18 years ago, Monica Lewinsky went through hell. It inspired her to create these emojis.

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about bullying.

Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images.


As the 22-year-old former White House intern at the center of Bill Clinton's most notorious sex scandal, Lewinsky endured a round of public humiliation that rivals any in recent history.

Diners watch Monica Lewinsky's interview with Barbara Walters in 1999. Photo by Tannen Maury/Getty Images.

Now, 18 years after the protracted political saga that upended her life, she's back on a mission to helping kids fight back against online bullying.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

...with emojis.


The emojis, which Lewinsky conceived with a friend, are designed to send a message.

According to Lewinsky, who wrote an op-ed for Vanity Fair introducing the project, the icons give smartphone users a simple, direct way to say, "I'm here for you, and I've got your back," to anyone they see being attacked online. The designs — hands reaching out on either a heart-shaped or round colored background — are intended to evoke solidarity.

"Support — whether it’s from friends or strangers — matters," Lewinsky wrote.

The emojis were developed in collaboration with Vodaphone and are currently available for free download on iOS devices.

Lewinsky recalls that support from friends, family, and strangers was critical for her when the shaming and mockery over her affair with Clinton became almost too much to bear.

Lewinsky in 1998. Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

"In 1998, there was quite a long period of time where the highlight of my day was going down the hall to the lobby to get the mail," Lewinsky said in a video piece that accompanies her article. "I received so many letters from strangers who were offering support in different ways, and that was really a sea of compassion and support that helped me survive that period."

Now she wants to make sure that kids who are going through hell online can receive the same support from those closest to them.

Calling out bullying is important. But for Lewinsky, allying with victims is even more crucial.

"Knowing you are not alone — is vital and can even save lives," Lewinsky wrote.

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images.

Pretty great for a second act.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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