Fashion Q&A: Liya Kebede
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for David Yurman

Liya Kebede is a model, philanthropist, designer and most importantly a mom. So when David Yurman tapped her to partner on a piece of fine jewelry –– it was a no brainer since proceeds of sales would benefit the Liya Kebede foundation that supports maternal health services and education in Ethiopia, ultimately benefitting other moms. We caught up with the Ethiopian beauty herself, to find out what she loves most about the LOVE inscripted bracelet she chose, and how she stays chic as a mom-on-the-move.

ESSENCE: How did the collaboration with David Yurman come about?

LIYA KEBEDE: Doing a collaboration with them for Mother’s Day is so wonderful, they have this really incredible bracelet that you can buy for your mom, or a husband can buy for his wife and the proceeds will go to the foundation. Mother’s Day is special for what it is, it’s a thank you for your mom but it would be nice to not only say thank you to your mom but say thank you to the all of the other mom’s and have a way to save all of the other mother’s from unnecessary deaths during pregnancy and child birth. That’s the messaging here, we’re trying to make sure that everymom in the world gets access to basic medical care before, during and after pregnancy child birth. It’s a nice round way of not only gifting your mom, but all of the other mother’s in a way.

ESSENCE: What are some of the ways this cause has impacted you as a mother?

KEBEDE: You go and you meet some of these women who have lost their daughters to pregnancy and child birth issues and they have to raise their grandchildren and maybe children who have lost their mom’s, or husbands who have lost their wives for things that you would not have died of here in that same situation.

ESSENCE: The specific David Yurman piece you chose for Mother’s Day has the inscription LOVE on it, and as a designer of a line (Lem Lem) that is created with love and purpose what does it mean to wear this piece of jewelry on your “sleeve” so to speak?

KEBEDE: I guess you’re right there is a meaning to Lem Lem and wearing Lem Lem and when you’re wearing something like this it’s a piece of jewelry that’s beautiful and at the same time you’re also doing something good. And as a mom it’s really important to me; also knowing that sometimes you get lucky and you have a chance. Like for me I grew up in Ethopia but I had a chance of having my kids here, so I never had to face those kinds of problems and  just knowing that where you’re born determines so much, and for what? I think it’s a nice thing when you’re gifting somebody and that gift has more meaning.

ESSENCE: Where do you find inspiration for your own personal line, Lem Lem?

KEBEDE: Africa! The spirit of Africa and it’s also trying to take something old an make it new. I really love that traditional and modern mix which I think is kind of beautiful. Still preserving something that’s been there forever but bringing it to now and kind of changing and evolving it into something new is what we do at Lem Lem and I really like that.

ESSENCE: As a mom-on-the-move, what are some of your fashion essentials?

KEBEDE: I’m always in flats and jeans and sneakers, sweaters and scarves. I like being really comfortable and cozy. When I’m just out-and-about I get dressed up for things, but at home it’s really casual.

ESSENCE: What will you be giving your mother for the holiday?

KEBEDE: My mom is in Ethiopia and we don’t really have a Mother’s Day and in a way one of my wishes is to create a Mother’s Day in Ethiopia and in Africa so that we have that one day we celebrate all of the mothers, and have a way to put messaging across.

ESSENCE: What will your children be giving you for mother’s day?

KEBEDE: They probably will make me breakfast (smiles).

Shop the Love link bracelet at from now until May 3, and a proceeds of all sales will support the Liya Kebede Foundation.