About Dana Feeney

Tech illustration for 360 Magazine

SMART CITIES X DIGITAL TWINS TECHNOLOGY

Covid-19 drives international Smart Cities market boom with 500 urban areas around the world expected to adopt Digital Twin technology by 2025.

The need to increase resilience and optimise resource management in light of COVID-19 will be among the key drivers for the growth of Digital Twins over the next five years, according to ABI Research. The global tech market advisory firm expects the number of urban Digital Twins to exceed 500 by 2025, and that implementation will expand beyond limited pilots to widespread multi-purpose deployments.

The latest quarterly report from ABI Research entitled Smart Cities and Smart Spaces positions Cityzenith alongside Bentley Systems and Microsoft as businesses best placed to capitalise in this expanding market.It is estimated that the Digital Twin market will grow from $3.8 billion in 2019, to $35.8 billion per year by 2025, at a CAGR of 45.4%*

Dominique Bonte, Vice President, End Markets at ABI Research, said: “Real-time 3D models of cities-built environment allow scenario analysis through the simulation of the potential impact of natural disasters like flooding, [adoption of] generative design principles for new city developments [which optimise] energy savings and solar capacity, and saving costs by operating cities more efficiently and effectively.”

He noted that since the first Digital Twins were deployed in cities such as Singapore around three years ago, features have quickly expanded to enable a much wider range of application areas including infrastructure coverage planning and green infrastructure management. Boston is one city to have already employed the use of Digital Twins, alongside Helsinki, Jaipur and Dublin.

“The Digital Twin ecosystem system activity is growing quickly with more suppliers announcing more deployments in more cities,” said Bonte. “Vendors like Dassault Systèmes and others are paving the way for extending urban Digital Twins to marketplaces and opening access to key metrics and dashboards to the citizens themselves, increasing their overall involvement and helping gain approval of city government decisions and policies.”

In order to help cities achieve carbon neutrality, Cityzenith  announced in October 2020 that it will donate its Digital Twin software to up to 10 cities over the next year as part of their Clean Cities – Clean Future campaign. Additionally, Bentley Systems partnered with Microsoft to integrate Azure IoT Digital Twins and Azure Maps into its iTwins platform.

Michael Jansen, CEO and founder of Chicago based Cityzenith , said “We at Cityzenith welcome this news and are delighted to be a part of the growing Digital Twin industry. We believe our Clean Cities – Clean Future campaign can be a key component of this global effort towards cleaner cities and a safer environment.”

Drew Barrymore illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

FLOWER Beauty Hair Tools Collection by Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore is truly a jack of all trades from producing, directing, and acting on tv and in film, to hosting a talk show, and now producing a line of hair tools exclusively available at Walmart.

Introducing Flower Hair Tools, a collection of essentials curated by Drew Barrymore that are not only high-quality, but also bold and beautiful. These six must-have hair tools are multi-functional and versatile, ensuring users have many options when styling their hair. Each tool is carefully designed to make styling hair easier, offering solutions for all hair types and using innovative engineering techniques to give consumers the ultimate quality at an affordable price.

The Collection

Ionic Volumizing Styler

With two heat settings up to 400˚ F, this styler is perfect for adding limitless body to your hair while also helping you style luscious waves and/or curls. ($39.88)

Ceramic Styling Iron

With its beveled edges and rounded shape, this styling iron will help you create smooth, straight hairstyles without any snagging or creasing. ($69.88)

Ceramic Straightening Brush

This straightening brush will give you smooth, straight hair in less time with its 4 heat settings that provide consistent, even temperature. Instant heat recovery also provides better results with fewer passes and faster styling.($59.88)

Titanium Rotating Styling Iron

The rounded design of the revolving barrel straightens better than any flat iron. The ionic bristles and tourmaline ceramic plate polish hair to reduce frizz and deliver unbelievable shine. This glorious, rotating iron can add bombshell curls or beachy waves with a flick of the wrist. ($69.88)

Ionic Pro Dryer

This ultra-lightweight, advanced hair dryer will have your hair drying in half the usual time. The Ionic boost feature will dry the water from the surface but not remove the moisture within your hair. ($79.88)

Ionic Travel Dryer

This compact and lightweight, powerful hair dryer with dual voltage capabilities make it the perfect addition to your carry-on, gym bag, or hotel or dorm room. ($29.88)

Ionic Pro Diffuser

This finger diffuser enhances your natural curl texture to control and create soft, shiny movement. Get your curl’s best bounce, body and volume possible. ($14.99)

This colorful collection has a product to fit any hair routine at an affordable price point. You can find more about the FLOWER Beauty brand here.

Drew Barrymore FLOWER Beauty Hair Tools

Natural Light Da Vinci of Debt

Natural Light’s Da Vinci of Debt

Natural Light Beer is making history by unveiling the world’s most expensive piece of art to shine light on the staggering cost to attend college in America and the crippling impact of college debt. The artwork, entitled Da Vinci of Debt, is now on display at NYC’s Grand Central Terminal and is made up of 2,600 authentic college diplomas from real graduates across the country.

The value of Da Vinci of Debt is derived from the average total cost of a four-year college education – $180,000 is representative of each singular diploma. Total up each of the 2,600 diplomas and the result is a piece of art valued at $470 million, besting the most expensive piece of art ever sold at public auction – Salvator Mundi, a 600-year-old Da Vinci painting that sold for $450 million in 2017.

Through the medium of art, Natty is highlighting the U.S.’ shocking student debt crisis and bringing awareness to the crippling $1.7 trillion in debt Americans currently hold. An eloquent point considering many college students choose Natty Light as their drink of choice for its affordability and style.

Da Vinci of Debt also celebrates the return of the Natural Light College Debt Relief program, which launched in 2018 and each year since, has given out $1 million to help Natty fans pay down student loans. Now entering year four of its ten-year, $10 million commitment, Natty Light is disclosing the “highly-classified” plan behind its $100 diploma rentals in 2020 as it unveils the stunning artwork.

Natural Light Da Vinci of Debt (1)

The installation is in residence for a limited time in NYC at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal from January 14-16, 2021. If interested A full gallery of the installation will be viewable virtually at www.naturallight.com/davinci-of-debt.com.

In 2021, Natty is back with another $1 million in debt relief. Fans can tell Natty what inspired them to go to college for a chance to have Natty pay down their debt. Natty Light will be accepting entries using #NattyStories and #Contest from Jan 11 through March 21, 2021. Full contest rules and regulations can be found here. To learn more, follow @naturallight on Twitter and Facebook, @naturallightbeer on Instagram.

Illustration of Melania Trump and Jill Biden by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Dear Melania Trump, Our 2nd Immigrant First Lady

By Javier Pedroza

Dear Melania: Why didn’t you invite the new FLOTUS, Dr. Jill Biden, for a private tour of the White House living quarter?

“Under all circumstances, we must never desert ourselves”. – Louisa Catherine Adams, the first FLOTUS born outside of the United States of America (1825 to 1829). Historically, First Ladies are mostly respected and admired. The coveted position has been uncontroversial until 2021. 

Melania Trump, formerly known as Melanija Knavs, was born on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia. At age 16, she began what would soon become a successful modeling career, appearing in many high profile ad campaigns and working with some of the best photographers in the fashion industry. In 1996, Mrs. Trump moved to New York and 10 years later she proudly became a United States Citizen. Former First Lady Melania Trump is the wife of the 45th President, Donald J. Trump and the mother to their son, Barron Trump. She is the second First Lady born outside of the United States, and she is the only First Lady to become a naturalized United States citizen. 

Mrs. Trump is the first modern former First Lady to break one of the transfer-of-power rituals; welcoming the incoming president and family into the White House. This American tradition commenced in the 1920s and was respected all the way to 2017, when outgoing FLOTUS Mrs. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama hosted Mrs. Melania Trump for tea while discussing the private residence. 

“Mrs. Trump should have invited Dr. Biden in for the traditional coffee. Typically, the first lady would come prepared with questions, she’ll meet and talk to the chef, the full time residence staff and have an opportunity for them to break the ice. It’s a courtesy, but logistically it’s incredibly helpful. That didn’t happen,”Capricia Marshall told The New York Times. Capricia Marshall was the former White House social secretary in the Clinton administration. 

In 2016 when former President Barack Obama welcomed Donald and Melania Trump to the White House, Former First Lady Michelle Obama held her head up high despite Donald’s reckless lies about her husband. Michelle Obama went on instagram and described how she felt during that time, sharing that while she was “hurt and disappointed,” she accepted that “the American people had spoken.” She went on to write, “My husband and I instructed our staff to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power — one of the hallmarks of American democracy.” 

On January 19th, 2021 CNN reported, “Melania Trump left the White House with the worst popularity rating for any first lady at the end of her term in polling history. The latest CNN/SSRS poll had Trump’s favorable rating at 42% to a 47% unfavorable rating. The 47% is the highest unfavorable rating we ever recorded for Trump. It’s also amazingly high from a historical perspective.” 

On January 20th, another protocol was broken when neither the former President nor any member of his family attended the inauguration. The Trumps also bypassed the laying of a wreath atop the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Ceremony, where the Biden’s were joined by former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and their spouses. 

As trending headlines like “Trumps’ snub of Bidens historic in its magnitude” by CNN circulated in the media early this week, we watched Melania Trump address the nation for the last time as First Lady of the United States. This was her first on camera appearance since the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol and she had not been seen in public since New Year’s Eve. During her farewell speech she spent much of her time expressing the importance of kindness. “In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best. To focus on what unites us, to raise above what divides us. To always choose love over hatred, peace over violence and others before yourself.” 

Was this Melania’s opportunity to demonstrate to the world that she is her own person? A proud immigrant from Slovenia who later became an American citizen who respects all aspects of what it means to be an American or perhaps Melanija Knavs has always been a Trump. 

“Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” – Maya Angelou

The Bell Twins illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 magazine

UNSTOPPABLE: THE BELL TWINS

By Emily Bunn

Forget The Suite Life’s Zach and Cody– Disney’s newest dynamic duo of twins, Isaac and Elijah Bell, have landed lead roles in Walt Disney Studio Picture’s up and coming release, “Safety.” (2020) The film will be released on the new Disney+ streaming platform, and was directed by Academy award-winning director and producer, Reggie Hudlin.

Their careers began as child models, but they dreamed of making it on the big screen. Inspired by their favorite actors and actresses, such as Denzel Washington, Robert de Niro, and Viola Davis, the brothers trained and studied acting at Mad Acting Studio with Max Decker. Decker has trained stars such as Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) and Amirah Johnson (Shameless), to name a few.

360 Magazine sat down with the starlets to talk teenagerdom in Hollywood, brotherly love, and Peter Pan. The transition from being a child actor to a Disney star is no small feat, but Elijah and Isaac possess a natural ability to entertain. Elijah and Isaac explain that they found their early career transition to be relatively easy, having been in front of the camera from such a young age. Far from being shy, the duo shines in the spotlight, especially when they’re together. Elijah and Isaac confidently explain, “you just have to look at the camera as your best friend and trust your own instincts.”

Luckily, Elijah and Isaac had the support of their family regarding their decision to begin acting. Hailing from Australia, the brothers had their eyes set on LA’s film industry, an ambitious undertaking. While no one else in their family is in the film industry, Elijah and Isaac both knew that acting was something they wanted to pursue. The twins continue explaining that in “Australia… acting is definitely not the biggest thing for most Aussies. But our mum and dad never doubted us during the decision to become actors once, which is nothing but a blessing having their full support.”

Elijah and Isaac were further supported by their acting coach Max Decker, at Los Angeles’ Mad Acting Studio. Speaking fondly of their coaching experience, the boys remark that working with Max is the best thing that they could have done for themselves as actors. Praising Decker’s impressive craft, Elijah and Isaac gratefully exclaimed, “He’s like master splinter from ‘Ninja Turtles’. He’s so invested in just the work aspect of acting, that nothing else matters but making sure his actors are sharp when it comes time to be on set. We couldn’t be more thankful for him, thank you Big Max.”

Being cast by Disney for their first roles as actors was a momentous milestone for Elijah and Isaac. The twins grew up watching Disney’s “Peter Pan,” so being cast to star in Walt Disney Studio’s “Safety” (2020) was “an absolute dream come true.” Before realizing their dreams of stardom on the big screen, the two brothers both had wanted to become D-1 athletes. Fortunately, “Safety” (2020) is a film revolving around football drama, so it was the perfect breakout role to combine the brother’s interests and talents. Living the life of a D-1 athlete in the film allowed for the brothers to vicariously live out their earlier dreams while simultaneously achieving their current aspirations. Another shared dream of the duo would be to work with Denzel Washington or Marlon Brando.

Looking towards the future, Elijah and Isaac’s ultimate goal is tell stories through their acting and connect with people along the way. In telling their own lives’ story, the brothers remarked that if they had to choose any actor to tell their own life story, it would be one another.

With mutual dreams of the big screen, all of the training that Elijah and Isaac have experienced has only brought them closer. Despite the pressures of the entertainment industry, their family dynamic has only become stronger and tighter knit. “We had to learn that having each other to support one another is the ultimate gift anyone could ask for. We continue to push each other to our fullest potential– yes, we can be hard on one another. but who wouldn’t want that? Someone to let you know when you are bullshitting, or when you are doing the right thing and being congratulated for the hard work being done. We are like Yin and Yang and unbreakable force.”

Carlo Alberto Orecchia photographs The Bell Twins for 360 MAGAZINE

Carlo Alberto Orecchia photographs The Bell Twins for 360 MAGAZINE

*Photos by Carlo Alberto Orecchia

Indoor plant story illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 MAGAZINE

How to Pick The Right Emotional Support House Plant

By Dana Feeney

Why should you get plants?

Lockdown has taken its toll on us all, especially on those living in cities restricted to their apartments. Since many people haven’t had access to nature since the Coronavirus pandemic started last March, many have turned to house plants to satisfy that need. Owning house plants has many benefits, including purifying air, improving the vibe of environments by adding life, and giving people something to take care of in their free time.

Plants are a delicate and bright way to help decorate your space and being around plants has a positive effect on people’s mood, productivity, and creativity.Taking care of plants is a therapeutic and rewarding way to put time and energy into your own space, even when you aren’t feeling your best. Studies have shown that talking or singing to your house plants increases their growth rate because of the increased CO2, or maybe because they just like your company.

What kind of plant is right for you?

All plants need light, water, and somewhere to grow. Some plants are less work to take care of than others because they are less picky about their environments. Taking care of some plants is as simple as giving them water when their soil is dry, but some have more specific needs like what type of lighting they prefer or if they grow more after getting cut back. Some plants have different functions, like those that serve as decorations or herbs that you can use to cook or make cocktails.

If you struggle with remembering to water your plants but like to have greenery in your space, snake plants or aloe may be for you. Both aloe and snake plants come in many color variations and function as beautiful decorations. They are happy living in a pot on a windowsill or balcony with bright indirect light or in rooms with lower light. These plants are drought resistant; they only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks, depending on how much light they get. They’ll be just fine until you remember to water them. Although, for the truly forgetful, it may be a good idea to set a two-week recurring event in your phone calendar to remind you to give your plants some love.

If you can keep up with weekly watering and want to grow your collection, then pothos or zz plants may be a good choice for you. Pothos, zz plants, aloe, and snake plants are air purifiers that remove pollutants such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene from the air. They are slightly different: zz plants are plants that sprout bright green leaves upwards, while pothos are trailing plants that grow vines that hang down over the sides of their planter. They both need water every 7-14 days, depending on light conditions. These plants tend to grow faster in brighter conditions, but they can live in lower light. The most important thing to remember about pothos and zz plants is that they are toxic to cats, dogs, and people. To avoid accidental consumption, it is best to place them out of reach of pets and children.

Both of these are great plants for propagation. Propagating your plants gives you more plants without having to pay for them. With pothos, you can cut a vine at a node with at least one leaf and put it in water. Glass bottles, like kombucha or wine bottles, are great vessels to use for propagation. Fill the bottle with water and add your cutting with the node in the water. Once there are about two inches of root growth, transfer it to a new pot or back to the original to create a full curtain of pothos. Zz plants tend to do better with propagation by division. You can do this by removing the plant from its pot, dividing the plant in half or more depending on its size, and then repotting the resulting plants. This method allows the new plants plenty of room to grow.

If you can keep up with regular watering and like to cook, an herb garden may be a great fit for you. Basil, mint, sage, and rosemary are all versatile herbs that grow well indoors. Rosemary is the easiest to manage, only needing water every 1-2 weeks. Basil, mint, and sage need more attention because they require water every 2-3 days; their leaves wilt when they need water. You have to harvest these plants semi regularly to prevent them from flowering. It’s easy to keep up with if you are using them occasionally in the kitchen. You can plant rosemary, basil, and sage in one large planter, but it’s best to keep mint in its own pot because it tends to smother other plants.

Where can you go to get plants?

All of the plants mentioned above are common and generally easy to find regardless of where you live. Local plant nurseries are a reliable option when buying plants or supplies like potting soil or planters. Some grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s, tend to sell house plants and herbs. The Sill, Bloomscape, Horti, and Home Depot all have online options for ordering plants to your house. The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti also have subscription services that will deliver new plants to your home already potted and ready to go.

Wherever you buy your plants from, it’s always good to remove them from the container they come in and repot them. You should repot them to check that your new plant’s roots are healthy and not rotted or root-bound. You can either put them back into the original container or a new container. Planters are also a fun way to decorate your space. For more information on how to take care of your plants, The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti have portions of their sites dedicated to plant care and advice and, in a pinch, you can always google specific questions.

If you are just getting into owning plants or are just looking to shake up your collection make sure to do your research when buying plants. The easiest way to get plants that will thrive is match their needs with care you can reliably provide for them. Remember sometimes plants die, it’s an unavoidable truth of owning a living thing. If a plant of yours dies, try to understand what may have gone wrong and try to not repeat the mistake in the future. Life is about living and learning so just do your best.

Aloe Plant photographed by Dana Feeney

Zz Plant photographed by Vaughn Lowery

Pothos Plant photographed by Dana Feeney

Donald Trump illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Donald Trump Impeached Again

By Dana Feeney

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term as president, which started in January of 2017. He is the third president to be impeached and the first president ever to be impeached more than once. This second impeachment comes shortly after the riots in the capital last week on January 6th, 2021. Trump is being impeached on the charge of “incitement of insurrection’’ because of the statements he made on January 6. He told his supporters to “fight like hell” because the Democrats were stealing the election. You can watch the speech hereDuring the riots, Trump supporters carrying a variety of racist and white supremacist paraphernalia swarmed the Capitol and forced their way into the building to stop the count of electoral votes. The riot caused the deaths of at least five individuals, including a Capitol police officer. 

Because of the insurrection, Democrats pushed for Vice President Mike Pence to enact the 25th amendment, which he could use to declare Trump unfit to serve as president and remove him from office. Republicans blocked this move. U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the article of impeachment to the House of Representatives on the morning of January 11, 2021. The article of impeachment is co-sponsored by 211 members of Congress according to Cicilline’s press release. You can read the full article of impeachment here. On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump with a 232 to 197 majority. 10 Republicans voted to impeach, more members of the president’s party than in any prior impeachment.

Impeachment does not mean removal from office; impeachment is adjacent to an indictment. The difference in American law is that indictment applies to criminal charges, while impeachment is the accusation of misconduct in a political setting. Any civil officer in the United States can be impeached. In the case of the President or Vice President, the first step is the introduction of the article(s) of impeachment in the House of Representatives. After the article(s) of impeachment are introduced to the House, the House then votes on each article of impeachment, and if any pass by a simple majority, more than 50%, the articles will be tried in front of the Senate. During the Senate trial, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial, the Senate body functions as the jury, a committee of House representatives, called “managers,” act as the prosecution, and the president and his or her lawyers act as the defense. All articles of impeachment are argued on the Senate floor, then are voted on by the Senate body to either convict or acquit; to convict, there must be a two-thirds majority. Only two presidents, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were impeached and reached the Senate trial, both were acquitted. Despite an extensive impeachment investigation, Richard Nixon was never impeached because he resigned.  

Yesterday, January 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump with only six days until the inauguration of Joe Biden. It is highly unlikely that Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term as president. The Senate is not set to be in session until January 19, 2021, and neither Democrats nor Republicans benefit from rushing the trial to be any sooner as this Senate trial will be a lengthy process that requires preparation from both the prosecution and the defense. Despite Trump losing the support of some members of his party, it is unclear how likely it is that Trump will be convicted because, even Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach in the first impeachment, has implied he is unsure that this is the right way to go. Many Republicans may hesitate to vote to convict because of the 74 million people who voted for Trump; these are the people who control whether Republicans will be reelected in the future. The main person who could cause a possible shift is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. If McConnell chooses to vote to convict Trump, other members of the Republican party may do the same. McConnell released this statement on January 13 saying that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”

Trump has been silent since besides releasing this video condemning violence and has not acknowledged the second impeachment. He has been banned from social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat. Along with these bans, the tech industry has made broad statements against this recent violence. Apple and Google have removed the app Parler from their app stores. The app was used by Trump supporters and white supremacists to communicate and coordinate the attack on the Capitol. Further, Amazon Web Services, which hosted the app, has cut off its service to Parler on the premise that it violated its terms of service. One feature of the app was that users could upload a photograph of their government-issued ID or driver’s license to become a “Verified Citizen.” The app lost the support of its security services, which protected user data, leaving it vulnerable to hackers who stole the data and turned it over to the FBI to be used to identify terrorists present at the riot. Read more about it here. Additionally, there are accounts publicly identifying people in photographs from the riots on platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Federal officials are identifying and arresting individuals who were at the event.

 The riots have caused many security changes in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the U.S. as Joe Biden’s inauguration grows closer and threats of further violence continue to spread online. These changes include the resignation of the U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, increased police and national guard presence in Washington D.C. and the implementation of high security barriers around the Capitol building. Many D.C. businesses inside of the security perimeter are already making changes in preparation for the inauguration. Some are boarding up their windows in preparation for possible protests while others are preparing to serve guests who come to D.C. for the inauguration. In response to various local, state, and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the inauguration week, according to this press release. Some hotel chains in the city have stated that they will be hosting guests; as of now, nothing has been done to prevent this.

The events in this article, including the Senate trial, the consequences of the riots, and the coming inauguration, are all ongoing.

 

Netflix's Bridgerton illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Bridgerton, Netflix’s Diverse Take on a Period Piece

By Dana Feeney

“Bridgerton,” a dramatic and sexually charged period piece, is the first show of Shonda Rhimes‘ highly anticipated slate of content from her $150 million deal with Netflix. The showrunner Chris Van Dusen‘s adaptation of Julia Quinn’s “Bridgerton” novels takes classic period piece tropes and turns them on their head. The show maintains the formality of 1800s Regency age England with courtship, elegant, bejeweled costuming, and a heavy emphasis on the value of a young woman’s modesty while contrasting it with sexual tension so thick one could cut it with a knife. The eight-episode series premiered on Netflix on December 25, 2020, and has remained in the Top 10 in the United States, currently at number two.

The first season focuses on the love story of Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, and Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, played by Regé-Jean Page. The characters spend their season enduring taunts from the anonymous Lady Whistledown, voiced by Julie Andrews, who reports the scathingly hot tea on anyone who slips up. Due to her brother’s actions, her competition, and Lady Whitstledown’s rumor mill, Daphne finds herself alone and without any viable options for an amicable marriage. These circumstances lead to the juiciest part of the story– Daphne and the Duke. The pair conspire to fake courtship and trick Lady Whistledown into reporting their love so Daphne can find a husband and the Duke can avoid all of the mothers trying to arrange his marriage with their daughters. What starts as a mutually advantageous deal for both quickly grows into a torrid love affair.

Unlike most period pieces, the producers chose to honor talent and diversity over historical accuracy. The series portrays many people of color in high places of authority, as well as mixed into the Royal Court and as tradespeople, despite the white-washed reality of 1800s British royalty. Queen Charlotte, played by Golda Rosheuvel, was of mixed descent, the daughter of an African woman and Alphonso III of Portugal. In this story, her union with King George III leads to the inclusion of other races in proper London society. Other notable characters of color are the Lady Danbury, played by Adjoa Andoh, a widowed woman of high social status, the Duke of Hastings, one of the most eligible bachelors despite being unwilling to marry, and Marina Thompson, played by Ruby Barker, who’s beauty rivals that of the main character.

Shonda Rhimes has become one of the most successful showrunners in the game and uses this position to celebrate diversity and interracial relationships on television. Her older content approaches race in a far more color-blind fashion, unlike her more recent work with both ABC and Netflix. “Bridgerton” comes with the recognition that the characters’ social standings come with their racial identities, instead of creating a theoretically color-blind world.

Shondaland, as a production company, has a deep portfolio when it comes to diversity and inclusion. More specifically, they highlight black women across all of their content; including Miranda Bailey, Maggie Pierce, and Catherine Fox in “Grey’s Anatomy,” Annalise Keating, and Michaela Pratt in “How to Get Away with Murder,” Victoria Hughes in “Station 19,” and Olivia Pope in “Scandal.” “Bridgerton” is no different as three black women are prominent characters: The Queen, Lady Danbury, and Marina Thompson.

At first, their love story seems predictable, but in true Shonda Rhimes fashion, every obstacle that could stand in the way of a character’s happiness absolutely will. As with the other shows she has helmed, Shonda Rhimes pulls every heartstring she can find while giving the audience just enough of what they want to keep them on the edge of their seats. Throughout the series, Lady Danbury carefully plays matchmaker to help bring Simon and Daphne together again and again throughout the ups and downs of their relationship. Simon also receives counsel from his close friend Will Mondrich, a black boxer, played by Martins Imhangbe, and his wife Alice Mondrich, played by Emma Naomi. As a couple, they are the antithesis of the Duke because they are poor and lack class status but are rich in love and family. In the eight episodes, Van Dusen and Rhimes create three-dimensional characters whose conflicts span complex issues such as love versus duty, race, class, sexuality, and childhood trauma. At times the flashbacks used to force character development feel rushed, but overall, it does create a deeper understanding of the characters’ inner worlds.

“Bridgerton” dives wholeheartedly into the social, emotional, and sexual lives of its characters. Any viewer familiar with other Shondaland shows knows they do not shy away from passionate scenes or sensitive topics, but all of their prior content was limited by network television decency standards. The genre tends to be chaste and formal, but this series allows its characters drugs, alcohol, passionate sex, explosive arguments, and an attempted rape scene. Instead of maintaining eloquent composure shown in shows like “The Crown” (another Netflix Original), the flirtation and frustration between characters are all too familiar to real life as not even the Queen is above gossip, manipulation, and meddling.

The soundtrack and editing lend heavily to the tension development in scenes that will make your heart ache throughout the series. The soundtrack is another well done modern inclusion that defies the period piece genre with instrumental versions of songs by Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and more. The eloquent juxtaposition of the classic string instruments and modern pop songs creates a familiarity that draws the viewer deeper into the world. The ballroom scene, scored with a Vitamin String Quartet cover of Shawn Mendes’ song “In My Blood,” hits every musical and emotional beat as the camera cuts closer and closer, the background blurs, and the music swells. Expertly, tension builds with inside jokes, the brush of hands, and the change of attention from the world around to only seeing each other. For anyone seeking binge-worthy entertainment during these quarantine days, “Bridgerton” is on Netflix here, and its soundtrack is available on Music, Amazon Music, and iTunes, find it here. The next season is not yet confirmed by Netflix, but it is rumored to be in development according to What’s On Netflix. Shondaland’s next project with Netflix is a documentary drama series called “Inventing Anna,” which is set to release early 2021.