A lot of people who watch Secret Life know that Madison and Lauren are nearly inseparable, but not nearly as many people know that Camille Winbush and I have been best friends since the age of 12. We first met in 2000 on the set of a movie of the week called Geppetto. We bonded over the ridiculously uncomfortable costumes that we both had to wear -- heavy petticoats with too-small shoes. Camille was awesome, sweet and funny. She was super-talented, an amazing singer and gymnast. We kept in touch and soon had the fortune of both landing our first long-running TV shows shortly after.
As it turned out, The Bernie Mac Show and Still Standing both filmed on the same studio lot in Los Angeles and we started hanging out on a far more regular basis. Our moms became friends, too. Camille's mom Alice had amazing taste in music. It was through her that I was first introduced to the music of Ella Fitzgerald as a 12-year-old girl. Our friendship grew, especially after Camille opened her first business endevour, an ice cream shop called "Baked Ice" in Pasadena, CA. They sold the best ice-cream cookie sandwiches that I've ever had. Alice is an incredible cook, and I still always get excited for her annual New Years brunch.
Many years later, I had a get-together at my Pasadena apartment and was eager to share some good news. I had just landed a new untitled series for television creative genius, Brenda Hampton. Camille was on her way, but too excited to keep it to myself, I told one of our mutual friends who had arrived early. She told me that in a crazy coincidence, Camille had also just booked a new untitled project that day. I joked about how crazy it would be if we were to work on the same project, with no idea of what I would later learn. As soon as Camille arrived, we managed to put together the pieces and realize that not only would be working on the same show, but that we would be playing best friends! So crazy. I remember how lucky I felt to have just landed a show, where I would get to work alongside my best friend every day.
We do all the things that any pair of best friends would do. We joined a gym together, we skipped the gym together. We ate pizza and watched America's Next Top Model together, we made YouTube spoof videos and habitually shared our lust for shoes... Four seasons later, Madison and Lauren may have a rift in their friendship, but Camille and I are still best friends. I admire her so much for the positive example that she sets for young girls and her work with charities like Love is Respect. Camille is an undeniable talent, and just in case you haven't heard her sing, I'm attaching a video for you to check out. I've learned a lot so far from our friendship, and the biggest lesson is what makes a lifelong friend. The biggest ingredient in a best friend is someone whose actions you respect and who you can truly be yourself around. If you're picking your best friend based on what kind of clothes she wears or how popular she is, chances are you aren't going to stay in touch after graduation. Picking a best friend who stands up for what she believes in, is true to herself and allows you to be yourself without judgement of how "cool" you are? Well, now you're picking a friend for life.