Updated: Sep 1
by Baderha Bujiriri & Shelby Barthelemy
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cure or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
What does a phenomenal woman look like to you?
~ A woman who is learning to unapologetically
embrace the parts of herself that society
often tells her to be ashamed of.
She defines herself.
~ A woman who is patient with herself
and has faith in her greatness.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellow stands or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say, It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Who would you say inspires you to be a phenomenal woman?
~ My mother truly does inspire me to be a phenomenal woman.
She always created a space for me
to express myself in whatever way I felt
and for that I am grateful.
She is a phenomenal woman in her gentle,
caring nature and in the love she gives to everyone.
~ My mother, and I know that’s what
everyone says but it’s hard not to.
I don’t know who I’d be without her,
and I’m forever thankful for who I am becoming
because of her.
Having someone who holds so much
hope, love, and sacrifice for you is a privilege.
How do you see the “phenomenal woman” inside of you?
~ I see her as someone I can rely on.
I see her as someone who will try her best
but has the serenity to accept the things she cannot change.
She tries to be honest, sensitive, and willing
to grow spiritually from an experience.
~ I see her as an unshakable and undefeatable force
that can not be confined. No matter how hard I try,
she’s going to reveal herself.
Even in the most challenging times, when I feel
like something is truly impossible and my spirits are low,
she shows up! She embodies the strength I didn’t know I had.
Men themselves have
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
What do you think your purpose is?
~ My purpose is to be a light, mentor and trailblazer.
I know God has put me on this Earth
to make an impact in people’s lives.
As someone who loves to teach, listen and help those around me,
I know I was created to be an advocate and
create opportunities for myself and others
~ I think my purpose is to show
love and kindness to those around me.
I think if we all made the conscious choice to be more loving,
the world would be a better and happier place.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Poem by Maya Angelou. From the creative minds of Baderha Bujiriri·Shelby Barthelemy
This project focuses on presenting Black women in their softest, purest, boldest form. Their skin color, hair, facial features are showcased and celebrated. An ode to Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” where, “It’s in the arch of my back / The sun of my smile / The ride of my breasts / I’m a woman phenomenally / Phenomenal woman / That’s me.” In nature and in bright clothing, we are seen, we are bold, we are beautiful, we are women.
Baderha Bujiriri (She/Her) - Creative Director/Stylist/Model
Shelby Barthelemy (She/Her) - Creative Director/Photographer
Hikima Lukomwa (She/Her) - Makeup Artist
Jessica Asamoah (She/Her) - Model
Abgel Negassa (She/Her) - Model
Toni Gomes (She/Her) - Model
Mya Turner (She/Her) - Model
Safiya Umrani (She/Her) - Model