flop.
One Direction provides a hopeful example – Made in the A.M. handily outsold its predecessor even without Zayn Malik. But the industry is perhaps kinder to boy bands. As much as its music (and videos) might be maturing, 5H is dedicating itself to an idea almost radical in its innocence: that four pop stars are better off as a single group – albeit with a name that, at this point, feels a bit silly. “The fans,” quips Hernandez, “are our fifth member.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whose 15-year-old daughter Simone is “pretty tight” with Hansen, says 5H is “aspirational to so many young girls around the world.” He adds, “Once the drama [of Cabello’s exit] settles, instead of looking at it as a devastating loss, I look at it as an amazing opportunity for growth.”
We’re now inside, aprons on, at The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories. The women chat about how much they love SZA’s Ctrl as they pioneer new ways to Snapchat themselves, chopping scallions for quesadillas, charring tandoori-style chicken wings and deep-frying homemade potato chips. Overseen by a chef named Jamie, they share kitchen duties with an almost psychic ease – except for the cookies. The plan is for everyone to pitch in on a batch of the classic chocolate-chip variety, and that’s how it starts. But then Jauregui asks for white chocolate, Hansen requests pretzels, and Hernandez wants her Texas pecans (she’s from San Antonio). Soon one mixing bowl becomes four, and Kordei is in the pantry foraging hazelnuts, Rice Krispies and almond extract.
It’s a cute metaphor for how 5H’s members are cultivating their independence not only from their corporate minders but from one another. It’s also woefully inadequate in addressing Jauregui’s personal journey during the last few months, starting with a declaration she defiantly slid into an open letter to Trump voters, which she wrote for Billboard in November: “I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman, and I am so proud of it … I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings, and I will gladly take the label of ‘bitch’ and ‘problematic’ for speaking my mind.”
In March, Jauregui shared photos from a November “coming-out” shoot, as photographer Nicole Cartolano characterized it to MTV, with her then-girlfriend Lucy Vives (daughter of Colombian singer Carlos Vives). Her sexual identity has since cropped up in her music. Jauregui briefly made an appearance on the Hot 100 as a guest on Halsey’s “Strangers,” which, as a duet about an it’s-complicated same-sex romance, has inspired more than a few think pieces.
Jauregui’s openness speaks not only to the accepting nature of 5H but also to the potential for a mainstream girl group in an era where many minorities feel under attack. 5H is still a place for purity rings. Hernandez is wearing a “TRUE LOVE WAITS” band. She and Kordei identify as Christian, while Hansen is Mormon. But all insist Jauregui’s expression is “supported.” And Jauregui, who believes in “the universe and a god source, like an energy,” seems content with this. But asked if she would be comfortable singing about a relationship with a woman in a 5H song, she says she doesn’t know, “because it has to do with me personally. It doesn’t speak for everyone in the group, which is its own entity as an artist. That’s the whole reason for doing your own thing.”
Kordei has recently added a new chapter to her story, too. She competed on Dancing With the Stars this past spring, returning to a childhood passion. “I grew up dancing competitively and being in pageants, and my grandma made all my costumes and dresses. I remember watching the show on the couch with her, and she’d pause the TV to create sketches based off what she saw,” she says. Kordei and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, finished third, which is all the more impressive when you consider that for the first three weeks she flew to the Los Angeles tapings direct from 5H’s Asia tour, popping melatonin on the plane and chugging coffee (a new habit) before doing the cha-cha.
Hernandez recently dropped a summery song with DJ duo Lost Kings and A$AP Ferg. She also clocked a writing session with Christian country-folk singer Cindy Morgan and touts the acting career she plans to launch this year. Hansen has an unreleased RedOne cut featuring Fetty Wap and French Montana, and she loves tennis and jokes about becoming a volleyball star. “I’m at a place where I’m continuing to identify myself,” she says. In other words: find her part in what could become a multidisciplinary 5H empire.
“Last year, we all learned a lesson about mental health and making sure you step away from something. It just makes this stronger,” says Jauregui. “Fifth Harmony is the home base,” offers Kordei, “where we always come back.” “Yasss,” says Hernandez.
Of course, when your break from work is more work, there isn’t much room for, like, life. They all describe their days as a “blur,” and Hansen says she doesn’t know “what vacation means.” For those who keep asking: No, Kordei still hasn’t had a chance to go on that date with DWTS’ Bonner Bolton. And in a quiet moment in the kitchen, Hernandez confesses that there’s nothing she wants more than to get married. But the women don’t even have homes apart from their families – the houses would sit empty.
It was only 14 months ago, in the middle of my interview with the group for its first Billboard cover, that the same four sitting here broke down in tears detailing the extent of their fatigue and stress. “Jesus Christ, dark times,” recalls Jauregui, and they didn’t let up. The same day Cabello’s exit was announced, there was a leak of what seemed to be a recording of Jauregui telling Hernandez the band was treated like “literal slaves.” “I don’t know where that [audio] came from,” says Jauregui, “but that’s what the game does to you sometimes: runs you dry.” But it was a bit more than that.
“We were little girls coming off of a TV show and had a team of people trying to sculpt us into something we weren’t,” says Hansen. “They took advantage, like, ‘Get in there and record this, you thing,’ ” says Jauregui.
“If you’re told you can’t do something when there’s a creative desire to do it, that’s depressing,” says Geri Horner – nee Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice – who just released her first single in 12 years. “Spice Girls always wrote our own stuff, but I can relate to that.”
The long road to liberation began with 5H hiring outspoken music lawyer Dina LaPolt at the end of 2015. “I sat the girls in a hotel conference room and for five hours educated them on trademarks, copyrights and rights of publicity,” says LaPolt, who soon helped secure them new management with the preeminent firm Maverick (Madonna, U2, Miley Cyrus). “Then I educated them about every agreement they signed, which [were] the worst I’ve ever seen in the music business.”
LaPolt successfully transferred the Fifth Harmony trademark from Cowell to the group, meaning the women now own the name, along with the right to control how it is used and to profit from any deals. (The agreement – signed in April 2016, months ahead of Cabello’s exit – doesn’t name Cabello in the “Fifth Harmony Partnership.” “I don’t represent Camila,” is all LaPolt will say.) She then renegotiated 5H’s contract with Epic, which she characterized as “a very adversarial” process.
LaPolt and 5H stress that the group’s relationship with Epic is now good. The women count among their “saviors” the label’s senior vp A&R Chris Anokute, who came onboard near the end of making 7/27. (Reid left Epic in May amid sexual-harassment allegations.) “We raised our voices,” says Hansen, “and to have someone in our corner like Chris, who believes in us, is the most important element to make the wheels go.”
Which allows 5H to meet the challenges of being Women of Pop in the late 20-teens. Rihanna, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and Lorde have all shown how much artistry, agency and album-building matter. Basically, the band needs to pursue the authenticity Cabello secured by going it alone. The challenge is not only doing that in a group, but also while relying on familiar themes, like girl power, diversity, body positivity and inclusion.
Jauregui is the first to admit she was scared about 5H’s future without Cabello. “We’d put blood, sweat and tears – and birthdays and funerals we missed – into this thing,” she says. “It’s our livelihoods and our families.’ This is the train, and now you’re like, ‘Is the conductor going to come through with the coals, or are we left here to die?’ ”
Hernandez says there were “many therapy sessions.” Hansen, at least, quit worrying when they released their first press photo as a quartet and everyone, including Ellen DeGeneres, started editing themselves into the frame, “trying to recruit themselves into the squad.” Which raises the question: Have they considered bringing in a new member? They answer in unison: “Heeeell naaaw!”
Wouldn't he have had the opportunity to end all the stunts without having to sign with Syco? Couldn't he have simply waited until the contract with Simon expired? Now he's stuck with a label whose main goal has been to closet him and make his life a living hell.
1. When would the contract end? Would it? Which contract? I don’t know how many times I have tried to explain that contracts don’t have to have an end date.
2. Would he have had an opportunity even if the contract “ended”? Really? You know that for sure? No other lingering obligations? No NDAs? Just, contract ends and he can do what he wants?
3. Is he stuck? Really? Or did he negotiate from a place of power and end up the biggest fish in their pond?
4. Is it the label’s goal to do that? Or Simon’s? Does Simon still have control? How do you know this?
Look, I have no love for Syco and the team has been shit for the last several months, but we don’t know what’s coming. We don’t know what deals were made. I trust Louis to have made the right choice, whether it’s the choice that had to be made to achieve long term goals or the choice to get what he wants right now. But the biggest thing I trust is my ability NOT TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS AND ASSUME I KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON AND WHAT’S BEST FOR LOUIS.