“The more I watched this girl, the more confused and intrigued I became. I wasn’t sure of her age—she could have been 15 or she could have been 20 something. I approached her and explained my intentions and asked if it were ok if I photographed her for awhile she hung out there with her skater friends. I left Union square that night without getting any information besides her name…”

“..For two nights following that initial meeting I returned to the same spot hoping to find her or her friends hanging out. I was in luck, and this guy who is now her boyfriend called her up and handed me the cell phone so I could talk to her. I explained that I would love to spend a few more days photographing her in her everyday life, she nonchalantly agreed and so I planned to meet her outside her school the next day and would walk home with her so I could meet her mother, which I insisted on….”

“…Just as we arrived at the stoop of her building, before she picked up her bike to carry it up the stairs into the Chinese-red hallway that led to the apartment stairwell, JoJo told me her mom was hosting a party. With a disgusted expression she said, “my mom is a cougar, you know what that is right?” Caught a bit of guard I followed JoJo through the red hallway, up the dingy blue stairwell, and into the apartment and straight to JoJo’s bedroom which was dominated by a hot pink hairy blanket on her bed and three frenzied miniature greyhound dogs…”

“…Wondering which of the women buzzing around was JoJo’s mom, she said, “oh, that was my mom”, about the striking woman that just popped her head in. No one asked who I was or what I was doing, my being there was nothing out of the ordinary. I did tell JoJo I wanted to introduce myself, so I did and was immediately absorbed by all the hubub and various characters that were coming and going. That was a year and a half ago. JoJo is now 16 and I am still photographing her life….” Cori Chandler-Pepelnjak