Jenny Slate Says Being a Mom Has Made Her "More Grateful Than Ever" for Her Own Mother

jenny slate x catbird
Jenny Slate Launches Her First Jewelry CollectionCatbird
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Jenny Slate is a woman of many talents. She's an actress, stand-up comedian, writer, mother... and the voice of one iconic anthropomorphic shell.

Parents (and those of us who were on YouTube in 2010) may know her as the co-creator and vocal talent behind Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, or from her voice acting roles in animated movies like Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets. She also appeared in the 2022 film Everything Everywhere All at Once, and stars as Allysa alongside Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni in the upcoming movie adaptation of Colleen Hoover's buzzy novel, It Ends With Us.

jenny slate and blake lively in it ends with us
Jenny Slate and Blake Lively in It Ends With Us.Sony Pictures

Her body of work spans genres and mediums, but fans will recognize recurring themes of connection and nurturing, which serve as through lines in Jenny's passion projects. For example, Marcel's relationship with his grandmother and his search for community are central to the plot of the feature film. Jenny's Netflix special, Stage Fright, intersperses childhood home videos and documentary-style conversations with family members throughout the live-taped comedy set. Her book, Little Weirds, includes dedications to her mother, "who is always kind even when incredibly stubborn," and her sisters, "who are two halves of the sun that warms me," among others.

Jenny gave birth to her daughter, Ida, in 2021, a topic she discusses candidly in her new Prime Video comedy special, Seasoned Professional. Her second collection of essays, aptly titled Lifeform, comes out on October 22, 2024. When asked what made her decide it was time to share these next chapters of her life, and in such a deeply personal way, Jenny revealed to Good Housekeeping that she's been "gathering impressions and thoughts for Lifeform since the start of [her] pregnancy."

"Deciding to expand ideas or share them is just an appetite that comes up in me, and it's a feeling that not only has something reached a critical mass, emotionally speaking, but that I have to move it out of my interior and into the outside world," she explained.

Speaking of artistry, Jenny has teamed up with Catbird (a jewelry brand our editors love) to create a limited edition collection just in time for Mother's Day gifting.

We connected with Jenny and Leigh Plessner, the creative director of Catbird, over email to learn more about the collaboration, which is inspired by the maternal figures in Jenny's own life and is available to shop now.

Keep reading to find out more about the gorgeous pieces from Jenny herself — and browse our top picks to find gifts for your mom, grandma, sister, a new mom or even for yourself.

On how the collaboration came about:

Jenny Slate: I've been a Catbird fan and customer forever, and when I filmed my latest stand-up special Seasoned Professional, I got in touch with them to see if they might lend me some bracelets and earrings. They are so chic and light, I feel dressed up but totally unencumbered! Catbird sent me some pieces to wear and also attended the show, and soon after that, they got in touch with me to see if I'd be into a collaboration. I was THRILLED! I loved the pieces they did with Phoebe Bridgers as well as the ones they made with Miranda July. What company to be in! What an honor!

Leigh Plessner: Jenny is a long-serving Catbird customer and has been wearing our pieces for years. We are enormous Jenny fans so it's a wonderfully easy starting off point.

jenny slate x catbird collection
Courtesy of Catbird

On the design process:

Jenny: Catbird has such a gorgeous and well-developed aesthetic already, so I was able to refer to their existing designs and then speak to their incredible team about what I wished to give to the world. I love the idea that the pieces that my grandmother gave to me are the origin point for what I send out into the world.

My grandmother Rochelle Slate not only specifically saved her treasures for me and my sisters, but she also said something over and over again to me, "You always have to have a sense of humor!" Keeping in mind my grandmother's sense of adornment and attitude, I spoke to Catbird about what her jewelry actually looked like, and what elements really reminded me of her (braids, bells, shells). Catbird drew up some designs, and we went from there! When I finally saw the finished pieces, I was so incredibly happy.

Leigh: We all met on a video chat and took furious notes as Jenny talked about what she hoped we might make together, her grandmother's jewelry, passing time, being a mother, and the bells her mom tied on her shoes when she was little. Our design team sketched and made samples, and we came back together to show them to Jenny. She made a really keen note about drawing some more antique inspiration into the heart flipper charm, and it became the finished piece it is now, taking its cue from a Georgian heart and arrow pendant.

On the themes of the collection and the meanings behind the pieces:

Jenny: Some elements, especially the braided gold, are meant to be reminders of our connection with our caretakers, that we are at once part of a whole, but also hold singular worth. Also, my own mother carefully braided my hair every single day when I was a little girl. I had long, long braids like Anne of Green Gables, and I loved how much care my mother took; I loved feeling taken care of in that way.

The bells also remind me of my mother: she put bells on my shoes when I was a toddler so that she would know where I was if I was roaming around the house. The spinning heart charm can be engraved with your own name, the name of someone you love, or even a word that signifies a wish or a goal. I love the idea that things change, that they flip about, but that we can still hold love, hold focus, hold connection even during topsy-turvy times.

Button of Admiration Charm

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Button of Admiration Charm</p><p>Catbird</p>

Entwined Braided Ring, Silver

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Entwined Braided Ring, Silver</p><p>Catbird</p>

Shell Bell Charm

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Shell Bell Charm</p><p>Catbird</p>

Beloved Heart Spinner Charm

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Beloved Heart Spinner Charm</p><p>Catbird</p>

Entwined Braided Ring

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Entwined Braided Ring</p><p>Catbird</p>

Entwined Braided Chain Bracelet

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Entwined Braided Chain Bracelet</p><p>Catbird</p>

We also asked Jenny to answer some hard-hitting questions, like what is always on her grocery list and if there's one piece of advice from her mom that she'll never forget. In true Jenny fashion, her answers were delightful, relatable and, of course, imbued with a sense of humor. (Rochelle Slate would be proud.)

GH: How has becoming a mother yourself affected the way you relate to your mom, your sisters and the rest of your family?

JS: Ohhhhh, it's made me a LOT more understanding of my mother's own experience. And more grateful than ever.

GH: Is there one thing your mom always told you when you were growing up that sticks with you to this day, for better or for worse?

JS: Ummm, I guess that I would never look good with bangs? (She was correct.)

GH: How have your parents served as a support system for you throughout your career?

JS: My parents have supported me in every way possible: emotionally, financially, even physically traveling with me sometimes when I didn't want to be alone. It's all so deeply valuable to me, but the thing that I enjoy the most is that my parents ask me about the tiny details of my life, and that they care about my wellbeing more than any other thing that I might have going on.

GH: What makes a house feel like home for you?

JS: Certain things in the fridge and cabinet, flowers in a vase, a stack of books on the bedside table, a coffee maker. My family.

GH: What is something that is always on your shopping list?

JS: Chocolate milk.

GH: What is something that is never on your shopping list, but you'll always buy as a treat?

JS: Life is too short to leave your treats off your main list. ♥

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