In a rare departure from her typical loudmouth antics, it was comedian Chelsea Handler's Minnesota-created shirt that did the talking when she appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" last week.
Wearing a black T-shirt with the words “It’s my body. It’s my choice.” positioned across her chest, Handler single-handedly boosted sales for the line of statement-making apparel by Minneapolis clothing company, My Sister, which donates a portion of its proceeds to help fight sex trafficking around the world.
"We were completely surprised," said Maria McGinty, My Sister marketing director. "We have definitely received increased interest in our shirts."
Handler, the star of "The Chelsea Show" on Netflix, announced to DeGeneres that she was quitting her talk show to focus on political activism. A day before her "Ellen" appearance, Handler shared a photo of herself wearing the same My Sister shirt to her 3.2 million followers on Instagram and 8.2 million followers on Twitter. DeGeneres also posted a video clip of Handler in the T-shirt to her 49.6 million Instagram followers.
That's a lot of free publicity for My Sister, who said they had to place a rush order on its collection of shirts. The shirt can be found on My Sister’s website and its Uptown Minneapolis store, but a few sizes are on back-order until Dec. 22.
"For Chelsea to take a stand against sex trafficking in such a visible way was awe-inspiring, and we are so thankful for her for bringing light to this cause," McGinty said.
A portion of every purchase from My Sister is donated to fight sex trafficking. By selling T-shirts with bold statements, such as, "Not here to please you," the company has raised over $104,000 for nonprofit partners and funded over 2,671 hours of survivor employment.
The mission of My Sister has attracted the attention of other female celebrities, too. The company recently partnered with actress and women’s rights activist Amber Tamblyn on a six-piece collection of shirts featuring Tamblyn's original poetry and statements. Called the #ChoirUp Collection, it features messages such as, “The more we are a choir, the more the tune is forced to change.”
Supported by Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, Kristen Schaal, Aisha Tyler, America Ferrera and others, 25 percent of proceeds from the collection will be donated to GEMS to help young women and girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking exit the industry with support and resources.