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MHS triplets embrace the differences
Ciara, Amber and Jade Collins sat silent in the car. Palpable anxiety filled the air between the triplets — a staunch contrast from the chorus of laughs, shouts and bubbly conversations that usually characterized their car rides together.
Halfway through their senior year at Malibu High School, the girls were on their way to take the ACT for the first time; a test that would make or break their college applications.
“We could all feel the tension,” Jade said. “One of us turned on the radio, we cranked Two-Door Cinema Club the whole way there and just rocked out together. Even though we were so scared and nervous for that test, in that moment we were having fun just the three of us.”
According to the girls, car rides are just about the only time the three of them are in the same place at the same time.
“That’s where all of our moments happen — in the car, on our way to school, work, games, classes, activities,” Ciara said. “I’ve always loved our car rides.”
Ciara, “the first one born and the born leader,” according to her mother, Ruth, was one of the captains of the MHS basketball team, an active member of the Youth and Government program and a member of the MHS choir. She will be attending Bard College in New York in the fall to study pre-law.
“Bard is all about outside thinking and incorporating different ideas,” Ciara said. “That’s the way I think — there’s always multiple answers to a single question. And my whole life, with basketball and debating and choir, I feel like I’ve always been on stage, which I think is really good preparation for pre-law.”
Amber, “the thinker” of the group, was involved in the MHS newspaper, The Current, for four years as a writer, editor, designer and eventually handling events on the business side. She also works at Bank of Books Malibu, a setting which deeply inspires all of her passions. She will be attending the University of Chicago and is considering studying philosophy or literature.
“I was drawn to Chicago because I felt like it was all about a deeper level of thinking,” Amber said. “I’m also a person that can be easily inspired by my surroundings, and I can’t think of a better place to get inspiration.”
Jade, who is all about “creativity and optimism,” has been a cheerleader for 11 years and was the captain of the MHS cheer team for two years. She is also an active artist, having just completed AP Art and designed and sewed her own dress for senior prom. She will be attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, to study fashion design.
“It’s a very small school, so you get the benefit of being surrounded by highly competitive art students,” Jade said. “You still get the big city part, while still being able to experience a smaller community setting, too.”
Despite harboring entirely unique personalities and being excited to experience college life separate from their sisters, the triplets do admit to one disadvantage of parting ways in the fall.
“When you’re a triplet, wherever you show up, you’re showing up in a crowd — you never go anywhere alone,” Amber said. “We never had the experience of having to eat alone on the first day of school. So it’ll all be new and exciting, but I know at some point I’ll stop and look around and say, ‘Where is everyone?’ I’ll come back with a greater appreciation for our unit.”
For Ruth, the thought of sending her final three children off to college has both good and bad aspects.
“Of course, you live vicariously through them — they’re all young and have got so much going on in their lives, it’s been exciting to watch and to be a part of,” Ruth said. “But I know now it’s going to be my time to pursue some of my passions again, as well.”
As they reach the end of their high school careers, Ruth has watched their individual personalities flourish. When the girls were young, Ruth said, she had them participating in all the same extracurricular activities.
“We couldn’t transport them to all the different things, so if one liked gymnastics, they all had to try it,” she said, laughing.
Once the girls hit fourth grade, Ruth was able to accommodate for all their different passions. She believes that shift was instrumental in developing their individual personalities, which became strong factors in each of her daughters’ successes.
But, despite the recreational activities they have been involved in, Ruth has always instilled in her daughters the importance of a college education.
“I started acting and modeling very early, so I never had the chance to go to college; that’s why I’ve always pushed them in that respect,” Ruth said. “There are so many things out there to get them sidetracked, but it’s all about staying focused and keeping yourself busy and having a goal in sight.”
Ruth and the girls agree, though, that MHS was an instrumental key to their college acceptances.
“We could not have done any of it without Ms. Chi [MHS college and career counselor],” Ruth said. “She spent endless hours working with all the girls and myself, helping us get scholarships and telling us where to apply.”
Now, with graduation recently behind them, the girls say there are plenty of things they won’t regret leaving behind.
“I won’t miss getting all my clothes stolen,” Ciara said.
“But mom, I know you’ll miss doing all those loads of wash,” Amber said.
But, the triplets and Ruth know they will always been united in one way or another.
“I’m already looking for apartments in New York so I can be bi-coastal,” Ruth said, laughing. “They might not like that too much, but they’re too much a part of my life for them to be too far away.”