Crusher: Valerie Johnson. On Mehr: “Mehr is who I want to be! She is so sweet, caring, funny, smart, and beautiful inside and out. She has great style too. I love getting to talk to her about anything. I’m lucky to live in the room next to her! :)”
Cayla Yasukochi: Hi! So please introduce yourself and tell us, you know, your basic stuff--your name, major, year, hometown, etc.
Mehr Sikri: Okay! I’m Mehr, I’m a senior, rosebud semester Fall ‘15, I’m from--well, I don’t really know where I’d say I’m from, as I grew up in Minnesota, but I’ve lived in Palo Alto now for ten years. So I guess half Midwest, half California. My majors are Business and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
CY: So, I have three questions that Val asked, so let’s go for those first. Her first question: “What is the scent of your room? You told me once it was a perfume you bought abroad, but I don’t think it is…”
MS: (Laughs) Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s talking about, because there is a perfume that I wear, and she has asked me before what I was wearing--it’s a YSL perfume I got from London, and when it came out while I was there it was a huge deal, so that’s what I got to remember my London trip. But if she’s talking about the smell that my room has, then it’s just a Yankee candle. I think it’s called Sand and Surf? And I alternate it with an orange one. (More laughter.) So there’s a lot of smells going on there. Sometimes it smells like food, because I eat in there a lot...so it varies.
CY: Second question--Valerie’s been meaning to ask you this, can you buy the next round of toilet paper?
MS: (Laughter from the both of us, again.) Yes, of course! Oh my god, this is such a joke. Yeah, I told her I would.
CY: I’m not sure if that was something she intended me to actually write and put on the website, but--
MS: Wait, this is going on the website??
CY: Yes! (Author’s note: To quote Joan Calamezzo from Parks and Rec: “I am, first and foremost, a journalist.”)
MS: (Still laughing and shaking her head.) No, no, I refuse!
CY: Okay, maybe I’ll take it off. (Interjection from Mehr: “People are going to think I never buy the toilet paper!”) That was sneaky, Val.
MS: I can’t believe she asked that.
CY: If you were to host a wine and movie night, what wine would you get, and what movie would you pick?
MS: That’s a really good question...I think I’d pick A Walk to Remember, and I’d choose--I’m guessing this is in the near future, and I’m still low-budget--I’d probably get “Moon” from Trader Joe’s. It’s a pinot noir; it’s really good.
CY: Moving on to questions from the list, she’s got a few picked out, I’m just going to shoot through all of them.
CY: So first, if your five-year-old self woke up in your body, what would be the first thing that your five-year-old self, now an adult, would do?
MS: As in, what would I think about myself?
CY: Well…(Author had clearly not thought this question through)...it’s kind of an open question, it could be like what you said, what would your five-year-old self think of your current self. But it could also be, like, Wow! You can now drive a car, and vote, and whatnot.
MS: Five-year-old me had no idea what college was--truly did not know--until maybe middle school. I think I would kind of be amazed that this entire process had happened, when for so much of my life, I had no idea that this part of the world existed.
CY: What is your favorite current trend, or a favorite past trend that you wish would come back?
MS: I like the old slang that’s coming back! Like, “it’s lit,” or “dank.” I was at home for break, when my mom said something, something in today’s slang. I was in shock, but she just said, “Mehr, we said this way back in the day!” I love it. I forget which one she she said, but I just think it’s so much fun.
(Text from Mehr 15 minutes later: “The thing my mom said was ‘I dig it’!!”
Text from Cayla: “lol I love that. Our parents are 1000% percent cooler than us tbh”
Text from Mehr: “Hahaha SO TRUE”)
MS: (Continuing.) And then I also like denim on denim. A lot. Because I always used to wear it, and it always looked uncool, but now I can wear it and people will be like, “Mehr, you’re so stylish”--it’s considered trendy now, but it was very unfashionable--
CY: Yeah, I feel like anything that’s fashionable five years behind trend is also at some point going to be five years ahead of trend.
MS: Exactly, it keeps cycling.
CY: Next one, is a hot dog a sandwich; is cereal with milk a soup?
MS: Is hot dog a sandwich...yeah. Do I have to explain?
CY: No. (Laughs) It can just be, you know, instinctual.
MS: Yeah, yes to the first one, and no to the second one.
CY: What was the first CD you owned?
MS: Oh, it was a Hilary Duff CD.
CY: (Unreasonably excited despite the fact that we grew up at the same time and this coincidence is actually not that unlikely) Oh no way, me too!
MS: Really? (Cayla: “Yeah!”) I forget which one it was, I went through a lot of them. It was...do you remember what they were called?
CY: My very first one was The Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack, and then my second one was Metamorphosis.
MS: I think it might have been Metamorphosis. Yeah, it was. That’s so funny!
CY: Alright, next question: What is something you are proud of, but rarely get the opportunity to talk about?
MS: I think I’m proud of how much I branched out in college. I was a very, very different person in high school, and I kind of only focused on what I had to do. And I also had a job in high school, so I would just go to school, go to work--I didn’t really hang out outside of that, just school, work, same cycle. But when I came to college, I wanted to change, and actually make an effort to meet more people, people that weren’t just like me. I think it was also easy, in freshman year, I kind of got trapped with being the same group of people continuously, and then I realized that that’s not what I wanted out of college. I wanted to grow, and grow from other people. That’s one thing I’m really proud of looking back, that I’ve made a lot of very close friends who are very different from me.
CY: That’s awesome.
MS: Yeah, I’ve learned a lot from them.
CY: Were you a dinosaur kid or a train kid? Or neither? What kind of kid were you, what was your childhood “thing”?
MS: I was a LEGO kid! I also got into cars and trains, because my cousin--who is the same age as me, but a guy--he was really into it, and I tried to keep up with him. But I think originally I was a LEGO kid.
CY: And finally, are there any USC classes or professors that you would like to recommend?
MS: There’s a class on happiness--not the GE one, though I’m sure that one is good as well, but the one I took was within the Health Promotion program. I think that was one of the best classes I’ve taken. It didn’t feel like a class, it felt more like--like everything you learned about would actually help you. His Powerpoints, his lectures would just be about ways to make yourself more productive, or ways to find success in whatever you’re doing. So it was a very uplifting class; studying for the class and studying for the midterm honestly helped me more than anything else. You’re taking it as a class, but at the same time it’s forcing you to think about yourself. And I think that I came out of that class happier, because I started to recognize what made me happy, and what didn’t make me happy.
CY: That’s really cool.
MS: Yeah, it was. Oh, and International Ballroom Dancing! Everyone talks about that, but it was really so much fun. I took that my first semester freshman year, it was a wild year, wild time.
CY: Do you feel like you could, like, go to a swing place and uh…(Pauses, and makes some vague dancing motions.) Could you break out some moves?
MS: (Laughs) Oh, I wish. I love to dance, I love dancing, but everyone makes fun of me because I can’t dance. I’m actually--I look pretty bad when I dance. But, you know, I still do it. And I feel like I might have forgotten now, since it was a while ago.
CY: I mean it’s a cool--it’s a cool learning experience.
MS: Yeah, it was fun.
CY: Well thank you for meeting with me, I appreciate it!
MS: Thank you! I really--I have to confront Valerie about this.
CY: Yeah, we’ll have to see what she thinks about publishing the toilet paper question. (Author’s note: as you may have guessed at this point, she was okay with it.)