JESSICA DARCY

When Jessica Darcy's youngest daughter Ella-Jane opened her eyes one morning, something had changed. The glasses she loved so much had grown too familiar. Why couldn’t she have something of her own creation? She wished for eyewear that would match her style and mood every single day. Jessica and Ella-Jane decided to create Funoogles to solve the problem and allow kids the ability to choose and interchange the color and style of their glasses. Inspired by their story, Lionsgate films reached out to Jessica to help with the marketing of the motion picture and best-selling book Wonder. In this episode, Jessica talks about her life lesson and the effect with kids as a way to express creativity, assert individuality and boost self-esteem.

The Lesson That Changed My Life

Jessica: We really want to inspire children to be true to themselves, because no one can be a better version of themselves than they can.

So I grew up in Franklin Square, which is in Long Island. I'm grateful that the time that I had as a child where I was outside getting fireflies, and you know, making mosaics out of flowers in the backyard, and you know, being given that creative freedom.

The lesson that changed my life and our family's life was my daughter Ella-Jane was born with a congenital cataract, and when she was five years old she had gotten a new set of frames. Her prescription had changed, and she was frustrated with them one morning and she didn't want to put them on.

So then I said to her, "Is someone making fun of you at school?" And she said, "Why would someone make fun of me because I have glasses?" I had just assumed someone was saying something not nice to her about them. And she said, "No, I just don't want to wear them that way.I want to take my old sides and I want to wear my new front. Why can't we just unscrew it and put it together?" And she and I had scoured the internet and looked in shops to see if we could find what she was looking to achieve, and when we couldn't find it she said to me, "Well, can we make it?"

So we created a company called Funoogles, and it is allowing us to make changes in the eyewear space, to give kids the freedom to really choose something that they feel good about, that they design. We're giving them that creative freedom to really embrace themselves and, you know, celebrate their individuality. So Lionsgate had reached out to us to see if we would be interested in creating some kind of capsule collection alongside with the movie release.

And my oldest daughter had actually read the book at school, and it was a book that hit home for us. My husband's older brother had a craniofacial disorder. And in the movie, you know, Auggie goes to school and he's not sure what other kids are going to think of them. And you think of a child going into school with glasses for the first time, they are a little nervous. "What are these kids going to say? Are they going to think I'm different? Are they going to think something's wrong with me?" We really want to inspire children to be true to themselves, because no one can be a better version of themselves than they can.

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