Through Moments in Light, we are delighted to celebrate women who are masters of their craft. In collaboration with our curator, renowned photographer Mary McCartney, we launched Moments in Light in 2014 with five inspirational women: Alice Temperley, Cornelia Parker, Chen Man, Skye Gyngell and Azure Barton. In 2015 we continue by highlighting four additional women - Diana Krall, Zaha Hadid, Liya Kebede and Karen Mok.

Throughout the Moments in Light celebration, we will be supporting ‘Women for Women International’, an organisation that seeks to help female survivors of war zones rebuild their lives.

DIANA KRALL

Diana Krall is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. Diana is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz albums and has been nominated for 5 Grammy Awards, winning 3 of them.

Diana's passion and talent embodies everything that our Moments in Light celebration honours. It is through the inspiring support of women throughout her career that has allowed Diana to succeed allowing her in turn to inspire others.

“WOMEN NEED THE SUPPORT OF OTHER WOMEN TO SUCCEED.”

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR STORY FROM WOMEN FOR WOMEN THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME INVOLVED?

I found that it was important to read all of the stories from the different women that Women for Women support. The circumstances and details might be very different, but I simply could not place one above all the others.

WOMEN FOR WOMEN HELPS WOMEN TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES, WHAT DID BEING INVOLVED WITH WOMEN FOR WOMEN MEAN TO YOU?

There was undeniably an order or an authority in some societies, which needs to be balanced, even challenged by the counsel and action of women. Compared to the stories that I have read it was a very small thing to lend my name or face to the campaign. I would say it was more humbling than empowering.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN MOST ABOUT WHILE WORKING ON THIS CAMPAIGN?

I learned that women need the support of other women to succeed. Together women can find the strength and courage to tackle the problems and the challenges that women have been uniquely given to bear.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT – A DEFINING MOMENT OF SUCCESS OR HAPPINESS?

At the piano every night working, in the kitchen at suppertime, when I was home with my family and, of course, when the sun goes down…

CHEN MAN

Chinese photographer Chen Man merges art with fashion in her fantastical creative style. Building upon her muses’ natural beauty, Chen accentuates each feature to perfection and delves deeper to create an illusion of high fashion photography melded with a captivating piece of fine art.

We were delighted to invite Chen Man to relocate herself in front of the camera for the Moments in Light photography series by Mary McCartney. Her talent and insight of photography has meant that she has continuously inspired and single-handedly revolutionised her art form.

“DON’T CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY...JUST BE YOURSELF.”

WERE YOU PLEASED TO BE WORKING IN SUPPORT OF THE WOMEN FOR WOMEN FOUNDATION?

I felt so honored to work with the Women for Women Foundation. The organisation helps women in war zones; not by providing them with goods and materials but by actually teaching them real skills which the women can get a life-long benefit from. Women for Women gives the women spiritual support and teaches them skills; these are very precious.

DO YOU HAVE A WOMAN THAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR LIFE OR THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?

Mother Teresa devoted her entire life to help the people that the ordinary people do not pay close attention to nor dare to pay attention to. She cared for them, hugged them, and helped them. Like she said: "the good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow – be good anyway."

WHEN DID YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAD ACHIEVED SUCCESS?

It was really when celebrities began to ask for me to shoot, which encouraged my transition into becoming a mainstream fashion photographer.
After I had worked with a lot of well-known faces, I started to work on a Chinese contemporary background series. This series was very special to me as I was the first fashion photographer to bring Chinese contemporary faces and backgrounds into mainstream fashion. China was used to copying Japanese, Korean or Western styles; so it really was a milestone to create our own fashion. One group of photos included Lu Yan on the Great Wall – probably the most famous of the series – and was the first time that a mainstream fashion magazine shoot had shot in this location.

HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHER WOMEN TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS?

My suggestion would be to be honest with yourself. Do not care too much about what other people say or care about too much about your appearance. Find your own direction and stick with it - just be yourself.

ZAHA HADID

Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman to recieve the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She went on to recieve the RIBA the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. Each of her projects were built on over thirty years of exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design.

Zaha caught the attention of De Beers and the campaign curator, Mary McCartney, due to the passion she exhibited in her work. She a true leader in the field of architecture and was awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2012. Zaha sadly passed away in 2016 but her architectural legacy continues to live on.

“I BELIEVE IN HARD WORK; IT GIVES YOU A LAYER OF CONFIDENCE.”

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU HOPE TO INSPIRE OTHER WOMEN?

I never thought of myself as a role model. At the beginning of my career, I always thought I didn’t want to be known as a ‘woman architect’. Later, I realised that it was critical that I acknowledged the fact that as a woman, I could influence or inspire others who were looking for reassurance. So I think it is important that I did – in some very modest way – help others to achieve their ambitions.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN STARTING OUT IN THEIR CAREER?

Never give up! I achieved some success – and I am extremely grateful – but was always a very long struggle. I think it is very important for a woman to have the commitment and to persevere, you must have a strong belief in yourself. As a woman, you need the confidence that you can carry on and take new steps every time. So I believe in hard work; it gives you that layer of confidence.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT?

Realising these ambitious projects was the most rewarding of experiences – and I a, always very proud to see them become popular and well utilised. It was exciting to work with enthusiastic clients and collaborators who shared our vision and demonstrated tremendous civic pride. These are vital characteristics that allow an architect to build extraordinary projects!

LIYA KEBEDE

Liya Kebede is an Ethiopian-born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer, and actress. She has been a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health since 2005. In the same year, she founded The Liya Kebede Foundation which raises awareness and support for actions to improve maternal health education and training so that more women can access life-saving maternity care during pregnancy and childbirth.

“MY ULTIMATE INSPIRATION IS THE MODERN WOMEN.”

WHO WOULD YOU SAY HAS INSPIRED YOU MOST?

I find myself inspired by all women. For me, I would say that my ultimate inspiration is really the modern woman, the multitasking woman.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO YOUNG WOMEN STARTING THEIR CAREERS?

For young women starting their careers, I would tell them that the most important thing is to have passion and to not let yourself be discouraged by anything.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT – A MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER OR LIFE THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?

I think that it would be becoming a mother. From seeing them for the very first time, to watching them grow up, that is my Moment in Light.

AT DE BEERS WE ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR NEW SOURCES OF INSPIRATION. WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE A PART OF THE MOMENTS IN LIGHT PROJECT SUPPORTING WOMEN FOR WOMEN?

I was truly honoured to be amongst all the other women in this amazing project, they are all women to be inspired by.

KAREN MOK

Karen Mok is an actress and singer-songwriter who has enjoyed fantastic success for the past 20 years. She has also made history in the music industry as the first female artist from Hong Kong ever to win Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Melody Award

De Beers is delighted to include Karen Mok within the Moments in Light celebration of talented women. She is an advocate of same-sex marriage, ambassador for numerous charities and foundations such as UNICEF and was awarded the title of cultural ambassador of Bergamo in 2016.. Her elegant style, captivating energy and award-winning talents continue to inspire those around her, and across the world.

“CARRY YOURSELF WITH DIGNITY AND INTEGRITY.”

HOW DID YOU FEEL TO BE A PART OF THE MOMENTS IN LIGHT PROJECT?

It was an incredible honour to be part of a platform that celebrates talented women and their respective crafts.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN ACTING?

When I was three years old. I remember one night when the whole family was – as usual – in front of the TV and we were watching some programme. There was a song and dance going on and I just thought to myself “wow, that’s what I want to do when I grow up”, I just wanted to be in front of people and perform. I believe that was my first Moment in Light that I ever experienced.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

“Always listen to your mother.” My mother is definitely the one woman who completely inspired me throughout my life. She is beautiful, she was a career woman, she is level-headed, elegant and romantic at the same time. She is everything I want to be and I think that she has definitely played a very important role in shaping me to become who I am today. I can not thank her enough for it.

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO KEEP INSPIRING WOMEN IN THE FUTURE IN THE SAME WAY THAT OTHER WOMEN HAVE INSPIRED YOU?

It is important to carry yourself with dignity and integrity, not just as a woman, but as a human being. In my work and my career, I have tried to stay true to myself in terms of my work ethic, my demands to myself to do the best that I can and to treat others with respect.

The diversity of women and talents that is recognized in the Moments in Light campaign speaks volumes of what each and every one of us can hope to achieve, and inspire others to achieve.

ASZURE BARTON

Canadian-born choreographer Aszure Barton received her formal training at the National Ballet School in Toronto. Since graduating, Aszure has proceeded to inspire and lead other dancers. Founding of her own company Aszure Barton & Artists, whose critically-acclaimed work Awaa continues to be performed and admired globally.

Aszure Barton embodies all that the De Beers Moments in Light celebration represents. She has an energetic presence about her that influences both her work and her persona, she continually inspires those around her and intrigues with her extraordinary talent.

“BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE AND BELIEVE IN YOUR INHERENT WISDOM.”

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE HAS LED TO YOUR SUCCESS?

Generous encouragement and faith from others – listening to my gut, luck, hard work and persistence. I love this quote by Mary Oliver: “I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

DO YOU HAVE A WOMAN THAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR LIFE OR THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?

My mother and sisters – my mother is the most honest woman I know. She taught me to stand my ground and to believe in myself. My sisters are my best friends. We are a little tribe that sticks together through everything that life throws at us.

HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHER WOMEN TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS?

Stand in your truth, be kind, have courage; love and be proud of who you are, remain egoless and believe in your inherent wisdom. We need to support each other and empower each other to achieve great things.

WHAT IS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT – A DEFINING MOMENT OF SUCCESS OR HAPPINESS?

I have experienced so many special moments in my life. So many moments, big and small, that have reminded me to stay as present as possible and to keep trusting my intuition and heart.

SKYE GYNGELL

Australian chef Skye Gyngell is reknowed for her exquisite use of seasonal produce. The winner of a coveted Michelin star in 2011 whilst working at Petersham Nurseries Café as head chef. In 2014, Sky opened her restaurant 'Spring' at Somerset House.

When working with Mary McCartney in selecting the master craftswomen for the Moments in Light celebration, Skye was an immediate choice. She exudes elegance and confidence, not only in her personality but also in the dishes that she creates with inimitable talent and refinement.

“I’VE DONE WHAT I LOVED AND THE REST HAS FOLLOWED.”

HOW DID YOU FEEL TO BE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN DE BEERS MOMENTS IN LIGHT AND HOW WAS YOUR SHOOT WITH MARY MCCARTNEY?

I felt honoured to be asked – I was very surprised but pleasantly so. To get the opportunity to work with both De Beers and Mary was amazing. Working with her was a dream – it was fun and collaborative and very easy. Mary was very warm and very real and I had a perfect day! I felt special and beautiful (that is unusual for me; I normally feel dishevelled and untidy!). I the same about wearing De Beers diamonds though – they are so beautiful and soft to wear, they feel part of your body, like they almost mold to who you are. You wear the jewellery rather than allowing for the jewellery to wear you.

DO YOU HAVE A WOMAN THAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR LIFE OR THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?

Almost everybody who has inspired me are woman – certainly in my chosen career. It is women who seem to really look at the bigger picture. Alice Waters, Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer, Vandana Shiva, Diana Kennedy; all of these woman have tried to change the world in food for the better. I am also inspired by my mother who is strong and independent and still so active even though she is now in her late seventies. I think woman are extraordinary – I can not understand why we do not totally run the world, we would be so much better at it!

WHAT WAS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT?

I think there are those little moments throughout your life, small epiphanies that change everything or give you an opportunity to grow. When I walked through the door of Petersham for the first time, there was almost nothing there but a rickety old garden centre on the edge of the river, that was one of those moments; it was as if I had a photograph so clearly in my mind of what it could become. I would like to get more involved in the politics of food. I would like to make a difference on some level in terms of the consumption of good food – food that not only tastes delicious but is healthy for you.

HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHER WOMEN TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS?

To achieve your goals I believe you have to work hard, learn your craft, whatever that may be. Rather than look for success for success' sake – just have great integrity in what you do.

CORNELIA PARKER

In 2010 Cornelia Parker elected member of the Royal Academy of Arts, artist Cornelia Parker specialises in installations and sculpture. Exploring a combination of visual and verbal allusions, her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations, allowing the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.

Cornelia Parker’s imaginative journey through the world of art reached a Moment of Light in 1997 when she was nominated for the Turner Prize.

“FIND SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE GENUINELY PASSIONATE ABOUT AND PUT ALL OF YOUR ENERGY IN TO IT.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WORKING WITH THE WOMEN FOR WOMEN FOUNDATION?

So often, you don’t feel you can make a difference to the lives of others, so I am very happy to be part of this project. To think that women who live in difficult situations can have the trajectory of their lives improved, and to be able to play a part in that, is wonderful.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

I love artists like Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic and Louise Bourgeois, they have lived their lives on their own terms.

WHAT IS OR WAS YOUR MOMENT IN LIGHT –A SPECIAL MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER OR LIFE?

When I was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, it happened in the same month that I first met my husband in Texas. Also the birth of our daughter in 2001, when I was 45.

HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHER WOMEN TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS?

Find something that you are genuinely passionate about and put all your energy into it. Don’t worry about success, work on living every day to the fullest.

ALICE TEMPERLEY

Alice Temperley’s passion for playful prints and party dresses has led her to become one of the foremost names in British fashion. She is vibrant, entrepreneurial and highly talented in her art form.

De Beers is delighted to include Alice Temperley within the Moments in Light celebration of talented women. Since the doors of her first London boutique opened, she has inspired and delighted women with her creativity and phenomenal flair for fashion.

“LAUGH AT YOURSELF WORK HARD AND BE TRUE TO YOUR OWN CREATIVE VISION.”

WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE FASHION DESIGN AND HOW DID YOU ACHIEVE YOUR SUCCESS?

Since I was a child I was encouraged to be creative by my mother – we didn’t have a television. I was always making things. I was fascinated by patterns, sewing, painting, cutting things up to make textile pieces or clothing – I remember being in trouble for constantly breaking her sewing machine and cutting up rare treasures. I started making things and selling them to earn pocket money, and then to fund my way through college – things just naturally escalated. I got to where I am today through hard work and dedication. As a designer you have to follow your instincts and trust in yourself.

HOW DO YOU FEEL TO HAVE BEEN INVITED TO BE ONE OF THE DE BEERS MOMENTS IN LIGHT CELEBRATED WOMEN?

I was fortunate enough to have an amazing, supportive family that encouraged me to follow my dreams and I hope this campaign can do the same for other women. Working with Mary McCartney was truly inspirational – I had a great time and working with such a talented photographer made the shoot so easy.

HAVE YOU ENJOYED WORKING WITH THE WOMEN FOR WOMEN FOUNDATION?

The Women for Women charity is inspiring to me as it offers women in underprivileged countries – including Africa which holds a very special place in my heart – access to the knowledge and resources they need to be a success. I am grateful to be in a place in my life and career where I can inspire other women.

IS THERE A WOMAN THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR LIFE?

My mother, she is amazing….so creative and captivating. She even looks glamorous on the farm in her wellies!