On December 31, 2003, I had the pleasure of ringing in the New Year with Glossy and her family in Saint Barths. In case you don’t know, this island is the most brilliant gaudy jewel in the whole of the French West Indies’ ridiculously blingin’ crown. If you ever have the chance to visit, I recommend it. The ocean is like bath water. Everyone is beautiful. And life there seems permanently set to the rhythm of Harry J. All Stars’ The Liquidator. Which is to say, life there is perfect.
One morning just after breakfast but before walking to the beach, I pinned gardenias in my hair. I left one behind in a glass of water next to my bed. Hours later when I returned, that lone flower had filled the entire space with its perfume. It was an intoxicating scent, one that lingered until much after midnight.
But back to New Year’s Eve. . .
For the occasion, Glossy’s mother hired a yacht and caterers to fête us with a feast fit for Triton. There was caviar and langoustines and bubbles a plenty. But mostly there was music and laughter. At midnight everyone raised a glass and “Bonne Année!” was heard shouted aboard every ship. Fireworks exploded and painted the otherwise inky skies, streaking them with glitter and gold. I remember watching them not only up above but also down below as they were reflected on the surface of the sea. It was such a decadent end to an evening; like the molten lava cake we’d had just a few hours ago.
On the way home, we got stuck in the annual traffic jam. This occurs when everyone leaves their boats and rushes ashore for various after parties. While being stuck in traffic is never any fun, it’s kind of funny to see that all the money in the world still can’t buy you a quick pass to your destination on a party night. i.e. It’s hilarious to look out the window of your rental car and see Naomi Campbell stuck in the same traffic one lane over.
Back at the villa, Glossy and I stayed up laughing and chatting by the pool. We were drunk off too much dark chocolate and those warm breezes blowing in from Gustavia Harbor. At one point and quite by accident, she comically tumbled out of a hammock and it was then that the concept of Chubby Princess was conceived. “Misti, I feel like a Chubby Princess. Don’t you?”
Over the years, we’ve had people say, “You can’t be Chubby Princesses. You’re not chubby.” This is because they don’t know being a Chubby Princess has nothing to do with an actual physical corpulence. To us, a Chubby Princess is equal parts culture and cake–both of which she consumes voraciously. This I suppose could lead to a physical corpulence, but really it’s about being a woman who values Sentimental Education just as much as Sicilian sweets and Italian Vogue as much as the Vedas. It’s about being stylish and scholarly and living for too much of everything—pie, good makeup, cake, late night laughter with friends, grosgrain ribbons, bourbon high balls, too many ballet classes, too many yoga classes, the high you finally get from running, the look on your best friend’s face when she lands a huge job or gets into the graduate school of her choice, traveling for love, staying for love, books that change your life, having children who change your life, dogs whose faces you’ll never forget, songs that bring it all back and cool dips in the sea that wash it all away.
Being a Chubby Princess is about a chubbiness of spirit, the kind that comes with experience and leaves you feeling rich as an Indian princess dripping in rubies and other exquisite jewels. It’s about the kind of experiences I hope I’m lucky enough to continue to have.