A Letter From Refinery29’s EIC On How We’re Staying Connected During The COVID-19 Crisis

The other day, my husband was scrolling through HBO and landed on The Day After Tomorrow. “You love this movie,” he said as I spun around from the kitchen counter where I was parsing broccoli bites for my daughter’s lunch. 
The film, as you’re probably aware (I can’t be the only one), is a disaster tale starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, and Dennis Quaid as Gyllenhaal’s father, a paleoclimatologist who unpopularly predicts another ice age barreling toward civilization. It’s corny and thrilling, and yes, disturbing, given that it debuted in 2004 and feels oddly prescient in how sharply director Roland Emmerich depicted the growing concerns over climate change and the world’s resistance to believing it. This line from the late film critic Roger Ebert’s review at the time sums it up for me, “What’s amusing in movies like The Day After Tomorrow is the way the screenplay veers from the annihilation of subcontinents to whether Sam [Gyllenhaal] should tell Laura [Rossum] he loves her.” 
I find this film strangely comforting, in the same way maybe Titanic or The Impossible makes you relieved to be safe at home, rooting for anyone facing down the catastrophe and making it through, no matter how dark it gets. But these days, there is no “out there” or “in here.” It’s all of us, every day, in this strange new world, together. These past few weeks have been difficult for everyone. For most of us, it’s radically altered our routines and relationships. For others, it has been financially devastating, life-threatening, or fatal. The emergence of COVID-19 has tipped our worlds on end, upturning our lives in ways we didn’t believe were possible in our lifetime. 
And yet, here we are.  
In just the past week, since governors and other elected officials across the country began issuing statewide shutdowns, things have escalated quickly. We know that during scary, unknowable times like this, we depend even more on real-time long-established news sources for facts, studies, and opinions. We’re with you (thank you, New York Times and Rachel Maddow). Our aim at Refinery29 is to play just as critical a role in your daily lives. Especially now when, like us, you need trusted guidance, information, and also levity. Because there’s NO shame in laughing right now. (Hear us: No. Shame.) While we trace the barrage of information on COVID-19 prevention, myths, vaccine development, economic fallout, and impact on workers and at-risk communities, we know you’re also yearning for advice on how to navigate a scary job market, ways to support local businesses and help vulnerable groups, how to stay “balanced” (whatever that means to you) and sane while you’re quarantined in a studio apartment, or what books to read or shows to watch to help distract you or make you feel less alone. 
As with every life-changing event that happens in your world, Refinery29 is working around the clock to bring you answers, while standing right there with you. In the same way you now know more about your roommate or significant other than you probably ever wanted to, we’re hoping to get to know you better, too — your hopes, your fears, your questions — so we can do even more to play an important and worthwhile role in your lives.  
So, here’s our plan. You tell us what’s on your mind now, and we’ll continue hustling to keep you informed, inspired, and feeling hopeful about what’s to come. Even if what’s to come seems impossibly scary and like you want to hide in your bathroom. Please...come out of your bathroom. It’s safe to be scared. And it’s safe to ask for support. We’ve always thought of Refinery29 as that safe space and touchstone for our community — the family we choose. And being deeply connected remotely means more now than ever before. So, in order to better lean on each other, we want to know what your days look like in this new reality, how you’re feeling, what’s bringing you comfort or keeping you awake at night, and, of course, what we can do to help. We’re even curious to know your favorite Zoom background for virtual happy hours (a giant pic of John Oliver, perhaps?). Fill out the form here to share with us. Everything you tell us will directly inform all the work we’re doing right now — from answering the most timely things on your mind to future planning around stories and tools that can guide us all as COVID-19 continues to unfold and impact our lives. We’ll even give some personal shout-outs because, as always, our connection runs both ways. 
We may be alone in our homes, but it’s possible our collective well-being is more linked than ever. We need each other. And that’s something to be thankful for. Like corny disaster films and memes like these. Things that remind us that, no matter how unfamiliar and strange the days may become, there’s hope that, like those families posting signs on their balconies in Italy, “Andrà a tutto bene” — everything will be okay.
With love,
Christene Barberich & the Refinery29 Editorial team

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