As a model I’m asked to sell all kinds of products. Sometimes it’s shoes, gowns, lipsticks… sometimes it’s even Coca Cola. The launch of the Coco Rocha for Senhoa jewelry line marks the first time I’ve ever tried to sell a product that was entirely of my own creation. But more than that, this is a very special venture for me. I first found out about Senhoa at my wedding in France last summer. Lisa, the founder, gifted me a beautiful Senhoa bracelet which I wore the first day of my wedding. She told me the story behind the jewelry and Senhoa. Between the ages of 4 and 19, these girls are rescued from brothels and human trafficking in Cambodia. Many of the girls do not have a family to return to as it was their families who actually sold them into slavery in the first place. The girls receive a full education and rehabilitation in the Senhoa program and are offered a job in jewelry-making when they turn 15. This job pays them even more than school teachers make. In just 2 years Senhoa now has over 50 girls in the program.
After meeting Lisa I tried to wear Senhoa pieces at events and on the red carpet, mentioning them whenever I could. Earlier this year we decided that a jewelry collaboration was probably the best way I could lend my voice to the cause and so I poured myself into the process of sketching and designing the jewelry. I knew I wanted to create bold statement pieces that were both powerful and beautiful as I felt that this would aptly symbolize the Senhoa girl who is being empowered by the Senhoa program. I flew out to L.A. to actually put the jewelry together myself and I’m glad I did - I got to experience firsthand the intricate and painstaking work the girls put into this jewelry (I spent a whole day beading just one piece!). We used high quality materials like Swarovski crystals in the jewelry, which not only add to the beauty of the product, but also help instill the feeling of self-worth in these girls who are now working with and associating themselves with materials of high value. I think one of the great things about this jewelry line is that every hand that worked on it, from design to production, is deeply invested in its success. Hopefully you’ll feel the love when you wear the pieces.
Our slogan with the Coco Rocha for Senhoa line is “accessorize your conscience” because, unlike many of the purchases you might make for yourself, you don’t need to feel guilty about this one. Once the older girls are paid for their time as jewelry makers, all the profit goes to fund the food, medicine, shelter and education of the younger ones. It’s a cycle of girls helping girls and I’m so proud to be a part of it all.