Minka Kelly has been a passionate partner and true friend of ours since the very beginning. She has given her time and compassion to the women of ABLE, including many trips to visit our partners in Ethiopia, Peru, and our headquarters in Nashville, TN.
In honor of our new collaboration, ABLE x Minka: The Barbara Collection, we asked Minka a few questions to give you insight into what makes our partnership - and this woman and her heart - so beautiful.
What initially drew you to ABLE?
When I lost my mom, I wanted to dive deeper into the lives of women around me. I ended up traveling to Ethiopia to join Barrett in meeting with women overcoming the commercial sex industry. Their stories affected me on such a deep level. One woman told us she chose to go into the sex industry to pay for her sister’s breast cancer treatment. That was when I realized these were women, like my mother - who were forced to make hard choices in order to earn a living. It's not a bad choice as many, most often themselves, would see it. They’re making a heroic choice to provide for their families. From then on, I decided it was my purpose to ensure these women could be proud of themselves and their children should be proud of them, too. They did what they had to do to survive and took the opportunity to change their lives when they had the chance. They are the embodiment of courage and bravery.
What makes your partnership work so well?
ABLE is my family. I need this balance in my life. When I’m not acting, this is the work that fulfills me most.
How did your latest collaboration, ABLE x Minka: The Barbara Collection, come about?
I spend as much time as possible in Nashville at ABLE’s headquarters, so I’ve grown really invested in the women who work there. I remember when the jewelry team was just a handful of women, and now there’s more than 20 jewelers making everything by hand! Designing a line allows me to continue to work alongside women in need of opportunity while helping to create even more jobs for women with incredible stories of transformation - like Barbara. It’s fulfilling both creatively and spiritually.
Why did you want to name the collection after Barbara?
Barbara was one of the first jewelry makers I met at ABLE. She taught me how to make jewelry, and we actually co-designed the Double V Ring together a couple years ago. So when I was thinking about a name for this collection that honors all the women, I thought back to Barbara. She’s overcome so much with addiction yet always exudes strength, positivity, and love. She’s now pursuing a bachelors degree in psychology - Are you kidding me? No big deal!
Working with her fills me with hope because her past so clearly does not define her future - and it doesn’t for any one of us. Who we are at any moment does not define us as a whole.
What was the design process of ABLE x Minka like for you? What was your role?
I met with the ABLE jewelry team and shared with them some of my most favorite pieces for inspiration, including a pair of delicate hoops earrings that I wear constantly. I always get complimented on them and I never know where to tell people to find them because I’ve held onto this one pair for so many years, so I wanted to make sure they were in the collection. From there, we came up with 12 pieces that could be worn delicately alone or layered and stacked together for more of a statement. It was a really collaborative process, and I love how The Barbara Collection turned out.
What was your inspiration for The Barbara Collection?
I love feminine and delicate jewelry because when you wear it, you can be as minimal or maximal as you want. I wanted my collection to include pieces that can stand alone or make a statement when worn all together. I think versatility is key for all women. We accomplish so much in our day, so everything we wear needs to transition with us.
What is your favorite piece in the collection?
My favorite piece is the Elephant Necklace. When a mama elephant gives birth in the wild, the other female elephants huddle around her for protection. It’s women supporting women at its finest, helping the most vulnerable in their time of need. It represents why I work with ABLE, and the attitude I think we should all embrace.
What’s one word you’d use to describe the collection?
To shop the ABLE x Minka collection, click here.