Audacity; independence; creativity; unerring strength; fearlessness: these are the traits celebrated by Piaget’s Extraordinary Women campaign, which champions exceptional females in fields from cinema to art via music, design and art. The campaign – photographed by Chinese visual artist Chen Man – will see these unique women share their experiences, achievements, accomplishments and philosophy of life via video – and the results are edifying, to put it mildly.
Iranian-born Norwegian model, businesswoman, and TV personality Shiva Safai is the founder of beauty, fashion, lifestyle and travel brand “Essentials by Shiva Safai”; has hosted LA Fashion Week; and made appearances in TV shows including Access Hollywood Live and Daily Pop; was voted Best-Dressed Woman by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia in 2016. She is an ambassador for the association Les Bonnes Oeuvres du Coeur, which helps children suffering from heart problems and those needing paediatric surgery, and also an ambassador for Save the Children, as well as supporting an international organisation helping children suffering from cancer.
South Korean actress Kong Hyo-Jin made her acting debut with the 1999 horror film Memento Mori, and received the award for Best Actress at the Korean Film Festival in 2008 with the film Crush and Blush. She’s considered a romantic comedy queen both in Korea and elsewhere in Asia, thanks to performances in Pasta, The Greatest Love and Master’s Sun, and recently starred in When the Camellia Blooms, winning the 2019 KBS Drama Awards Grand Prize for her performance. She has also published a book, Notebook, which has raised awareness of environmental issues.
Olivia Palermo – a New York-born entrepreneur and style tastemaker – is founder and Chief Creative Officer of the Olivia Palermo Group Inc., which has just released an eponymous ready-to-wear collection, and also oversees an e-commerce platform, OliviaPalermo.com. An alumni of the University of Paris, Palermo supports several philanthropic organisations, with a particular devotion to the international non-profit Dress for Success, whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools.
Balqees Fathi – an Emirati singer and member of the UAE NSO Symphony Orchestra who earned the Official Middle East Arab Woman of the Year award for “Young Talent 2012” and the “Best Young Talent” award by Al Sada and Zahrat Al Khaleej magazines – was named UN Champion for Women’s Rights in the Middle East in 2016 and became the first-ever Arabic singer to perform at a concert for women in Saudi Arabia. She was also the first Arabic singer to appear on Saudi national television.
Co-founders of RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy), an organisation dedicated to changing conversations on the red carpet through advocacy for charities and elevating the relationships between celebrities and their designers from shared profiteering to shared values – Arianne Phillips & Carineh Martin are dedicated to inspiring the public towards social progress. Arianne is an Oscar-nominated costume designer, most recently for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and has also worked with Madonna for over two decades. Carineh is a luxury brand marketer who has worked at Prada, Dior, The Estée Lauder Companies and The William Morris Agency.
Chen Man – a Chinese visual artist who studied photography at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts – loves to blur the boundaries between fashion and artistic photography. As a student, she published self-styled photography as covers for Chinese art magazine Vision, bringing her to the immediate attention of the art world. She has also photographed fashion for Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, i-D, Cosmopolitan and Esquire. Man is also renowned for blending modern aesthetics with traditional Chinese culture. Her studio in Beijing, Studio 6, produces advertising campaigns for world-famous brands and her work is exhibited in the permanent collections of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.
After graduating from the Julliard School in New York, Jessica Chastain embarked on a movie career which has garnered two Oscar nominations, and most recently seen her appear in X-Men: Dark Phoenix and IT: Chapter Two. She launched Freckle Films, a New York-based film and television production company whose projects include the upcoming AVA, The Eyes of Tammy Faye and 355 in 2016. She is also a vocal participant for the Time’s Up movement, a legal defence fund that supports women who have experienced workplace harassment and abuse.
American actress Constance Wu is known for her ground-breaking work in Asian representation in Hollywood, and was most recently seen in the television comedy Fresh Off the Boat (2015-2020), which just completed its sixth season, and the first Asian-American led TV show ever to reach syndication. She was also the lead in Crazy Rich Asians, a role for which she received a Golden Globe® nomination in the category of Best Actress in a Motion Picture in a Musical or Comedy and a Critics Choice® nomination in the category of Best Actress in a Comedy. Last year, she starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, which broke the studio’s opening box office records. Constance has been included in Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world both for her work as an actress and advocate in the industry. She holds a BFA in Acting from SUNY Purchase’s prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film where she trained in classical theatre.
Another notable actress, Cynthia Erivo is a Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winner, as well as being an Academy Award, Golden Globe and SAG nominee. A UK native and graduate of the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Cynthia came to public attention on West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple, and has since starred in director Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, in which she brought the legacy of abolitionist Harriet Tubman to the big screen. She is currently starring in the HBO Series The Outsider and will play Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Emmy-winning global anthology series Genius: Aretha.
As we progress through an era in which exemplary human endeavour takes on more significance than usual, we salute these Extraordinary Women’s remarkable efforts.