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Phenomenal Women

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

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.

I say,

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


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

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.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

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.

I say,

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


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

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.

I say,

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


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

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.

Team Members:

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