Earlier this year, Katia Belmadani (filmmaker, photographer and co-creator of the global campaign, One Million Sisters) was visiting me in Los Angeles while doing work for the OMS (One Million Sisters) campaign. During her stay, she told me a great story about this project and why it was important to her. Katia and her sister, Laetitia began their adventure together to unite women through OMS. This campaign was the direct result of a full-length documentary film they made called, “Lili’s Journey“. The premise of their film explored the idea of social progress in a world where women have been marginalized. Their film begs the question, “How can we progress in today’s society without the inclusion of women?” This film featured the stories of many influential women across the globe (Queen Rania of Jordan, Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, Diane Von Furstenburg, Christy Turlington-Burns & Nobel Peace Laureate, Shirin Ebadi) and attracted the attention of influential newspapers and magazines worldwide.
What’s remarkable about this campaign is Katia and Laetitia’s continued engagement in growing the brand of OMS. Together, they came up with a design for a bracelet that would symbolize sisterhood and the support of female empowerment across all cultures, traditions and religions. On 8 March 2016, OMS launched the founding campaign, “Who’s Your Sister?” and their bracelet made its debut.
I visited Paris in July while attending a graduate residency with NYU and spent time with Katia. We had many conversations, but at the heart of all matters was the idea of connection, or rather our desire to connect socially, intimately, and personally to others. I cannot help but feel the relevance on the topic of community and connection when traveling, as most would who do travel, even if infrequently. Often our own emotions and the imbalance we experience from inhabiting foreign spaces can cause one to feel displaced. What of that feeling within our own communities? And further still, within communities of women? Whether connecting with those closest to us and bridging those gaps or re-establishing connections with people that are a part of our life narrative (differences & geography aside), sisterhood and connection is at the heart of our stories. The desire to connect with others, to feel supported by one another is what underscores everything we hold dear.
Every trip I’ve made to Paris over the past three years has brought me closer to Katia. I’ve come to know her as a person of great depth, compassion and spirit, not to mention her talented eye and good sense of humor. She continues to renew her commitment to telling the story of women across the globe by supporting global change and documenting what it means to be a woman in this ever-changing landscape. As we re-invent the narrative of our lives, we evolve and reinvent ourselves. Katia and Laetitia Belmadani are two groundbreaking females helping us to do just that –to tell our stories. We are all connected and this campaign encourages us to support and foster connections with women in our lives who inspire us to achieve great things.
I support OMS, Katia, her sister Laetitia, and all movements that endeavor to take on the global issue of equality for women, as well as maternal, economical and educational growth. Please consider looking at OMS, its mission, its message and goals. All net proceeds will benefit women social entrepreneurs in collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Enterprise. This campaign is truly admirable and crucial to the landscape in which we live.