What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a nurse just like my mom until about the age of 7 when I realized I couldn’t stand the sight of blood! Then, I opted for the even less realistic career of becoming a famous actress, based on the fact that I loved, and still love, playing dress up. Needless to say, neither career path exactly turned out so well for me. Journalism seemed like the natural third option since I have kept a journal since about age 8 and because my entries were very factually presented, even as a child. I’ve never been much of a creative writer.
Do you have siblings? If so, tell us their name and a fun fact about them?
I have one sister, Monet, who is almost two years older than me. Our mom must have been going through a serious artistic phase or really feeling in touch with her small amount of French ancestry to give us names like Monet Jacqueline and Yvette Rose! When we were kids, Monet was very much the wiser older sister who defended me when necessary, sometimes cooked for me, and always offered her two cents on life. I was the ultimate girly girl who wanted to play My Little Ponies and Barbie while she would make me watch all the “boy” shows like X-Men or Batman and do things like dig in the dirt in our backyard and collect different kinds of bugs. She used to bribe me to play this game she made up called “Leaf Girl” where we would pretend to be archeologists and collect different kinds of leaves and various “samples," which often turned out to be old fruit pits and dead insects. We would then lay everything out and identify it. She ended up majoring in anthropology and archeology so now it all makes sense.
Who was your childhood hero?
I have a theory that I must have been hypnotized by the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow," because I was obsessed with the song when I was little so consequentially my first hero was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Ariel the Little Mermaid was a close second though I was devastated to find out mermaids weren’t real. Once I got older, my hero was definitely my Mexican-American grandmother. She had two inter-racial marriages in a time where that was not the norm, bought her home in Los Angeles in the 1940s, and worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known. She taught me a lot.
What was your favorite childhood food? Has it changed as an adult?
I loved spaghetti and still love all Italian food! I was a terribly picky eater as a child and wouldn’t touch cheese, eggs, or most vegetables. My grandmother did most of the cooking and would make all dishes separate for me without the cheese; a very strange concept in Mexican cooking. I wouldn’t go near cheese until the age of about 16, even taking it off my pizza. I think I’m making up for lost time now because now I’m addicted and can’t get enough.
List up to three of your favorite childhood books:
- The Box Car Kids – They were always solving mysteries and having adventures.
- Sweet Valley Twins and Friends and Sweet Valley High –Jessica Wakefield was my first bad influence and I wanted to be her.
- Goosebumps – For reasons that elude me now, I thoroughly enjoyed being scared.
Tell us an embarrassing or little-known childhood anecdote about yourself.
I was a pre-school drop out! Pretty ironic, considering my current position as School Editor. I wouldn’t talk to my teacher and hardly to the other kids and had decided singing songs and organized fun wasn’t my thing so one morning, I ran away from class while no one was looking. Apparently it took awhile to find me. Another time I refused to put on my seat belt on the school bus during a field trip. Afterwards my parents and school administration had a meeting determining I wasn’t “emotionally ready” for school and that I shouldn’t come back until kindergarten.
Tell us about your parent’s quirks and how they’ve shaped you.
My parents are of the 60s and 70s US hippie generation and it’s safe to say it rubbed off on their parenting style. Growing up in California, and especially near the beach, where the vibe can be pretty laid back and informal to begin with, my parents took it to the next level. They didn’t really discipline my sister or I, set routines like scheduled bed or meal times, and were generally regarded as the “cool” parents my friends would come to with an issue they couldn’t talk to their own parents about. I associate the scents of patchouli, sage, and incense with my parents and growing up. Because of my upbringing, I find myself pretty adaptable to new people and changing situations though I can be easily bored by routines and resistant to rules and authoritarian management styles.
How many kids do you want?
One, two tops in case the first one doesn’t like playing alone!
Yvette Ferrari is an American expat from Southern Californian and has been living in Beijing for three years. She loves traveling the beaches of Southeast Asia, attempting to surf, shopping, and has a slight addiction to online news. She taught English in Beijing at a local Chinese pre-school before pursuing the Beijing magazine scene and eventually becoming School Editor at beijingkids.