The Girls!

Rachel Clyde & Sage Mace

Activists & BestiesMarin, CAPhotos by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld

Having a best friend to lift you up when you need lifting and to help you soar when you are dreaming is truly one of our most precious gifts as we grow up. For Rachel Clyde & Sage Mace, a friendship bloomed from a very early age centered around how to serve the world, lots of giggles, and the act of giving back. Both were horrified when they learned of the 32 million modern-day slaves still existing in the world.

 

 

They used their determination, persistence, and drive to help formulate ways to strike back on this issue and channel fundraising efforts to stop slavery via their organization Free-Beauty.org. There is a reason people call them Rage (Rachel & Sage)- alone each is special, together they are magnificent. Their story shows how with drive and focus, anyone can see their efforts affect change and impact a problem you care about.

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1.Tell me about your best friend.

Rachel: Sage is one of the best workers I have ever seen; she is very dedicated, focused, and driven. She is also extremely passionate about justice and doing what is right. These two things together create quite the powerful young woman. She is a great public speaker and  oddly loves to speak in front of audiences. She is very well informed and reads the news every morning and likes to keep me updated on things happening. She has a wild laugh that makes me laugh. She sometimes laughs when it’s not appropriate which is just the epitome of Sage. She loves her family very, very much and they are very close. If I had to describe Sage in just one or two words I would probably pick empathetic and considerate because she cares so deeply for other people. Whether they are her friends, people who go to her school, or people on the other side of the globe, Sage can put herself in their shoes and care as deeply for them as she would her own family. She has a big, forgiving heart and without a doubt will do incredible things in the future.

Sage: Rachel is beautiful for so many reasons. She is a true princess, complete with sparkles dusting her cheeks, dainty heels and vintage tea dresses which she often times wears. But when I say princess I do not want your mind to procure images of Aurora or any other princess who barely did anything but wait for their prince. No, Rachel is tough: She has the work ethic and determination of Tatiana, fierceness of Mulan and the purest love for all beings like Pocahontas. Rach extends a genuine kindness to everyone she meets and her inner joy is apparent through her goofy antics, constant laughter and smiles.

 

2.What made you two want to be friends?

R: We’ve known each other since elementary school but we were never close friends. It wasn’t until we started going to youth group together in 6th grade that we became really good friends. I think what brought us together at the start of our friendship was that we had a similar sense of humor and were both really crazy. From that it developed into us having similar ways of thinking and similar morals and beliefs. Today we have pretty different interests when it comes to favorite books, sports, and the cleanliness of our rooms, but the core of our friendship is still that base of thought, belief, and of course love. We make each other laugh a lot and tell each other about everything happening in our lives, but we also have wonderful conversations about current events where we push each other to understand the topic more.

S: Rachel and I became friends when I started going to the same youth group as her in the sixth grade. Although I was especially shy then and am still introverted today, her extroverted nature pushed me out of my shell. I think we ultimately clicked because of our uncontrollable goofiness which feeds off of each other but also because we are both so competitive. Whenever the boys in our youth group would have a planking contest we would be the first girls in position ready to outlast them, and then, when they would begin wrestling we were there too ruthlessly trying to prove our strength. Now looking back at the videos of us in action I die of embarrassment and laughter, but still have a pride in our friendship being built on girl power which has continued on into today.  

3.Your friendship is very playful, yet it has inspired bigger picture ideas about giving back and charity? Tell us more.

R: I think giving back and doing service work is just a very central part of who Sage and I are. From the way our parents raised us and what we’ve learned from our church, we both strive to serve our community and the larger community. However, I do have to admit that Sage has taught me a lot about service, although I don’t think she realizes it. Sage is one of those people who’s first reaction when she arrives anywhere is to say “what can I do to help?” So when we we go to parties and events together she would walk straight up to the host, greet them, and ask if she could help. This really encouraged me to do the same.

S: There are many negative perceptions of christianity as it has been used as a justification for hateful acts and words, but at the heart of me and Rachel’s faith as christians is the commandment of love your neighbor as you love yourself. This commandment has been deeply ingrained into our hearts and I think that it is something that has pushed us towards always fighting for what we know to be right. Since an early age we have always participated in volunteer work which provided a foundation for our love of service. I can’t speak for certain on behalf of Rachel, but I think that both of us have grown into our identities with high school. Similar to Rachel, I have discovered that in addition to my love of service I am interested in activism and social justice which has led to my participation in many marches and campaigns promoting equality and the health of our environment. With such a great passion it only made sense that Rachel and I focus in on a single issue and allow ourselves to immerse ourselves into solving it.

 

4.What propelled you to start Free Beauty?

R: We started Free Beauty towards the end of freshman year and into the following summer. Sage and I had both learned a bit about modern day slavery in our schools and one day we kind of just looked at each other and said we wanted do something more. At first we had no clue what that meant or what that would look like, but we both felt the need to take a step towards action once we had learned about these injustices that still exist globally.

S: Before I speak about what sparked Free Beauty you have to know my background which begins with my family. Mis abuelos were born and raised in the poverty of the Bronx and are in love with God and their family. To provide for my mom, mi abuela worked as a house cleaner and mi abuelo became a Postmaster. A reflection of their work ethic and love is seen in my parents. Each day my father begins his work at 4am so that he won’t miss a family dinner and my mom single handedly manages her own art business with 70 students. My family has worked for the opportunities that I have today and I refuse to waste it.  With this mindset I was determined to make a change when I heard that there are 32 million slaves. This statistic broke my heart, and so, I told Rachel that I wanted to focus in on this issue. Rachel and I leaped into action and began Free Beauty with the mission of combating child slavery in the cosmetics industry.

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5.How have your personalities contributed to the building of the organization?How did you divide and conquer?

R: Our personalities definitely played a part in our organization, we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. Usually we start by meeting one day—mostly Saturdays—to discuss what our next goals are and what we need to do to get those done. Then we would divide the work up based on availability, interest, and talents. Sage is a much more dedicated worker than I am so she took the job of securing the permits for our fundraiser and the initial designing of our website. I was much more organized and took on some of the paperwork, as well as, keeping up to date with the email and social media. However, we also shared a lot of the responsibilities and often worked on projects together.

S: We are both very determined and so we have motivated each other to keep on going regardless of what roadblocks we face. When it comes to tasks we do not have a set list of who will do what but we have meetings and agree to have different responsibilities for that week.

 

6.What are your best tactics for problem solving or resolving conflict?

R: Luckily we did not have too many problems, but when we did we usually handled it together by talking. Since Sage and I wanted similar things to come out of the fundraiser for most of the planning we were on the same page. Both of our moms were also a huge help, we couldn’t have pulled off the fundraiser without them.

S: We keep on moving forward with persistence. For example with our first fundraiser I was trying to obtain permits but it was an extremely long process involving many moving parts. Many times a city member would put me on hold, but I would proceed by emailing, calling and then going into the city office in person until I was making progress again.

7.What song best describes your friendship?

R: Uhh… this was a hard question because Sage and I have a lot of songs that we both love to sing along to, but most of them don’t really describe our friendship. But I think I would choose Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

S: I don’t think that there is a song that best describes our friendship but whenever we are together we have a playlist of go to songs such as I Will Survive which we will run around dancing too.

 

8.What is your silliest or most enjoyable memory of each other?

R: I really don’t think I could pick just one silly or fun memory together. Of course there was the first time we had a play date, we went to Sage’s house and built a fort in her room and laughed a lot. Then there are all of our crazy memories with our youth group, like when we went camping and Sage and I almost got attacked by raccoons. We’ve had a lot of really fun times together and I don’t think there is a single time we were with each other and didn’t laugh.

S: There are too many good memories to choose from but one of my favorite is when we went on a camping trip with our youth group. The evening was filled with uncontrollable laughter and when night fell Rachel and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to prank the rest of our youth group. In the dead of night we were sprinting through the campsite to the bathroom where we grabbed bundles of toilet paper in preparation to tipi the tents of our friends. On our way back a police officer saw us and questioned us but let us off the hook as we were obviously harmless. The next morning our friends awoke to a masterpiece of toilet paper mummified tents completely unsuspecting that it was Rage (Rachel and Sage) who had committed the crime.  

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9.You happen to be going to the same college, how do you see this experience continuing to shape your friendship?

R: I never thought that Sage and I would be going to the same college, so I am really excited. We haven’t gone to the same school since middle school so that will be fun to be on the same campus, maybe sharing some classes and meeting new friends together. I also think this is going to be really cool because we will change a lot in college and hopefully find our direction for the future. I can’t wait to see how these next four years go and how we will both change.

S: I don’t think that it will necessarily continue to shape of our friendship, as our friendship was not built upon Free Beauty. But I think that Free Beauty will always remind us of what we can do when set out to do it together.

10.What’s next for each of you and how will Free Beauty fit in?

R: What’s next for me is really just college. I’m super excited to learn and grow and start focusing on the things that I’m really passionate about. Sage and I aren’t really sure what will happen to Free Beauty after we graduate high school but the options are open to us since we are going to college together.

S: We began Free Beauty not expecting that we may end up attending the same college so Free Beauty will most likely end with senior year but our work for social justice will continue. Our experience with Free Beauty has made us become better public speakers, has taught us what true persistence looks like and ultimately will leave us better equipped for whatever job comes next. As of now my dream is to get an internship with International Justice Mission during the summers between the school year and on the side I would like to begin working on a documentary. After I graduate from college I would like to work for a non-profit abroad and you will probably find me joyful but financially struggling :)

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