Indy Maven Friendship Series, Part V: Parasocial BFFs

Knowing Who Our Parasocial Best Friends Are is a Window Into Our Souls
To hands interlocking pinky fingers with Indy Maven Friendship Series logo above

The Indy Maven Friendship series is tackling this simple yet complex relationship from various angles. 

We at Indy Maven see the theme of friendship all over the place lately. It’s in the zeitgeist, if you will. Maybe Covid and all its social distancing turned it into a hot topic. Maybe it’s always been a hot topic. But regardless of the reason, lately we can’t scroll without stumbling upon stories about friendship breakups, adult friendships, friendships and boundaries, the importance of friendship… even friendship coaches.

So, we crowdsourced a handful of contributors, board members, as well as the nuclear team at Indy Maven/Maven Space. After all, Indy Maven is made of multitudes. The more voices that chime in, the better we understand and empathize with all women, and the better chance we have at fulfilling our mission. We weren’t sure what kind of a response we’d get. But, as a good friend would, everyone showed up. Better yet, they had something to say.

We are wrapping our series on  high note. Who are your parasocal BFFs? What are parasocial BFFs, you ask? According to Sara Petersen in Momfluenced (we highly recommend), “‘parasociality’ refers to the psychological phenomenon of forming bonds with celebrities [and] public figures.”

We hope you delight in the responses as much as we did. We gasped, we smiled, we collectively thoughts, “Yassss.” We hope you do, too, then scribble out your own list… and share it with us. (Email us at!)

Leslie Bailey Headshot

Oprah (is she not on everyone’s list?)
Ina Garten
Kendra Adachi aka The Lazy Genius
Stanley Tucci
And my favorite Peloton instructor Tunde.

Leslie Bailey, CEO and Co-founder, Indy Maven

Casey Cawthorn headshot

Issa Rae for sure.
Oprah and Gayle without a doubt.
Glennon Doyle when I need a kick in the pants.
Beyonce because HELLO.
And Michelle Obama—everyday.

Casey Cawthon, Contributor

Arianna CruzThe entire cast of New Girl IYKYK (and in character or out, tbh)
Selena Gomez
Taylor Swift
Viola Davis
Selena (RIP, my girl)

Arianna Cruz, Operations Board Member and a 2023 Indy Maven Women to Watch

Traci Cumbay headshotPhoebe Waller-Bridge
Tilda Swinton
Cate Blanchett
Melissa Febos

Traci Cumbay, writer

Collen HungerfordKevin Hart
Justina Blakeney (creator of Jungalow)
Daniel Levy
Fenix Lumiere (who is a dog, soooo)
Excuse Me are you Greek
Trevor Noah
Shawn Johnson
(what a group! haha!)

Colleen Hungerford, Premier Partner

Kelli Jenkins HeashotI call this my spiritual board of directors! Currently my board consists of:
Esther Hicks
Lana Del Rey
Trixie Mattel
Paris Hilton
Gala Darling
Karen Kilgariff 

Kelli Jenkins of the Spellsisters, Indy Maven’s Resident Astrologist

Jalysa KingOh my gosh so many! My short list (haha):
Issa Rae
Quinta Brunson (basically the whole Abbott Elementary cast)
Jessica Chastain
Brene Brown

Jalysa King, Sales Maven and Contributor

Abby Kom sitting in front of a mural at Maven SpaceI love the three women who host the podcast “Wine and Crime“, where they “chug wine, chat true crime, and unleash their worst Minnesotan accents.” They are truly hilarious, addicting and honest women (my “I’m having a rough day” kind of friends).  
Abby Kom, 2023 Indy Maven Indiana Press Club Foundation Fellow

Maura Malloy is a writer, minimalist, TedX Talker, and Indy Maven’s Assistant Editor.

Have something to add to the conversation? Email us at and tell us your list of parasocial BFFs.

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