When Liya Kebede was approached to star in diamond jeweler De Beers's "Moments in Light" campaign, the model and designer didn't have to think twice. Photographed by Mary McCartney, the celebrity portraits in the campaign are auctioned off with proceeds benefiting Women for Women International, an organization that provides aid to women in war and post-war countries. For Kebede, the decision to partake was a no-brainer. "I immediately wanted to be a part of the campaign once I learned about the amazing work that Women for Women is doing around the globe," Kebede told InStyle. "It’s so wonderful that the organization gives women around the world the tools and skills they need to become independent and self-sufficient."
It was only fitting that Kebede, who began her modeling career in Ethiopia, kept things international when deciding on the location to shoot her portraits. "We chose London because De Beers is an English brand," said the mom of two. "It has such a rich heritage in London, and of course Mary McCartney is such a Londoner. So it was important that my portrait be photographed in a location that felt close to the brand and the project."
And Kebede finds it easy to relate to the project's goal of empowering women thanks to her years modeling and designing her own clothing line, Lemlem. "Fashion is full of amazing women, and they inspire me all the time," she said, adding that "we need to be able to lift up and support one another." For that reason, Kebede is hoping that her role in De Beers's campaign will make a difference. "I think it’s important that we invest our time in helping one another and giving back," she said. "As women, we need to be able to lift up and support one another."
Kebede is definitely all about the #GirlPower—and that includes encouraging women around the world to be independent. "Women do so much for their families, communities, and the world—so it’s important that we give them the recognition that they deserve," said Kebede, whose clothing line employs traditional weavers in Ethiopia to inspire them to be financially independent. "I truly believe that women need to understand the importance of independence and value that in one another."
The first step in doing that is helping less fortunate women transform their lives one moment at a time. "To me, each woman’s 'Moment in Light' is the one that she can pinpoint as her most personally fulfilling experience," said Kebede. And when she thinks of her own such moments, two come to mind. "The days that I had my children," she said. "That feeling is something quite unexplainable."
Check out the video below to hear Kebede speak more about her role in the campaign.