21 Moments You Forgot Happened in 2021
At least one doctor, probably, has said that in order to move on from trauma, we must first embrace it.
Without further ado, a list of 21 moments that happened in 2021 that we've all done our best to suppress, rehashed in all their photogenic glory.
Nevertheless, we persisted.
The Capitol Riot
On a cold morning in January, thousands of insurgents stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C., egged on by then-President/sentient Cheeto Donald Trump. If you had asked me last week what year this deadly event took place in, I would've told you, "Please, leave me alone."
My ability to block the riot from my memory is partly owed to Facebook and Twitter, both of which shut down Trump's accounts as a consequence for his inciting remarks. We all know that were Trump still online, we would've never heard the end of his praise for the dude in the viking hat he probably mistook for one of his sons.
Days after the riot, Michelle Obama graced the Capitol steps in a monochromatic "winterberry" ensemble by Sergio Hudson. For the record, the color choice was not intended as a coy symbol of party unity, thank you.
The world was also introduced to second daughter Ella Emhoff, now a fashion model extraordinaire and D.C.'s own Bushwick Barbie, who had everybody tweeting "who is that" when she was spotted in her beaded Miu Miu coat.
Kim and Kanye Broke Up
After months of speculation, Kim Kardashian confirmed in February that she had filed for divorce from her husband of seven years and father of her four children, Kanye West. All's well that ends in a relationship with Pete Davidson, though?
FKA twigs Opened Up About Her Lawsuit Against Shia LaBeouf
In January, singer/songwriter FKA twigs gave a detailed account to the New York Times of why she was suing ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf. She recounted "relentless" mental and physical abuse, including sexual battery, which LaBeouf denied.
In a follow-up interview with Gayle King, twigs took issue with King's line of questioning about why she didn't leave the relationship. The discussion led to an online dialogue about emotional, physical, and financial restrictions that often ensnare domestic violence survivors. She also requested that media place the onus on the abusers to explain themselves — not survivors.
Britney Tells Her Side of the Story for the First Time
Kendall Jenner Launched a Tequila, Was Immediately Called Out for Appropriation
Kendall Jenner announced her 818 Tequila brand in February, and was immediately called out for cultural appropriation (including egregious Spanish grammatical errors). It didn't help that, a couple weeks later, she revealed an ad campaign in which she appeared to be cosplaying a migrant worker.
Jason Sudeikis Uttered Some Nonsense at the Golden Globes
Look at this man.
Here is a 46-year-old dad wearing a tie-dye hoodie from his sister's lifestyle brand while virtually attending a typically black-tie event in what appears to be a poorly lit hotel room just months after the public learned of his high-profile breakup from Olivia Wilde. Don't attempt to decipher his gibberish Golden Globes acceptance speech for the Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for his role in Ted Lasso. Just let this washed, tired dad look washed and tired and somehow charming in that "don't do it, girl"-kind of way. We're rooting for you, bud.
Meghan and Harry's Oprah Interview Had Us All Like "Omg"
The phrase "it can't be that bad" finally met its match, and her name is Oprah Gail Winfrey. The queen of asking questions and refusing to run for president (respect) sat down with the cool one of the royal family, Prince Harry, and his philanthropist wife, the TV-actor-turned-duchess Meghan Markle.
The pair revealed a number of unfathomable injustices on the part of the royal family — from racism, to lack of support in the war against the media, to a refusal to offer a depressed duchess mental health help.
The queen released an awkward statement in response — a rarity — so you know this interview ruffled some royal feathers.
We All Freaked Out About Getting a Vaccine Appointment
There was a period in early August when every pharmacy in the Tri-State Area was offering walk-in COVID vaccines — no wait time, no appointment, just like in the Before Times when you could saunter up to the CVS counter in the Lower East Side Target and ask for a flu shot.
As someone who spent hours attempting to book an appointment online, and then even more hours driving to Queens in rush-hour traffic only to be almost turned away because a copy of the New Yorker with my name and address on it was not sufficient proof of New York residence, this was infuriating. Remember Vaccine Daddy? Or the Vaccine Angels? All the blood, sweat, and tears we wasted in an effort to make sure we were doing our part? This, of course, was on top of vaccine FOMO.
I guess it was worth it in the end, as I was fully vaccinated by the beginning of May. But, still! I need someone to acknowledge the trauma of being illegally parked in Tribeca while getting my second dose. There is no anxiety quite like parking anxiety.
The Internet Got a New Boyfriend
Machine Gun Kelly, aka "weed," is the unlikely front-runner for the 2021 title of Internet Boyfriend. Runner-up is Travis Barker, former Blink-182 drummer and current Kardashian fiancé, who has manifested a return to relevance that not even Susan Miller could have foretold. The pop-punk renaissance is upon us.
These boyfriends, though, would be nothing without their real-life girlfriends/SKIMS ambassadors. Barker and Kourtney Kardashian confirmed their relationship on Valentine's Day before announcing their engagement in October. Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly began their relationship in late 2020, but really took things to the next level this year, with all kinds of coordinated couple looks and steamy PDA moments, including the above bathroom-stall tongue kisses. Stay gross, kids.
SoHo Karen Had the Audacity
Imagine disrespecting Gayle King. Better yet, imagine disrespecting Gayle King and expecting to get away with it.
Miya Ponsetto, aka SoHo Karen, had the audacity to go there during a virtual interview regarding Ponsetto's alleged assault of a Black teenager in New York City. During the incident, 22-year-old Ponsetto accused the 14-year-old of stealing her phone, and proceeded to physically accost him in the lobby of a Manhattan hotel, all of which was caught clear as day on the hotel's surveillance video. The hotel later returned Ponsetto's phone after it was turned in by an Uber driver. Ponsetto was accused of racially profiling the innocent kid she tackled, which she denied.
After King verbally backed Ponsetto into a corner by stating the facts, Ponsetto — wearing a "Daddy" baseball cap — put her hand up to the screen and said to the legendary CBS host "enough" while her lawyer visibly sighed beside her. Ponsetto was arrested hours after the interview.
J-Rod Broke Up, and Bennifer Reunited
Remember when, in January of this year, we were all waiting with bated breath for the wedding of the century between one Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez? I don't, either.
It seems like Ben Affleck and J.Lo reunited six years ago, not six months ago. (The pair confirmed their relationship in May.) I can no longer imagine a reality in which Bennifer 2.0 is not gallivanting in Venice, or making out in New York City, or caressing derrieres on yachts. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Bennifer is once more.
We All Thought It Was Going to Be Hot Girl Summer, LOL
We were (mostly) vaccinated. Bars were reopening. Dating apps were suddenly inundated with horny singles who had spent the last 18 months going on socially distanced walks outside and calling them "dates". We were getting waxed.
And then, Delta.
For a brief moment, we had cast our masks aside, renewed our passports, and prepared for the rager of the millennium. Ha.
Um, the Olympics Happened
Not only did the Tokyo Summer Olympics happen this year, they happened like four months ago. Simone Biles was there. Surfers, for the first time, were there. A bunch of sibling athletes were there. Even Kim Kardashian (kind of) was there.
Absent were fans, though, as the Delta variant created dangerous travel conditions. Also absent was Sha'Carri Richardson, the fan-favorite track star who was disqualified after she tested positive for marijuana, which she admitted smoking after the sudden death of her mother. She nonetheless was granted American Hero status stateside, and I guess was saved from wearing the cheugy-est of all Opening Ceremony uniforms?
All Your Faves Shared Their Questionable Bathing Routines
This was after Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher admitted that they only regularly bathe the necessities — in Mila's own words, "pits and tits and holes and soles" — and they only bathe their children if they can visibly see dirt on them. Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell took this statement as an opportunity to admit that they, too, only bathe their children when they "stink." OK?
Texas Passed Its Most Restrictive Anti-Abortion Legislation Yet
Not to harsh the vibe, but it's been a tough year for the pro-choice movement, and the Supreme Court really isn't helping.
In September, SCOTUS denied an emergency request to block the near-total abortion ban in Texas, which would restrict abortion access past six weeks gestation — before most people even know they're pregnant. The law also deputizes citizens to sue anyone they believe has provided or helped someone obtain abortion services, throwing in a $10,000 reward for their efforts.
Texas isn't the only state passing such strict anti-abortion legislation. SCOTUS recently heard oral arguments for the Mississippi case that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
Reminder: It's never too late to help.
Victoria's Secret Ditched Its Angels, Picked Up High-Profile Activists
The long-overdue Victoria's Secret rebrand began in June, when the company revealed it was ending the Victoria's Secret Angels and canceling its infamous annual runway shows. At the same time, the company unveiled its newest campaign, VS collective, starring well-known activists including actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas and U.S. Women's Soccer star Megan Rapinoe. The collective, says Rapinoe, will be more than just the face of the brand — they will also consult on language and imagery as Victoria's Secret undergoes major changes.
"I've known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven't had the control of the company to be able to do it," the new CEO of Victoria's Secret, Martin Waters, told the New York Times. "Right now, I don't see [the Angels] as being culturally relevant."
John Mulaney and Olivia Munn Set the Internet on Fire
Sorry to John Mulaney fans, but yes, we're talking about this again!
The comedian inspired the overuse of the phrase "parasocial relationships" on Twitter when he announced his divorce from the artist Anna Marie-Tendler, quickly followed by the news that he was in a relationship with actress Olivia Munn, which was then followed by the news that Olivia was pregnant with her and John's first child. (A sweaty man on TikTok then told us that the pair had broken up, but that rumor was never confirmed by either party's reps.)
I freaked, you freaked, we all collectively texted the group chat "wut." Will we ever recover from this moment in pop culture history? No. Shout out to the couple's new baby, whom Olivia gave birth to earlier this month.
AOC Went to Her First Met Gala
Like everything else, the Met Gala was postponed due to COVID, taking place in September rather than the first Monday in May. Thankfully, the date change didn't interfere with first-time attendee Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's schedule, and she hit the Met steps in a custom dress by designer Aurora James of the brand Brother Vellies.
The "statement" dress was met with mixed reviews, but both AOC and James stood by the decision to wear the "Tax the Rich" message to an event known to be filled exclusively with rich people.
"Obviously, we hoped the look would encourage real conversations about wealth and power in America," James told InStyle in October. "But it's hard to predict that level of attention."
A Dude Made a Cringe Comment About Anya Taylor-Joy Making Chess "Sexy"
Technically, The Queen's Gambit — the 2020 Netflix hit starring Anya Taylor-Joy as a chess prodigy — had a great showing at the Emmys. The speeches, though, left a lot to be desired.
First there was the man (director Scott Frank) who spoke on and on and on (and on) despite getting played offstage three times. Then, there was the dude (executive producer William Horberg, who accepted the award for Outstanding Drama on behalf of the cast and crew) who told ATJ she "brought the sexy back to chess."
All the cringe just came back full force.
Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac Gave Us This at the Venice Film Festival
May your 2022 have the sexual chemistry of this gif.
Honorable mention ...
Now if you need me, I'll be marching toward the new year with the aggressive confidence of my favorite forest nymph, Ashley Olsen. (That is to say, tipsy and armed with a machete.)
Good night and good riddance, 2021.