Raven-Symoné's 20/20 Vision
Our favorite early-aughts psychic answers the GARAGE Questionnaire.
Collage by Joy Matashi
"If you could gaze into the future / You might think life would be a breeze." At this very particular moment in time, we have to wonder… What could Raven see that we couldn't?
And if one could have maybe, hypothetically, even fictionally, peered into the future, into the year 2020, what would that “vision” have even looked like? When a young Raven-Symoné Pearman starred as the eponymous Raven Baxter on Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven, from 2003 to 2007, the premise felt Disney-standard. A teenager has a tight-knit family, a pair of quirky best friends, a passion for fashion, and a secret power: She can see into the future. The show, from our vantage point now, feels strangely prescient, if a little presumptuous: a young Black woman with psychic abilities, able to foresee coming conflict and thus tasked (over and over again) to save the day.
As she grew out of child stardom, Raven has remained musical, stylish, and delightfully, publicly opinionated, both as a former View cohost and on her own Instagram Live. She’s even reprised the role of Raven Baxter on the Disney reboot Raven’s Home, which returns with new episodes this fall.
In the face of an increasingly uncertain future, Raven—with commentary from her wife, Miranda Maday, whom she married at home mid-quarantine this past June—looks backward and forward in time while answering the GARAGE Questionnaire, keeping an eye out for problematic faves, prime flavors, and alternate dimensions. It’s the future she can see, right?
Instagram Live or Zoom?
What's the best thing you've cooked while in quarantine?
What's the best thing you've read or watched while in quarantine?
We've gone through two audio books, and I've watched all of the mukbangs YouTube has to offer—it's amazing.
Final meal. Who, what, where, and when?
Who? Spielberg and Denzel Washington. What? I would like ziti, a rack of lamb, panna cotta, and shabu-shabu. Where? Japan. And when? Right now.
Do you think the ocean is haunted?
Yes, but I don't think it's haunted. I think it has aliens in it.
What's your favorite scent?
The smell of my life.
How old are you at heart?
At heart, I'm about 72.
Pen or pencil?
What would God say if you arrived in heaven?
What'd you do to get here?
Miranda Maday: “Wrong door, bitch.”
“Wrong door, bitch.” It's so true.
Once and for all, are we living in the Matrix?
I've been thinking about the Matrix and the fact that we've been living in it since The Matrix came out and prior, so yes, we are living in it.
No, I don't want that.
A deli is going to name a sandwich after you. What's in it?
Pepperoncinis. Cornichons, salami of all different kinds. Turkey meat, lettuce, tomato, Kewpie mayo, that Jersey Mike red pepper stuff. And on a crusty, crusty baguette.
What's your most used emoji?
The face upside-down smile.
Are memes art?
I think memes are art. I think it is an art now. It's definitely turned into an art.
Bread with olive oil or bread with butter? Assume all components are the good kind.
Bread… That's hard, though, because some bread requires butter and some bread requires olive oil. So a fresh-baked bread requires good, cold butter, and a crusty bread that's kind of been sitting for a little bit can be soaked in olive oil.
What is the most overrated virtue?
I like that question. What is it? What do you think it is, babe?
MM: The most overrated virtue? Honesty or kindness.
Honesty or kindness, I'll second that. I think it's kindness that's most overrated.
MM: Yeah. Being kind is totally overrated. What are the seven virtues, right?
I don't know what they are.
What is your idea of misery?
Ugh. My idea of misery is a car with no air conditioning in the middle of Texas in the middle of summer, and somebody left an entire fried fish in the backseat and there's no Wi-Fi. I have a problem.
MM: Literally what happened to you last summer.
I know what happened to me last summer, and that's what happened to me.
Favorite problematic person, living or dead?
Goodness gracious. Favorite problematic person, living or dead? God, there's so many names that come to mind, but I might get canceled if I name any of them. I'm going to say… That one's hard. Problematic. I don't want to answer that one. I don't want to get in trouble. I don't feel like it right now.
MM: Mozart or something.
He's not problematic.
MM: Sure, he was.
How was Mozart problematic, baby?
MM: You ever watch Amadeus?
I did, he was just problematic to himself.
MM: Yeah, he was problematic but he's cool.
Then I'll still say Napoleon then.
MM: Yeah, Napoleon.
Napoleon is super problematic.
MM: Super. Think of all the people— He's so problematic, and even in today's world we're like, “Napoleon complex.”
Yeah, true. Okay, Napoleon's my faves problematic man.
If your style were cooked, what would it taste like?
It would taste like French fries dipped in Frosties. Right? I'm that. Maybe a chicken nugget dipped in a Frosty.
MM: Yeah, you'd be like a classic flipped on its head, with some sugar and spice.
There it is, sugar and spice.
If you could only text with one person for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Miranda, my wife.
MM: She had to say that.
No, I didn't.
What's the least useful thing you own?
God. There’s so much. It’s probably the fourth pair of Raf Simons sneakers that I bought that are the same style, just all different colors. That's probably it.
And what is the most useful thing you own?
The most useful thing that I own is my wonton maker.
MM: My hotpot.
My hotpot. It's my hotpot.
What would the devil say if you arrived in hell?
MM: “Welcome home. We've been waiting for you.”
“We've been waiting for you.” Yeah, pretty much.
What is a place in time you'd like to visit?
France, but when Nina Simone was alive. I would like to be Nina Simone's protégé back in that time period, even though it sucked for Black people in America at that time. I would like to see Paris and [learn] why the artists flew there to see what was going on during that time.
MM: Doesn't it still suck for Black people here?
I mean, it does still suck here, but… Maybe we should go to Paris.