Melissa & Jessica
Melissa (28) & Jessica (24)
Marble Canyon, Arizona
“The Cow Girls”
100 miles North of the Grand Canyon, in a land untouched by time live two sisters who run a picturesque cattle farm surrounded by red rock mountains, expansive pastures and lush forests. Melissa and Jessica preside over their family ranch that has been passed down from generation to generation dating back nearly one hundred years. The girls say that their bond is like that of soldiers who have been to war together and they feel lucky that they are best friends and soulmates. They couldn’t be closer if they tried. Being female ranch hands doesn’t provide much of a social life, but these sisters are happy to spend every waking moment together.
Despite being four years apart, Melissa and Jessica feel like they are twins. They like to trick people in to thinking they are twins! They say it’s amusing and they get more attention when they dress alike. The duo were homeschooled together and have always been each other’s best friend. They have acquaintances through their LDS church but don’t consider anyone to be a close friend. Jessica and Melissa have no social media and think it’s strange that their peers are so “obsessed” with posting their lives online. They prefer to have “real-life” friendships, but even that seems to be a struggle for them. Melissa sometimes feels like having a friend outside of her relationship with her sister would be a betrayal. Jessica feels the same way and feels like no one could be a better friend to her than her sister.
They live an isolated life in a very rural and remote part of the country. They have solar power at their home. They hunt every fall and their days are spent tending to a large ranch. The duo make a weekly trip 40 miles away to Page, Arizona so they can do laundry, grocery shop and seeing friends in town. Their mother, Olive, never intended for her daughters to stay on the ranch. Olive continues to push her daughters to get off the farm and explore the world around them. She wants her daughters to get more out of life than she did. Olive never intended to live life on the farm and feels like she missed out on traveling, learning and exploring the world. Olive thinks that the girls need to expand their horizons by getting college degrees, moving to a big city and even not living together so they don’t resign themselves to the life that she had. The conversation about the next generation of the farm is an ongoing conversation in the family. Though Jessica and Melissa are running the day to day operations, they are not guaranteed to inherit it.
Melissa and Jessica have never been kissed! They tried the Mormon dating app, LDS Singles, but it was a short-lived venture. They didn’t find anyone that piqued their interest and had some uncomfortable conversations with gentlemen on the app. They both want to find love, get married and have children but finding love where they live is next to impossible. They worry about their future and achieving their dreams of having their “own” lives, because they know that they will need to leave their families and the farm to find it. Their biggest fear is that they would have to leave each other and not live close to each other. Life apart seems unbearable, but they know that in order to take the next step in their lives, it may have to be in different directions. The ultimate dream is to live on the ranch, next to each other in matching houses with their respective husbands and children. However, they know that they need to leave the nest of the ranch to make that dream a reality.
In the next year, Melissa and Jessica are looking forward to publishing a book of short stories together, starting a new business of selling their handmade quilts and crafts. They are curious about moving to a bigger city or perhaps enrolling in school to get college degrees. The sisters are on the path of trying to build their futures together and they hope that everything lines up so that they can have it all….together.