To Hollywood, Kerry Washington is an award-winning actress and producer, but to the startup world she’s turning into a hands-on investor.
According to Fast Company, Washington recently made a substantial investment in DTC sustainable women’s jewelry startup Aurate, and has taken an active role is designing a capsule collection to champion sisterhood among women.
The four-piece Lioness collection is a project Washington worked on closely with Aurate co-founders Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui. The meaning behind the collection is symbolic of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet who often took the form of a lion, Fast Company reports.
The outlet went on to share the collection features the brand’s two best-selling gold chains joined together connected by a lion pendant, which is meant to represent the way in which women come together to form tribes, according to Washington.
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“The collection is all about women’s power, which is only stronger when we work together,” she said.
Washington’s partnership with the brand has been a long time in the making. Instead of finding a typical investor to solely provide funding, Kahn and Ezzahraoui wanted to find a partner who understood the brand and wanted to be involved in the core of its happenings.
“Aurate is style and substance and Kerry is style and substance,” Kahn told TechCrunch. “She’s also an activist, she cares and has a voice. That’s why it was such a perfect fit.”
“We see her as more than just an investor,” Ezzahraoui shared with Fast Company, “but as a partner.”
In addition to the balanced partnership, both Washington and Aurate’s co-founders aimed the timing of the collection’s launch to coincide with the presidential election to make it more meaningful.
“It’s important for us to be fighting for women’s representation in politics all the time,” Washington said to Fast Company. “Not just before an election. We need to be nurturing the next group of women leaders now.”
Aurate isn’t Washington’s first dip into the startup world, she’s also backed several other brands including The Wing, Community and Byte, TechCrunch reports.
As a new addition to her portfolio, Washington wanted this new partnership to reflect some of her personal values as well.
Aurate — a brand that always has philanthropic goals in mind — plans to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from the new collection to Super Majority, a women’s activism organization that Washington has been a supporter of for years.
“The three founders of Super Majority, those women are part of my lioness pride,” Washington told Vanity Fair. “Cecile Richards, Alicia Garza, and Ai-jen Poo, those are incredible women that I look up to… and it is so incredible what they’re creating with Super Majority—this real home for women’s activism. So, they to me are the perfect combination of that fierce ambition and beautiful loving, nurturing nature so it felt like the right place for proceeds to go.”
Aurate’s Lioness collection is currently available for purchase on its website.