This is Maya. Maya was a very early pillow creation. I was trying to learn how to paint women of color because I've always felt that a black women's skin tones and features offer reflections and textures that can be so exquisite. The most beautiful woman I saw last year in Paris was a black woman attired in her African dress and head scarf. I was seated across from her on the subway and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was absolutely radiant. She wasn't model thin but was curvy and womanly. It was the way she carried herself. I wanted to take her picture so badly but I didn't have the nerve to ask her. But, I will never forget her.

I named this lady Maya because one of my favorite poets is Maya Angelou. I love to hear her read her poetry. Her voice is so warm and calming. My favorite poem of hers is "Phenomenal Woman" because it speaks to every woman.

"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute 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."
(Maya Angelou)

Are you a Phenomenal Woman? Of course you are. So am I.

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