Gina Vaynshteyn
December 28, 2017 7:25 am
HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

HelloGiggles is ringing in the new year by celebrating all the smart, poignant, and brave essays that were published this year. Our voices and POVs are more important than ever, and even though 2017 was mostly a garbage fire, I still wanted HG to be the safe, inclusive space that it’s always been known to be, and a place that embraces and celebrates different perspectives and styles and journeys. Here’s to another great year filled with boundless storytelling by women.

***

1Anna Gragert, Associate Editor

“My treasured 2017 project is the series we published for Women’s History Month. It created a space for the women history forgot, for those women who, to this day, deserve a spot in our history textbooks. They are reminders that women are a fucking force:

HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

15 trans women and non-binary activists you should be learning about in history class

8 Native women you should have learned  about in history class

Here are 9 Latinas you should be learning about in history class

These are 11 of the Black women you should be learning about in history class 

11 Asian Pacific Islander women you should  have learned about in history class

 These 12 Muslim women you should be learning about in history class

2Emily Popp, Deputy Editor

“This one has double meaning because it signified the super exciting launch of our vertical, ‘The Blend.’ It’s been a joy to watch the vertical grow, and this is where it all started:

HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

Questions from two mixed-race daughters about our strong immigrant mothers

This piece is so scathingly spot-on. It’s smart, daring and it stayed with me for days, weeks, months after:

If you’re defending Ed Westwick amid rape allegations, we need to talk

I love this piece so much because this is a concept that I’ve *always* subconsciously wondered about myself, but never really had the words to verbalize it. Gina nailed the idea of fetishizing morning routines so superbly:

We care way too much about successful people’s mornings — and here’s why

As someone who is still mourning the death of brick-and-mortar mall stores, this was an incredibly researched, fascinating read:

This is what’s really going on with so-called ‘death of retail’

I always love [Gina’s] letter from the editors, and this was the perfect one to cap off 2017! That headline!! So, so good:

Letter from the Editor: ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but also be very concerned about democracy

So many fabulous videos to choose from, but something about the period cup video just really spoke to me. It was such a refreshing take on relatable women’s issues, and it just made me LOL the whole way through. But instead of just being about the gag of a period cup stuck in a vagina, the video really took us somewhere and had great thesis statement:

I thought my period cup was stuck

I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I first learned we were going to go through with this kitten cam thing. As we know, I’m not the biggest cat girl. And yet, here I am admitting this is one of the best things we did all year!

HG’s kitten cam

Just for s & gs:

Here are 9 parrots I think should be cast as Iago in Disney’s live-action ‘Aladdin’

3Nicole Adlman, Senior Editor

“This essay by The Blend’s writer Rebecca Paredes unpacks the complex relationship between culture, language, family, and food. Her story shows how speaking through something tactile, like a savory pork and cheese pupusa, can be just as beautiful as communicating with words:

HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

When you understand but can’t speak, just eat pupusas

Not going to lie, I was festive as fuck this Hanukkah, but I appreciate Rosie Glen-Lambert’s laser-sharp explanation of the holiday and why it shouldn’t be weighed against the normative Christian traditions of Christmas:

Please stop calling Hanukkah the ‘Jewish Christmas’

Jessica Wang conducted some of HG’s best interviews this year (with everyone from Rashida Jones to Patti LaBelle), and this is one of my favorites:

‘Insecure’ producer Amy Aniobi talks to us about the show, preservation of the black female experience, and her love for ’90s sitcoms

Any time Tiffany Curtis puts a critical lens to something unjust in the world, I immediately read it. In her essay about Pepsi’s infamously misguided, Kendall Jenner-led ad, she speaks poignantly about the continued trauma, persecution, and cultural co-opting black Americans face in their own country:

I’m a black woman, and this is how it felt to watch that Pepsi commercial

4Christina Wolfgram, Video Producer/On-Screen Talent

“I’m still proud of When Your Period is Unpredictable (from last January) — still pretty sure it’s the first period stain on a wedding dress used in a comedy video:

When your period is unpredictable 

My heart explodes for informational posts like these that help women stay up to date on what healthcare changes mean to them:

Here’s what you need to know about the birth control mandate rollback that happened today

5Sarah Terry, Contributor

“Because it was my first feature piece, I discovered and pitched it, and I love celebrating awesome, smart ladies killing it with both brainpower and creativity:

Melissa Felderman/SparkFun

This fabulous female engineer uses arts and crafts to inspire girls to try science

Because Wonder Woman was a very special movie to me in 2017, and my favorite part was all the stuff with the amazing Amazons at the beginning. And as someone who works in the film and TV business as a woman behind the camera, I know how lacking most of Hollywood is in female representation in those important jobs. So it was great to help celebrate Patty Jenkins’ choices as an awesome female voice that I can’t wait to see more of:

The ‘Wonder Woman’ Amazon warriors have the most badass jobs IRL

I also very much enjoyed this profile. I have always been fascinated by religion and culture, and how they intertwine.

As a Mexican-Jewish witch, Gabriela Herstik defines identity with magick, fashion, and writing

6Marie Lodi, Beauty Editor

“I loved how Clarice shared her personal journey about finding the right foundation shade – it’s a very *now* topic and I’m glad it had a happy ending (it surprisingly wasn’t Fenty!):

HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

How one writer found the right foundation for her deeper skin tone

I’m obsessed with people’s routines. This one really spoke to me:

We care way too much about successful people’s morning routines — and here’s why

HILARIOUS!!!!! Def need more drag queen content in 2018:

Trixie Mattel and Katya tell us about their new Viceland show, the women who influenced their comedy, and their favorite cult movies

Honorable mentions:

ME! Because it’s near and dear to my nostalgic heart. ’90s babes can relate to this highly underrated feminist era!!!

In appreciation of Lil’ Kim’s feminist hip-hop anthem, “Not Tonight,” during its 20th anniversary

And obvi, Viola Davis. I don’t have to explain. Viola is just queen:

Viola Davis gave us enough badass advice to be our full-time life coach

7Samantha Chavarria, Contributor

“This one, I’m proud to say, is mine. I had written another article for HG (Standing up for your health can literally mean the difference between life and death) talking about my dad’s terminal diagnosis with cancer and his fight getting treatment but this one was more personal. It was a love letter to my father and addressed the grief I was dealing with but writing it was also an amazing process that gave me hope. Three days after it was published, dad got the miraculous news that his first round of chemo had knocked out 95% of his cancer. He isn’t out of the woods yet, but we can see through the trees. I will always be thankful for editor Rachel Sanoff for allowing me to write this:

Navigating grief at what may be my dad’s last Christmas

I’m an avid gun reformist and the whole ‘guns don’t kill people’ thing as always struck me as a bunch of crap because I know that domestic violence is not caused by guns but the majority of domestic violence deaths involve victims with gunshot wounds. It’s time we take this issue more seriously and realize guns do more to terrorize and harm women than protect them. I was so glad to see this article for that reason:

Actually, yes, gun control is a women’s issue, and we have to start thinking of it that way

Ok, I’m hot and cold on Taylor but this has always been an issue that I’ve seen the hypocrisy in. It goes back to the old argument over whether popular figures are roll models or not. I say yes and the silence on her end about this speaks volumes. I was glad to see HG hold a fav accountable because that’s what we have to do to keep our integrity:

Why it absolutely matters that Taylor Swift has never denounced her white supremacist fans

8Stephanie Hallett, Contributor

“Anna G’s essay on public speaking and Beyoncé:

Anna Buckley / HelloGiggles - Buda Mendes/Getty Images - Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images - GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

Beyoncé taught me to be the strong woman I’d accepted I’d never be

9Gwendolyn Purdom Ottolin, Contributor

“Wanted to pass along my props to Karen Fratti’s piece that actually just went up yesterday, ‘Here’s how to shut down ignorant men who think women are ‘overreacting’ about sexual harassment,’ as a favorite. At a time when it’s sometimes hard not to feel helpless with everything that’s going on in the world, I think content like this that offers concrete ways to readers to make small positive change in their own personal circles is so, so valuable. Also, couldn’t not click on it with the holidays coming up. Bring on the inevitable uncomfortable conversations with obscure relatives — after reading this I’m ready for them!”

10Amanda Malamut, Contributor

“I would like to self promote my queer self care article. This piece has been a reminder throughout the year that taking care of myself is necessity. I can’t help other people if I can’t take care of myself:

Pexels

A queer girl’s guide to self care, because we could use some serious stress relief”

11Jill Layton, Contributor

“I love when my worlds collide, which is what happened when writer Stephanie Hallett interviewed Anjelah Johnson. Anj is my BFF and Hello Giggles is my favorite internet place, so it was all so perfect and wonderful:

Leon Bennett/FilmMagic

Anjelah Johnson told us all about her new comedy special, and how a girl working Burger King’s drive-thru changed her life

12Krista Jensen, Contributor

“A few of the odes to Carrie Fisher and how she became a sort of face for the *real* resistance here on planet Earth (here’s a sweet one):

Carrie Fischer was all over the Women’s March, and Mark Hamill’s response has us in tears

My own personal piece about becoming a mom in 2017 after a struggle with infertility; writing/publishing it gave me some closure and I got tons of tweets and messages from strangers who related to it, which felt really amazing during a weird postpartum fog:

My struggle to get pregnant nearly had me at my wit’s end, but here’s what it taught me about my body and self-worth.

Aaand honestly, all the ‘letters from the editor’ this year, and the accompanying artwork, of course. I felt at once singled out and addressed as part of a powerful group of women when you’d write to us, and I think your thoughts on democracy and positivity and feminism were all really great and helped provide support during some trying times. So thank you!”

13Arielle Tschinkel, Contributor

“Two of my favorite writers on the site (Karen Fratti and Kenya Foy) have done such amazing work that it was hard to choose, but here are my two favorites (I *think!*):

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Racism against white people doesn’t exist in America and here’s why it never will

Let’s be real: writing about racism is *never* easy, but Karen manages to do so in a way that is both effective and sensitive, gracefully handling a topic that could very easily incite rage in our readers. Her words are thoughtful and poignant, while still being tough and to-the-point.

6 important differences between self-care and selfishness

Kenya is one of the very best lifestyle writers out there, and her work is always empowering and comforting, filled with the perfect little touches like GIFs and phrases to complement her voice perfectly.

This is what it’s really like to live with an anxiety-induced skin-picking disorder

This is admittedly my own self-promo, but I include this more as gratitude towards YOU guys for giving me a safe space to write about mental health. I can’t tell you how many messages I got from readers thanking me for this piece because they felt so alone in the same struggle, and I was so afraid to put these thoughts into the world because of how alone I felt! I would love to be able to write more openly about these topics in 2018 and I know that HG is my safe zone to do so.”

14Candace Granger, Contributor

“There were a ton of amazing HG articles this year, and I hate to self-promote, but my favorite piece written, probably ever, is:

NBC

How “This Is Us” is helping me grieve my biological father

I’m choosing this because over the last 9 years, I haven’t found a way to grieve my father. This show, and writing this article, shifted something in me; it closed a vein that otherwise hadn’t. And because it came from the place I least expected it, this show, these characters, will forever be my marker for healing.

I also loved the interview Anna did with me about my book because it felt like a full circle moment having written for HG for years now.”

15Rachel Paige, Entertainment Editor

“I wrote a lot of Game of Thrones stories this year. Honestly, maybe TOO MANY Game of Thrones stories. But this one is one of my favorites because I was just so full of emotions by the end of the season, I couldn’t think straight — and then I remembered that Gendry just up and went MIA again and come on buddy. Can you not right now?

Honestly, I turn my back for ONE SECOND, and now I’ve lost track of Gendry again on ‘Game of Thrones’

I am not at all sorry I cornered Evan Peters at an event and made him tell me about his blue hair for American Horror Story (even though we can all agree this [last] season was……….shall I say, odd?):

Evan Peters’ blue hair for ‘American Horror Story’ Season 7 was all his idea

On April 26th, 2017 my dreams came true: I wrote not one but three different stories about Jeff Goldblum. Here was the best one, where he’s selling sausage out of a food truck in Australia, fulfilling all sorts of weird dreams/wishes:

Jeff Goldblum is currently selling sausage out of a food truck, and what a time to be alive.

Also bonus: No one realized I was doing this because it was Paul Rudd’s birthday. Everyone just thought I was forcing them to tell me their favorite moment of his for fun.”

I forced the HelloGiggles staff to tell me their favorite Paul Rudd moment”

16Dan Magro, Senior Video Editor

“I mean…? This is so on brand and fun and open. I still LOLOL:

Your period, as told my horror movies

This combines two of my favorite things, bagels and mermaids. Where else can you get this but HG?

Mermaid Tales: Who doesn’t love bagels?

This experience was something really beautiful to see happening in actuality over the period in the office, and I’m proud of how the 4 minutes in the blurb translate that.

We fostered kittens for a week

17Alyssa Morin, Associate Beauty Editor

I really loved doing this tutorial because a) it got me out of my comfort zone and b) it was different from all of the other beauty recreations I do. Most of them are super glam and with this one, I was able to really hone in on my ‘craft’:

Alyssa Morin / HelloGiggles / Columbia Pictures

Here’s a Nancy from ‘The Craft’ Halloween makeup tutorial for you and your coven

It’s probably annoying at this point, but being able to copy JLO’s iconic makeup look from ‘Jenny From the Block’ was really special for me. It wasn’t just copying her makeup for me, I really wanted to get everything right, from using products that have been inspired by her glow to learning how to contour my lips in the same way her makeup artist did for that video:

Jennifer Lopez’s single ‘Jenny From the Block’ turns 15 today, so I recreated her iconic makeup look

I loved that Marie got to interview Beyoncé’s makeup artist! I enjoyed reading this interview, learning about makeup tips and his idea on beauty trends (like how thin brows from the ‘90s were really a trend from the 1920s):

Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John tells us whether he thinks the ’90s brow will ever make a comeback

Reading this personal essay about how DACA was really eye opening. It was such a great article on how Trump’s rhetoric, new laws, and overall discriminatory message is really affecting real humans. It’s one thing to read a regular news story about it but to read something so personal and how it affects someone’s life really made me sad and I love that that writer felt safe and comfortable sharing that on HG:

A letter to DACA recipients who sometimes forget they don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to be respected

While this has been recreated countless of times, I did a lot of research to accurately apply makeup in the way she did. For example, she used Vaseline as a PRIMER, she was one of the first to contour her lips (well, her makeup artist was) and she also used white eyeliner to enhance her eyes. It was super fascinating to me that a simple red lip and cat-eye was so much more when you actually think about her entire beauty routine:

In honor of Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, I recreated her iconic makeup look that was way ahead of its time

This was so fun and interesting to read. It was interesting how different cultures view makeup and marriage and how one lipstick can be powerful enough lol to land you a husband. I loved Emily’s angle and her take on the whole thing:

Wear this shade of Estée Lauder lipstick and you’ll get married in a year, according to the myth behind “Japanese Marriage Lipstick”

Bonus: some of my fave Pretty/HG videos!

Wednesday Addams Halloween Costume Makeup Tutorial

A modern-day witch tutorial

18Karen Belz, Contributor

“I just wanted to note that I loved following Jill’s IVF adventure. I know the first story was from 2016, but hearing about Eloise was born, and the things they don’t tell you about new moms, totally resonated with me (for obvious reasons.) I just love her personality and have re-read that piece multiple times.

As for my own, I was pretty proud of the Vanessa Hudgens interview I did, since I actually thought I was going into labor that day before it happened! I had to cancel it, then try to make sure it was back on when I realized it was a false start. (I kind of thought that “I cancelled on Vanessa Hudgens to give birth to you” would have been a pretty stellar story for my daughter, yet alas, she arrived days later.) Vanessa also opened up to me about powering through her Grease: Live! performance immediately after losing her dad, which I’m still quite touched by.”

19Rachel Sanoff, Features Editor

“Gripping imagery, captivating transitions documenting the writer’s coming-of-age, and lighthearted allusions to poet Sandra Cisneros powerfully tell a story that is painfully familiar to so many — surviving eating disorders and surviving sexual abuse — with a feeling of hope:

GeorgePeters via Getty Images

Sometimes a woman needs a man who loves her ass — and sometimes she doesn’t, by Stephanie Jimenez

This essay’s use of both anecdotes and news creates a profoundly brutal callout of all those who claim to be “shocked” by the racism we’ve witnessed this year, as well as an impactful call-to-action for all those who actually want to be allies:

Stop asking me if I’m okay after Charlottesville — and start using your privilege to fight back, by Tiffany Curtis

I’m grateful for this news feature that takes so much complex research about a devastating subject, and breaks it down into accessible facts — and in the era of Trump, facts are more important than ever:

How to respond when someone says ‘more guns save lives’, by Samantha Chavarria”

20Pamela Avila, Social Media Producer

“Trump rescinded DACA in 2017, and it was so disheartening and painful to see the effects it had on DACA recipients and all of those affected. Reading personal essays like this helped me not only learn more about what it actually means to be a DACA recipient but also realize that there’s so much work that has to be done and we need to support Dreamers all the way through:

David McNew/Getty Images

DACA eased my fears, but I will not let a piece of paper define my future

This was simply so well-written and it made you CHECK YOURSELF before you did something other than not believe these women coming forward. This piece just lay everything out plain and clear: you can’t pick and choose ‘when it comes to empowering victims of abuse and choose when advocacy is convenient for you’:

 If you’re defending Ed Westwick amid rape allegations, we need to talk

My interview with comedian and actress Cristela Alonzo was my first interview for HelloGiggles but also just what I needed at that moment. Everything Alonzo talked about in regards to the ways she was raised and how that’s affected her adult life was extremely relatable, and empowering. Her story is beautiful and I’m just glad I was able to tell a part of it:

Cristela Alonzo talks to us about never dreaming small and how to deal with imposter syndrome”

21Margeaux Klein, SEO Writer

“I loved this one because it took a big pop culture news story and explored it on a very personal level:

An American Black woman is about to join the Royal Family, and I’m celebrating”

22Gina Vaynshteyn, Editorial Director

“It’s impossible to pick which HelloGiggles stories were my favorite this year, because there were SO. MANY. good ones. I feel astonishingly proud every single day to be publishing work that is unapologetic, smart, funny, and thoughtful. A few that really stood out to me were (but, seriously, I could go on and on and on about all the powerful HG stories we published this year):

Wear this shade of Esteé Lauder lipstick and you’ll get married in a year, according to the myth behind ‘Japanese Marriage Lipstick’

Emily’s brother lives in Japan, and when she told me about how her brother’s girlfriend got her “marriage lipstick” for Christmas, I knew she had to write about it. I love how much research went into this post, and how telling this mytholigized beauty product is about Japan’s expectations for women (and ours as well, tbh).

HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

I’ve lived in L.A. for five years, but embracing Birkenstock is what made me a California girl

Nicole has a special way with words that makes me so happy she works at HG and also very jealous, because her talent for writing is tremendous, and very Joan Didion-esque. I loved this essay about how she learned to love this clunky, controversial sandal because it transcended fashion and became much more about identity.

Why ‘surprise period pants’ is actually the best Halloween costume

Sometime in October, our video producer Christina found that a New York Post article slammed her Halloween costume video (in which Christina includes “surprise period” as an actually scary costume, along with generalized anxiety, something that she has), saying a “surprise period” is actually the worst costume. Christina wrote a response to the article, and it was incredibly thoughtful and honest. In it, she explains why she created her video and why she wouldn’t be apologizing for it, and I think that’s just so brave and cool.”

Advertisement