I remember first meeting Yelena very well. She's just that kind of person. When you meet somebody new, usually certain parts of that persons character, abilities or history stand out and compose the small talk that follows. Yelena's history makes it hard to focus on one topic but her presence, which I can only describe as comforting and loving, make it obsolete. Despite her gorgeousness (she modeled for Cartier) Yelena radiates inner beauty more than anything else. Her warm smile assured me that I wouldn't be judged for being too nosy, and I would have had all the reasons. All of her family members are throwing long shadows: She is the daughter of Cecilia Rodhe, a sculptor and former Miss Sweden and Yannick Noah, a French open winner and arguably the
most funny and entertaining pro athlete the world has seen. Upon retirement from sports, her father would fill stadiums as a celebrated musician, while her brother, NBA superstar Joakim Noah, is in the prime of his career with the Chicago Bulls. Plenty to chat about, sure. Yet, when talking to Yelena what strikes you is to gradually understand how strong and diverse her passions are.
Naturally, a polyglot world traveler with a degree in political science, a long history of exposure on TV screens and glossy magazines and a vast knowledge of the arts of the world has something to tell. For Yelena, telling her story has become designing jewelry. "My jewelry is definitely a product of my cultural heritage and my travels", she says, "I had the luxury of traveling a lot in my youth. I believe travel is so important for keeping an open mind. I think that you learn a lot about yourself and what it means to be human by being out of your comfort zone and being confronted by cultures and languages that are not your own."
Yelena has been honing her art all her life, and upon giving birth to her jewelry line she unveiled more aspects of what drives her: "I've been working on a project in Suriname with the Maroon women's network. The project is a celebration of Maroon women and their powerful culture. I am also currently trying to create a collaborative project with women in Cameroon. I want my jewelry line to have significance beyond being just jewelry." Still, no piece will have more meaning than the first ring she ever created: "My grandfather asked me to design a piece of jewelry before I graduated high school. I designed a ring and he used the gold from my great-grandparents' wedding bands to create it as well as a green amethyst stone from Brazil that he had found when he was traveling there in the 1940's. My grandfather, who passed not long after, was the person who commissioned my first piece of jewelry. This was before I even thought of the idea of becoming a designer! I love him." We invite you to browse Yelena's Jewelry creations here and in our Boutique.
Shop Yelena Noah Jewelry here