Some would say that I was living the dream. Squished on a tiny little couch in between five of the hottest just-pass-adolescence British boys currently in existence (one of which who had his arm draped over my shoulder) - I could imagine the reaction of any thirteen year old girl who had just discovered hormones had she been in my position.
However, let me be the first to debunk that theory of paradise, because it wasn’t at all what it was cracked up to be.
First off, the room was stiflingly hot with the lights bearing down hard on us for the interview. And boys tend to sweat easily; my friends were no exception. And though British accents may be better, British sweat was still...sweat. Wet, nasty, and smelly. Multiply that by five, and I felt like I was going to suffocate.
Speaking of the lights, they were shining right into my eyes and apparently it would make me look like one of those “celebrity douches” if I wore sunglasses to an interview. I had argued that Kanye did it all the time, but that only made me lose that argument.
But who was I kidding? I was a member of the best and biggest boy band on the scene right now (The Wanted who? Yeah, exactly.) Smelly, sweaty counterparts and blinding lights aside, I guess I really was living the dream. But it wasn’t because the boys who surrounded me were attractive (if you were into that, I suppose they really quite were), but because they were my best mates, and there wasn’t anywhere I’d rather be in the world.
Except a dim, air-conditioned room.
Back to the interview, an eager, cheeky fellow was sitting across from us, brandishing a mic that he repeatedly stuck in our faces as he asked us amusing, but pointless questions.
“Who’s the best looking member of One Direction?” he asked with a smirk as he pointed his microphone at the first of us on the couch.
We were One Direction, so since he was asking this question about ourselves, I’m sure he was expecting answers that would make this interview a youtube sensation.
“Harry, of course. Sexy, isn’t he?”
That would be a typical Louis Tomlinson answer. He was mature in his looks, but not in much else as he gave a coy smile to the camera before casting Harry a look. There was a mix of eye rolls and chuckles from the rest of us, but Louis wasn’t perturbed by this. I was particularly amused, though; I loved Louis. Well, I loved them all, but he was my partner-in-crime. If you got us together without supervision, we immediately reverted to the age of five. And sometimes the police ended up being called.
And on to the next one.
“Hmm. I guess Niall’s a pretty good-looking lad, isn’t he?”
That was the thoughtful response of Liam Payne as he reached over to ruffle Niall’s toe-head (not that Niall had an actual toe for a head, which would be incredibly weird, but he was unnatually blonde.) Then he cast me a warning look when I let out a loud scoff. I played it off as a brotherly, teasing reaction, but Liam knew better. He was as mature as a twenty-something guy could be (which isn’t much, but I welcomed it) and served as my personal voice of reason and confidant.
“We’re all ugly.”
That was Niall Horan’s response when the microphone was stuck in his face, getting a laugh from the entire group. Even I had to reluctantly snicker at the way he delivered that line with his youthful Irish deadpan, but that was the only credit I was willing to give him. I was mad at Niall. He had broken bro-code big time, and I was still a little miffed about it, but whatever.
“Well, I’d have to say Louis.”
That was Harry Style’s response as he shot his buddy a sneaky smile that I knew would have fan girls going crazy when they watched this interview. It was beyond me why Harry and Louis gave into our fans’ theories that they were secretly in love, but it was definitely amusing. And I had to admit, sometimes I wondered...
But no, Harry was my absolute best friend - not just in the band, but maybe in the world. We literally told each other everything, so if he was harboring secret feelings for Louis, then I would know. Or at least, I better know.
Actually, maybe I didn’t want to know.
“Well, I’d have to say the lady in our group would take home that prize.”
That was Zayn Malik, who shot me a cheeky grin which I returned with an eye roll. It was his sweaty arm that was over my shoulder, and just like Louis and Harry oddly had to fight down romance rumors, so did Zayn and I. Probably even more fiercely, since I was the girl in the group and people seemed convinced that I was banging at least one of the boys. But let’s get one thing clear right now: there was absolutely nothing going on between Zayn and me, nor will there ever be. That’s not foreshadowing to the contrary; that’s fact.
See, I don’t like guys in that way. Which everyone in the world knew at that point, yet still for whatever reason, the media was set on pairing me up with a different member of the band each week.
Zayn and I did flirt a lot, though. Just jokingly, because it was fun - in the way we all messed with each others for kicks and a laugh.
And alas, that microphone was now shoved in my face.
“Well,” I said, stroking my chin thoughtfully, my smirk already starting to shine through, “though Louis does have that slender, womanly body - “
Cue a chorus of laughs from the guys as Louis grabbed a pillow from off the couch and tried to toss it at me, but ended up missing his target and hitting the interviewer instead, causing an even louder chorus of laughs.
“Oops!” Louis said impishly as we exchanged devious grins. “Continue on.”
“Right. And of course Liam has those plump eyebrows that would drive any girl...or guy crazy,” I continued on, as Liam chuckled a little with an eye roll. “As for Blondie...maybe that look would’ve been cuter to me in 2001, I dunno. ” Cue a glare from Niall as Zayn elbowed me with a snicker.
“Now Harry’s hair in itself is probably the best looking member, but Harry as a whole...those extra nips, dude. Can’t hang with that.” Harry gave a deep chuckle as he shook his head at me and I continued on. “The dark, tantalizing looks of Mr. Malik, though...I’m surprised I don’t get pregnant just by looking at him.”
Zayn waggled his eyebrows at me as I gave a loud laugh.
“But ultimately, the best looking member of the group is obviously Chanel.”
And cue the chorus of groans at my narcissistic, albeit joking, answer.
Because that was me. I was Chanel. The sixth - and yes, female - member of One Direction. Except I fit in perfectly, though I didn’t have a British accent (I was starting to develop one, however, just from the sheer amount of time I spent with my bandmates).
“Oh, c’mon, y’all know I don’t like dudes,” I said with a smirk as I pretended to preen myself. “Obviously I’m gonna think I’m the hottest. Except if I were straight, I’d still go gay for myself.”
“Ugh, chicks,” Louis said with an exasperate eye roll.
“Ugh, dicks,” I shot back, matching his tone before we all melted into laughter.
It was a strange thing at first - the world getting used to a co-ed boy band. Because that’s what we still technically were in most people’s eyes - a boy band. I was just the exception to the rule, thrown into the mix by Simon Cowell who thought One Direction was a little too...vanilla (Niall's fault).
So my caramel skinned, ovary-rocking self was brought on board after a rap remix I did of a Jonas Brothers song (remember them? Yeah, me either) went viral a few years ago. At first I was like the Will.I.Am to their Fergie (they sang; I rapped as well as spouted random nonsense in autotune), but after a few years of voice lessons (and yes, more autotune), I actually got a few solos here and there. On those tracks stuck at the back of the album that most people didn’t have the patience to get to, but I would take what I’d get. Not the mention that all of our upbeat songs included a rap verse from me.
It was approaching three years that I had been with the boys, and it had been the absolute greatest time of my life. I prayed nightly that our fanbase would never finish with puberty so that we could live out this crazy dream forever.
But then the world would be populated by vampiric tween girls and that sounded like the unfortunate premise of a Stephanie Meyer horror novel, so maybe not.