2018, we’re going to let you finish, but you’ve been a serious test to the endurance of the human spirit, tbh. And we’re not even *here* to recap the infinitely creative ways you messed with our heads these last 12 months. But in spite of what you put us through, there were some notable glimmers of hope that managed to shine through despite the dark hours of the Brett Kavanaugh trial and that whole Facebook-Cambridge Analytica cock-up.
In fact, it turns out that you gave us *so* many joyful moments that we actually had a hard time whittling down our fave 18 here. (It’s worth mentioning that not even the emergence of new internet boyfriend Noah Centineo made the cut.)
Here’s hoping the bright moments below will help restore our faith in humanity just enough to say “thank u, next” to another year, and move on with hope for 2019.
Here, our countdown of the most uplifting moments of 2018:
18. The Launch of the Time’s Up movement
Just hours into the new year, while most of the world was reaching for Advil or ordering an Uber home, 300 powerhouse women in Hollywood launched a coordinated campaign against sexual misconduct in the workplace, largely in response to the #MeToo movement and revelations of decades-long sexual harassment by film producer Harvey Weinstein. The open letter was signed by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes, and appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times. It also included a $13-million legal defense fund to help women in less privileged positions fight sexual predation at work. The campaign was in full force come awards season, with stars wearing black and Time’s Up buttons to the Golden Globes to help raise awareness and funds for the cause. To date, Time’s Up has raised more than $20 million and appointed former WNBA president Lisa Borders as its first president and CEO.
17. Tessa and Scott danced into Olympic history
After skating their way to gold (again) at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, Canada’s sweethearts Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will live forever (together) in our hearts. Virtue and her “partner-in-crime”—her words—are not only the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, but they’ve managed to fuel the world’s collective curiosity with a near mythical are-they-aren’t-they? dating saga that not even Ellen could crack (ELLEN!!!). Whatever their dating status, there’s no denying that these two continue to spread joy around the world even when they’re off the ice. (And you can find Virtue in the company of other inspiring boss women on FLARE’s 2018 #HowIMadeIt list.)
16. Beyoncé made history at Coachella
Less than a year after giving birth to twins Rumi and Sir, Beyoncé took the stage at Coachella to become the first woman of colour to headline the iconic music festival. The superstar was set to perform at the 2017 iteration while pregnant with twins, but bowed out when doctors told her to scale back her schedule. Making a historic comeback this year, Beyoncé not only reunited with her former Destiny’s Child bandmates on stage both weekends, but proved to be the only legitimate response to the question, “Who run the world?”
15. Emma Gonzalez reminded us that young women will *save* the world
Just days after a gunman entered her Florida high school and killed 17 students, Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, stood alongside fellow survivors to deliver an incendiary speech at a gun control rally. In it, she called on national lawmakers to take action to prevent more mass school shootings—and also called B.S. on politicians who insist that stricter gun laws do not decrease gun violence. Gonzalez later penned an op-ed for Teen Vogue on why young people are taking a stand and was part of the student-led demonstration in support of the March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C. “In just a few weeks’ time, we, the youth of the United States, have built a new movement to denounce gun violence and call for safety in all of our communities,” she wrote. “And this is only the beginning.” Kids these days, right?
14. A Toronto teen broke the internet with his glam grad photo
It was the graduation photo seen around the world: on his 18th birthday, Etobicoke, Ont. teen Kevin Kodra shared his high school grad photo—in which he sported a full face of makeup and showed off a set of killer cheekbones—on Instagram, and it quickly went viral. In the midst of his social media fame, the beauty influencer spoke to FLARE about the after-school gigs with M.A.C and TooFaced Cosmetics that have resulted from his popular feed.
13. The September issues mostly featured people of colour
Fashion doesn’t always get diversity and inclusive representation right—see every Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in the history of time as proof—but this September, the biggest issues of the biggest U.S. mags were more racially diverse than ever, with more than half featuring people of colour (that’s up from last year’s embarrassing 22.2%). Tiffany Haddish appeared on Glamour, Zendaya was on Marie Claire, and Kanye West, North West and Saint West were featured on Harper’s Bazaar. And, most notably, Beyoncé’s history-making Vogue cover was the first-ever shot by an African-American photographer, 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell.
12. Two rival female hockey players got married
Tessa and Scott couldn’t give us the epic love story we needed in 2018, but these two skaters did: Former Canadian women’s hockey team forward Gillian Apps and American forward Meghan Duggan got married in Maine in September—with the full blessing of their highly competitive teams. “True love overcomes even the largest of rivalries,” the U.S. Olympic Committee tweeted; “From competitors on the ice to partners for life,” Canadian Olympic Committee posted to its own Twitter account. Apps and Duggan now look forward to a lifetime of mutual physical fitness and deciding whose Olympic gold medals will hang more prominently in the family room. Cheers to love!
11. Mindy Kaling’s commencement speech delivered all the life wisdom you’ll ever need
How do you make a philosophical dent in the Insta-track minds of today’s youth? With hard-won life wisdom dispensed by the fearless female badass of our time, Mindy Kaling, that’s how. In June, the writer-executive producer returned to her alma mater, Dartmouth College, to deliver this year’s commencement address. In her 17-minute speech, she extolled wisdom on dating in the #MeToo era, the need for more diverse representation and casting in Hollywood, and why women should do a better job of supporting each other. It’s worth re-watching, and repeating, wherever you are on your journey: “I was not someone who should have the life I have now, and yet I do. I was sitting in the chair you are literally sitting in right now and I just whispered, ‘Why not me?’ And I kept whispering it for 17 years; and here I am.”
10. Chrissy Teigen taught us how to actually say her name
Leave it to Chrissy Teigen to casually drop a truth bomb on Twitter and then watch the world spiral into madness. That’s just what happened when she pointed out that we’ve all been saying her name wrong. This. Whole. Time. (It’s Tie-gen not Tee-gen.) Cue minds blown everywhere. But rather than correct every red-carpet interviewer or Starbucks barista who bungled her surname, she resigned herself to a life of responding to a close-enough misnomer. It got lots of people thinking—including one FLARE writer—about how hard it can be to teach people how to properly say your name.
9. Canada’s Donna Strickland earned a Nobel Prize in Physics
University of Waterloo researcher Donna Strickland became the third woman *ever* to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. (NDB, just casually following in Marie Curie’s footsteps.) Strickland was also the first woman in 55 years to receive the honour, sharing the $1.29-million prize with an American scientist and French physicist for their work in laser physics, which contributed to advancements in corrective eye surgery. Needless to say, Strickland was promoted to full professor in the wake of her groundbreaking achievement.
8. This Indigenous girls’ hockey team raised over $100K to enter a tournament
It took a year and a half of careful planning to raise more than $120K so that the Rez Girls hockey team from Ontario’s Eabametoong First Nation could participate in their first tournament in Ottawa. The First Nation reserve, known as Fort Hope, Ont., is 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay and can only be accessed by plane (or ice roads in the winter). The girls, ages 10 to 12, wrote letters to donors and launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for a charter plane, hotel rooms and tournament fees to visit Canada’s capital city. (Prior to the trip, many of the girls had only ever left the reserve for medical appointments.) “It was a bit of a pipe dream in the beginning to think we could raise the funds, but we wanted to give it a try,” said team manager Allison Norman.
7. Crazy Rich Asians became the most successful Hollywood rom-com in 10 years
The groundbreaking box-office success of the film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s crazy-amazing novels is better than any Hollywood plot line. Director Jon Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians has become the most successful Hollywood studio romantic comedy released in the last decade, pulling in more than $218 million worldwide to date, and surpassing 2008’s Sex and the City film. It’s also the first studio film to feature an all-Asian cast. This comes on the heels of the financial success of Marvel’s Black Panther, proving there’s a strong appetite for more inclusive narratives in pop culture.
6. Taylor Swift got political (file this one under ‘better late than never’)
Known for her coy ambivalence on everything from famous flings to her vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Taylor Swift finally spoke out. A month before the Nov. 6 U.S. midterm election, Swift took to Instagram to endorse Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, and encouraged her 113 million followers to register to vote. Though Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, whom Swift denounced in her post, was later elected senator, Swift caused a drastic spike in voter registrations, shedding any previously apolitical bad blood. “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for Vote.org, told Buzzfeed News.
5. The world learned what BDE is—a term which, BTW, a Canadian writer came up with
The acronym—first coined by Toronto’s Kyrell Grant—caught fire during the height of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s whiplash-inducing romance, when a fan asked Grande how “long” her then-fiancé was. Grande replied that Davidson was very long indeed (“like 10 inches?”) and it was off to the races for BDE, which—as Grant later told the Guardian—is “a phrase I’d used with friends to refer to guys who aren’t that great but for whatever reason you still find attractive.” And fear not, BDE isn’t a vibe exclusive to men; as The Cut helpfully pointed out, both Cate Blanchett (“BDE for days”) and Rihanna (“overflowing with BDE”) possess it in spades.
4. Ireland reversed its abortion ban
On May 26, 2018, Ireland voted to reform the Catholic nation’s strict, 157-year-old abortion ban. Irish expats around the world returned home to cast their ballot in the historic referendum, with 66.4% voting in favour of repealing the constitution’s eighth amendment. “Today is a historic day for Ireland,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said at a press conference. “A quiet revolution has taken place.”
3. The British Royals worked really hard at being royal
Whilst the rest of us were contending with the neverending Trump-Russia-Facebook news cycle and scraping the bottom of our Halo Top ice cream tubs, the Royals were busy having the most extra year possible. This resulted in a new royal baby, two royal weddings and the announcement of another royal baby on the way. (Seriously though, what were you doing this past year?) Prince William and Kate welcomed their third child, Prince Louis, on April 23. Just weeks later, the Cambridges, Clooneys and Mulroneys descended on Windsor Castle to celebrate the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19. It was, as one FLARE writer put it, “the Blackest moment in British Royal history.” The Royals then returned to Windsor on October 12 for the nuptials of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. Oh, that’s also when Harry and Meghan told the fam they were expecting their first child, due sometime in spring 2019. And there’s still a few days left in 2018 for more surprises…
2. Netflix’s Queer Eye became the symbol of hope
From whom did you get your self-care this year if not Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan? And how, most crucially, did you learn about perfecting the French tuck? Since launching with two seasons earlier this year, the celebrated Netflix reboot has given us so many important life lessons (and tears). Returning to a vastly different political climate than that of the original 2003 Queer Eye for the Straight Guy set in LGBTQ-friendly New York, the new cast headed to the Deep South, tasked with “turning red states pink, one makeover at a time.” And we were *so* here for it.
1. The #FreeBungle campaign got this outlaw puppy released from prison
Friends, please take a look at the face of a hardened criminal.
This is Bungle, a four-month old chow-chow pup who was detained by Northamptonshire Police in the U.K. when he bit an officer after escaping from the family home. The furry outlaw was detained for more than four days in the interest of public safety. And the internet was having none of it. After owner David Hayes took to Facebook to update the local village that Bungle had been confiscated under the Dangerous Dogs Act, more than 10,000 people signed an online petition demanding his release; meanwhile #FreeBungle began trending on Twitter. But this is a good-news story, so there’s a happy ending for Bungle and his family. “Having gone through a proportionate investigation and risk assessment, the dog has been returned with appropriate conditions to manage any future risk,” said Chief Superintendent Chris Hillery. More good news to help you ride off into 2019 with ease: The cop suffered only minor injuries. Happy new year, everyone!