Editor's Note
Behind the Cover

The Cult of Busyness

By Shayla Love

A life of leisure was once the aspiration of the upper class. But now, bragging about busyness is how people indicate their status. Could a pandemic change the way busyness is glorified?

The Making of a Perfect Celebrity Apology

By Hunter Harris

Saying ‘I’m sorry’ has become its own art form in Hollywood—and for better or worse, it takes a team to make it happen. Some of the biggest names in the business break down how the mea culpa sausage gets made.

What Can I Be Hopeful About in the 2020s?

By Hannah Ewens

It’s difficult to avoid pessimism in a lethargic, shell-shocked, post-pandemic world. So I turned to the experts.

I’m Afraid of Losing the Good Habits I Built in Lockdown

By Katie Way

I’ve been lucky to find so much balance I didn’t realize I was missing, but I can’t stop the return of ‘normal life.’

How to Make Small Talk After We’ve Been Through a Pandemic

By Rachel Miller

Do we try to keep it posi vibes, or commiserate about the one thing we definitely all have in common?

My Friends and I Fought Over the Pandemic. How Do We Make Up?

By Hannah Smothers

Old beefs about mask-wearing and traveling are about to rear their ugly little heads.

58 Things to Do With the Rest of Lockdown That Aren't ‘Get Hot’

By Rachel Miller

Give yourself a new nickname, get reacquainted with your closet, become more charismatic, and other little activities to make the time fly by.

Pandemic in the Poles: The Arctic

By Becky Ferreira

The largest Arctic expedition in history, MOSAiC, struggled with the logistical challenges of COVID-19—but as the pandemic raged, members were able to live a normal ‘fantasyland’ life.

Pandemic in the Poles: Antarctica

By Leah Feiger and Mara Wilson

Researchers returning home from Antarctica ‘left one world and have come back to another.’ But while their lives were in stasis, the continent they live on continued to struggle under the weight of diplomatic pressures and environmental concerns.

Australia Was a Big Pandemic Hideaway for Celebrities. Will They Stick Around?

By Lindsey Weber

The continent probably won’t hold onto the new Hollywood, but it has become the site of an old pattern.

To See How Well a Country Handled COVID, Look at Its Airports

By Natashya Gutierrez

After flying 22,906 miles, I found that airports represent much more than borders and entry points—they’re microcosms of a government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic Let Us Exist Without Being Perceived. Some Don’t Want That to End

By Nana Baah

With lockdown measures starting to lift, it’s normal to feel anxious about being seen again.

The Resurrection of the Iconic British Seaside

By Sophie Green

Popular in the decades before affordable commercial flights, COVID turned seaside resort towns into sought-after summer escapes again. Photographer Sophie Green caught it all.

Where Do We Go From Here?

By Frimet Goldberger

I’ve spent a decade caught between the secular world and the Haredi Jewish community. But watching the latter resist COVID-19 restrictions while being decimated by the virus pushed that tension to the brink.

Love in Lagos

By Isabel Okoro

Photographer Isabel Okoro returns to Lagos, Nigeria, to find the pandemic brought a new element of intimacy and community to her home.

Will Anyone Think of HR?

By Avery Stone

Over the course of the pandemic, Human Resources employees have been tasked with a challenging predicament: how to manage a highly unstable work environment and take care of themselves, too.

Photographing an Isolating Normalcy

By Chad Rhym

To make sense of his new surroundings, photographer Chad Rhym set out to document his experience as a double-conscious outsider: a new home in a new reality.

Letter From the Editor

We're Reemerging. What Does the World Look Like Now?

In April of last year, when the world as we knew it was closing in on us and there was very little to read that felt comforting, one article broke through for me, probably unsurprisingly: “How I Knew It Was Over,” written by Ruth Graham for Slate. The piece consists of interviews with people who had lived through other outbreaks of disease discussing the moment they realized things had turned a corner for the better. From a woman who experienced the 1918 flu to a man who survived polio, their stories made me feel for the first time that there was an endpoint to look toward.

As I swam through a sea of pandemic-related content this past year, these were the tales I found myself clinging to; not the constantly shifting information about case rates or vaccinations or variants, but stories of people in the past who had lived. Historical pieces about how the radiators in my apartment were actually designed with a pandemic in mind or how children went to school outside during a previous public-health crisis stood out from a million charts or constantly updated health guidelines.

Considering those stories again, one thought has come to mind: how much more documentation our descendants will have of this time than the relatively small amount of information we have pieced together from crises before ours. The internet overwhelms in what it offers, but sometimes there are moments that let you step back and take a look. That feeling of “when will you know that life has changed” is what we set out to capture in the Reemergence Issue—what our world looks like right now, caught between a before and an after, and how we are dealing with that.

In working on this issue, I have found myself returning to what I wrote a year ago, as the pandemic was still something we were slowly wrapping our brains around, and the VICE team was putting out our Means of Production issue. I’ve checked myself now against the me that existed then, testing to find the comfort in what is different about the two—what I know now that I didn’t know then, even in all the remaining uncertainty. As it has been for a year-plus, most of the world is still floating in a limbo state, but the after, that moment of change, is beginning to happen for some, as others are stuck behind. In the meantime, we are leaving a record, too, and perhaps, now or later, it will be a balm someone else craves.

—Kate Dries, Editorial Director

the reemergence issue cover

Ariel Davis is an illustrator living in New York City. Her clients include the New York Times, Adidas, MIT, Adult Swim, and Pitchfork. Here she tells us a bit about how she conceived our second cover of 2021.

VICE: You illustrated this issue’s cover. Can you give us some background on the inspiration behind the drawing?
Ariel Davis: The term “reemergence” made me think about springtime, seeing evidence of life again for the first time in months. The day I got fully vaccinated was a peak day for cherry blossoms and magnolias blooming, and birds and bugs were out crawling around in the sun. It felt like we were all celebrating the same thing, feeling alive again after a cold, isolated winter.

When the issue goes online, the cover illustration will be animated. Can you tell us a little bit about what that will look like?
There will definitely be some things emerging.

Where do you get your day-to-day inspiration?
I’m inspired by taking really long walks, my book collection, my friends, and everything that is a little ugly and gross.