I always wanted to be a Claudia, but I know deep-down that I’m a Stacey.
Let me explain. I think of Claudia Kishi and Stacey McGill—two characters from Ann M Martin’s The Baby-sitters Club book series, for those of you living sad, BSC-free lives—as two sides of the same very beautiful, exquisitely complex coin. Claudia and Stacey are BFFs, of course. They met in seventh grade when they literally ran into each other in the hallway. As Stacey put it, “We realized we were dressed alike — in very trendy clothes — and somehow we hit it off.” Stacey and Claudia are by far the most fashionable members of the Baby-sitters Club. But Claudia is a “wild dresser” while Stacey is “sophisticated.” Claudia is a spangle of braided belts and homemade earrings, while Stacey is Benetton and black ballet flats. Claudia hides candy all over her room—there are literally chocolate bars and Lifesavers spilling out of her pillowcases—while Stacey is diabetic and daydreams about rivers of chocolate that she cannot drink from.
Looking back at the Baby-sitter’s Club series, which turned 30 this past summer, I started thinking about how Stacey and Claudia each approach art, style, creativity, and, yes, sugar—and what they’ve come to represent for me along the way. I think of Claudia as joy and creativity topped with even more creativity; Stacey is joy and creativity restrained. Religiously reading the BSC books when I was younger, I related most to Stacey’s struggles, but I aspired most to be like Claudia. I think that combination of inspiration and identification was what made the series so important for so many of us. Each book helped us to navigate our struggles and goals while figuring out our places in the world—and, of course, what we wanted to wear along the way. Continue reading