I am constantly asking women for names of those they think are true Ibu of their generation. For two years, I've heard the name of Madison Headrick. I began to follow her moves on Instagram (along with 500,000 others). I watched her concern for the planet, her work on behalf of sea life, clean energy projects, beach clean-ups, and forest conservation. I saw her career soar as international fashion model, her face appearing on magazine covers around the world. I saw a certain discipline and thoughtfulness in the sharing of her life. I saw that she grew up a tomboy on the beaches of Sullivans Island in my home, Charleston.
One dismal day during the Covid shutdown, I stopped watching and reached out to Madison, not knowing if anything would come of it. But in this year so challenging to artisans around the world, I thought of how elevating it would be to see their handmade creations on a model this graceful and strong.
With the encouragement of a mutual friend, Madison responded. And she surprised me. "I don't want to just wear an Ibu dress and post it like a flash in the pan. I want a relationship with one of the artisan groups. I want to understand their challenges and successes. I want to follow them over time, get to know them, and champion their work."
Madison chose to learn more about Muhayo Aliyeva and her group of women in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. We sent her images, information, news of how the Ibu Foundation had helped get them through the pandemic. On a three way Zoom conversation, I introduced Madison and Muhayo; they heard each other's stories (and videotaped it to share with you.) We sent Madison a dress made by Muhayo's group of women; as she tried it on, she called Muhayo to exclaim.
It is a conversation between worlds we are creating. I am honored to have Madison join the Ibu World as an Ambassador, and a representative of our work in Uzbekistan. Here's to the women of the world and all the ways we elevate one another.