Bronwen Global Ambassador Kim Havell Makes Things Happen
HARD BODY. SOFT HEART.
For someone with decidedly urban roots, Bronwen Jewelry Global Ambassador Kim Havell spends an extraordinary amount of time in the backcountry. Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Hong Kong, Kim moved to New York City with her family at the age of 11. Kim grew up skiing, but it was a school trip to Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire in the 6th grade that really got her hooked on the backcountry. “The freedom of the experience really struck a chord,” she says.
It’s a chord Kim has continued to play–one that has taken her from working as an alpine ski coach in Telluride to becoming one of the world’s pre-eminent ski mountaineers. Kim started making a splash as a powder girl to be watched around 2007, when she began knocking off first female descents in Southwest Colorado, and since then she has been steadily ticking off increasingly more ambitious projects across the globe.
Kim’s resume of ascents, descents, and outdoor adventures is so substantial that it is almost easier to list the lines she hasn’t skied and the routes she hasn’t climbed. All seven continents have provided the topography for her endeavors; on more than half of them she has pioneered first descents. Denali, Gasherbrum II, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua—nearly all of the legendary mountains have been Kim’s stomping grounds. But it was Kim’s 2013 descent of the Otterbody Route off the Grand Teton–the first female descent–that confirmed for a wider audience what those in Kim’s closer circles already knew: this woman totally shreds.
Others have written so prolifically about Kim and her adventures that instead of providing a blow-by-blow account of impressive first descents, sharing her philosophy about the dangers and rewards of backcountry skiing, or illuminating the juxtaposition between her incredibly hard-core ski mountaineering prowess and her absolute humility (and remember, we’re talking about a gal who parachutes into remote mountain ranges and paddles stand-up paddleboards in frigid waters with skis strapped to her back), we’re just going to focus on the question about which everyone is wondering. That question is, of course, “What’s the point of wearing gorgeous jewelry if you have it buried beneath layers of capilene and fleece all the time?”
Kim says simply, “I wear active jewelry skiing. It adds a feminine touch.” Thus you might glimpse Tiny Charm Post Earrings or Thai Diamond Earrings sparkling from under Kim’s knit ski cap. And you might not see them, but Kim knows that her Sunspot and Ribbon Wrap bracelets are fastened firmly to her wrists, stylish secrets shimmering under her gloves.
Also, “I am not always skiing,” she adds with a smile, “Sometimes I après.” Which gives her a chance to wear her Pharoah Earrings, proving that not only can a gal command the world’s attention skiing epic routes, but she can turn heads in the pub later as well.
Oh, did we mention? The girl is gorgeous.
Indeed, what goes up must come down, and at some point Kim always descends from the mountains and focuses on some of her other pursuits, such as freelance writing, photography, and film-making. “I do a variety of other things in life,” she says, “and I love having beautiful accessories for self-expression and feminine flair.” Kim finds what she’s looking for in Waterweave and Glasswrap bracelets, in Tiny Charm necklaces, and in Catania Earrings.
“I’ve been wearing Bronwen jewelry long before I came on board as an ambassador,” explains Kim. “I love the look, the feel, the style of all her lines and pieces. The jewelry speaks to me and fits with my active lifestyle. The company conveys simplistic beauty with a lot of soul. It’s very real and personal. It suits me well and speaks to my sense of fashion and beauty.”
Kim also identifies with Bronwen Jewelry’s interest in celebrating the strength and beauty of individual women, saying that’s a mission she can embrace. Despite having distinguished herself as one of the foremost female ski mountaineers in history, Kim neither understates nor exaggerates the importance of the qualifier “female” in that title. She claims her first descents and other achievements proudly, noting that each additional accomplishment by women helps to legitimize women’s presence in the echelons of elite athletes, but maintains that she skis particular lines not to be first, but simply because she wants to ski the route.
And that’s the essence of Kim Havell. You do something for the joy of it. You do it because you believe you can. You do it because you don’t let anyone else’s–or your own–doubts thwart your progress. “We are our own worst enemies. We really limit ourselves,” she says. “The truth is, no matter how long it takes, I can make something happen. It doesn’t always happen on the time frame you want it to, but if you’re persistent, and you really want it, you can make it happen.”
To learn more about what Kim is making happen next, or to read about her past escapades and achievements, visit her website.
Photos: Gabe Rogel, Jay Goodrich, Alexander Herring