A while back I did a shoot for best friends, Emma and Michelle. They’ve been friends since they were teeny-tiny and although they live in different countries the bond they’ve shared since they were little girls has long weathered the long distance friendship. So when Emma announced that she was coming to South Africa for a holiday, Michelle organised for the two of them to spend a day in with me in my studio, getting glammed up and having their portraits done together. I thought that was such a sweet idea and something that all girlfriends should do!

Emma & Michelle BFF Portrait Session by Abigail K

I asked Emma and Michelle to share some personal thoughts about their friendship that’s lasted all these years.

1. How long have you been friends and how did you meet?

E: Since we were two years old…. (so about 38 years)

M: We met at Carel du Toit centre for hard of hearing and deaf children. I was 3 years old and Emma was 2. We have been friends now for 38 years…we have quite a bit in common…our love for movies and books

2. Why do you think your friendship has lasted so long?

E: I think we have a lot in common starting with us both having a hearing loss – both understanding the consequences, and all the work with it. We both have different personalities which makes it so great. We both love reading.

M: Besides knowing virtually everything about each other, we have a connection and understanding with each other due to our hearing loss. We “get” each other where not many other people will understand. We have been through many ups and downs together…but definitely more ups. We just seem to have that connection and I can tell Emma anything and always knows she will be and is there for me. We’ve also been fortunate that our parents are also friends.

3. How do you think your friendship has impacted you as a person? What do you get from the friendship?

E: I feel having a fabulous friendship with Michelle really does impact me as a person. I feel she is my safety net, my sister – someone I can tell anything… knowing that she will never judge me for anything I ask or say. I get a lot from my friendship with Michelle… I just know, that I can message her anytime… I know she would help me any way that she can – nothing is too much to ask.

M: Emma has impacted me in a big way…we just have a certain understanding about each other. She’s been part of my life for so long, she’s practically family. I get another sister, best friend, confidant and her parents are my other parents. She motivates & encourages me and our chats lift me up when I’m feeling down. I look forward to hearing from her.

Emma & Michelle BFF Portrait Session by Abigail K

4. You live in different countries, how do you keep your friendship strong?

E: Chatting every day via whatsapp, messenger. Even if its a – hello how are you today? To a long chat day… I wake up some mornings thinking – I am going to get up earlier, make that cup of coffee and have a chat with Michelle. It always makes my day brighter.

M: We can’t phone each other like ‘normal’ hearing people can, as Emma lipreads. Thank goodness with technology changing all the time we’re now able to WhatsApp, FaceTime, skype or use Facebook messenger. It’s not the same as being in each others company. I miss her terribly. There’s no friend here that has ‘replaced’ Emma. No one I can just pop into at anytime for a cuppa tea / glass of wine and just chat and we pick up where we left off…

5. Why did you decide to do this BFF shoot?

E: For me… it was celebrating our friendship. I think we have a very rare friendship. I don’t think I know anyone who has had a best friend since the age of two and knowing that friend for 38 years.

M: Emma was visiting Cape Town (last time I saw her in the UK was 3 years ago) I know life is short and wanted to capture our time together in photographs. I wanted some awesome memories and treasuring our friendship.

6. Do you believe that having photographs of friends is important and why?

E: Yes i do… I have a photo of my friends on my phone, lap top, bedside table, walls.. I honestly do smile when I look at them. I believe they make me glow a little every time I look at them.

M: Yes, VERY. I grew up with photo’s all around my parents house. I made collages using all our photos. I love having pics up.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

E: When Michelle and I celebrate our 60th or 70th birthdays… we are doing another shoot… 🙂

M: If you have a special friend / best friend – enjoy your time with them and appreciate, love and treasure your friendship and your time together. You only have one life – Don’t take each other for granted. Talk to each other, be open and honest. It makes you closer to him / her.

See more of Emma and Michelle’s portraits here.

Do you have a best friend who’s like a sister to you?