Now that I’ve got my two main characters outta the way, I can go into the major characters! First up? Sunny, Jill’s longtime best friend.
Sunshine “Sunny” Colon-O’Bryan met Jill in a ballet class when they were four years old and instantly bonded (Jill quit after a couple of classes, but their parents saw how much they liked each other and organized some playdates). After she was forced to quit her career as a dancer due to an injury, Sunny became a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and helps out at her husband’s bar when he needs it. She is thankful Jill has moved back to Nashville, as she will need her best friend’s moral support as she goes to school to become a registered dietitian.
LOVES: campy horror films, bold eye looks, anything that smells like roses, the color lilac; HATES: marshmallows.
If there were any artist that perfectly embodied Sunny, it would be Santigold: offbeat and eclectic, but still super approachable. She also creates danceable music that Sunny often inserts into her fitness classes, and “Freak Like Me” is probably the most used track out of Santigold’s entire repertoire.
Any artist that Prince touted was good enough of a reason to tune into them, but Sunny’s favorite is Martika, especially since she’s Latina. There were so few mainstream Latina singers as she was growing up that she latched onto those that got any type of airplay. “Love … Thy Will Be Done” was not nearly as popular as her No. 1 hit “Toy Soldiers,” but it’s Sunny’s choice as Martika’s best work.
Center Stage is one of Sunny’s all-time favorite movies, and it’s what introduced her to one of her all-time favorite songs: Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat.” The entire soundtrack is amazing, of course – although that may be a bit of nostalgia talking – but this is the best track from it.
Continuing with the movie thread, apparently, Moulin Rouge! also ranks in Sunny’s top five. She loved the twists on pop standards, and all the dancing just made her heart sing. But her favorite? “El Tango de Roxanne.” Hands down. Passionate, sweeping instrumentals paired with the emotionally charged singing of Ewan MacGregor and Jacek Koman? You can’t get any better than that.
When the Scissor Sisters “broke up” – they didn’t really, but they were on an indefinite hiatus – it nearly took Sunny an entire week to cope with the news. They are her go-to music for her fitness classes and are often featured on her Dance Dance Party Party playlists, with “Take Your Mama” used most frequently.
Annie’s “Chewing Gum” was Sunny’s anthem throughout most of the early 2000s, and she choreographed an entire dance routine from the music video for a showcase. Even though she doesn’t dance anymore – a motorcycle injury sidelined her for over two years – this song brings back a lot of happy memories.
“Feelin’ Love” by Paula Cole was the first song that made Sunny realize she might not be exactly straight. She and Jill were listening to the City of Angels soundtrack that came out at the end of their middle school years – oh, how badly she wanted Meg Ryan’s short curly hair from that movie – and when she focused on the words, she looked at Jill and said, “So … I might like girls?”
And speaking of Sunny’s sexuality, she has already told her husband Harvey that, if Janelle Monae ever presents herself to her, she will leave him in a second, and when he watched the video for “Yoga” with her, he said he’d completely understand.
Badass women of all walks of life inspire Sunny, and Dolly Parton is definitely a badass, particularly anytime she sings about people underestimating her. The first time Sunny heard “Dumb Blonde,” she couldn’t believe how much she ended up respecting Dolly by the time the song finished. She and Jill fan-girl all over Dolly and hope to someday meet her.
As hard as the Scissor Sisters’ breakup was, Sunny was inconsolable when Prince passed away, and every year on his birthday, she wears all purple and listens to his albums chronologically, from the first (1978’s For You) to the ones released posthumously (Piano & a Microphone 1983, in particular, is amaaaaazing). However, she always plays “P. Control” at least three times in a row.
Art Credit: The Verge, LastFM, Amazon, NFSA, Discogs, Twitter, Morrison Hotel Gallery, BBC, CNBC, Rolling Stone