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  • hannahlbryans


I met Maria Godau at the end of March 2021. She was in Paris for a few months doing an embroidery internship with chanel. Her days looked like sitting in front of the most beautiful, constantly evolving embroidery frame, embroidering new additions, detail by detail.

The embroidery caught my eye and I was fascinated.

First by it, then by her.

Because ooh la la, she is a unique individual.

There really is no one like this Maria. She’s a dreamer, so much so that some might say that her head is in the clouds.

But she's not just a dreamer, she's also an executor.

She embodies a rare combination of idealism and execution.

She’s a woman who sees potential and brings it into existence,

Who’s head is in heaven but who’s feet are on earth.

She steps into spaces and brings this dream world into them.

She brings bits of heaven to earth and April in Paris with her was dreamy.

I found something that I wrote from that month, back when I went through a period of documenting the most random details of life;

“Sunny evening. Bought an iced coffee.

Had dinner with Derrick and Jake.

Did a workout.

Painted with Maria as she embroidered.

We chatted for hours then realised that we should eat.

Had a midnight meal of tomato soup, crackers and avocado.

Maria is inspiring. Sometimes I just want to record or write down the things that she says”

So here I am, writing, hoping that I can do justice to a woman who has greatly impacted my life.

Maria followed her dreams to Paris and for that I’m grateful,

We probably wouldn't have met otherwise.

I had been doing a french school in the south of France and had a sense that I should go directly from there back to Paris (as opposed to travelling for a month first as I’d originally planned)

For that I’m also grateful,

We definitely wouldn't have met otherwise.

That month we shared meals and walks and ideas and thoughts.

I was working in hospitality.

Her in fashion.

In the evenings we worked together on our different projects, listening to music and bouncing ideas off each other.

She was a refreshment and an inspiration. I knew that one day I would go after my dreams fully in the way that she was.

Maria had meetings in the city, classes in the chanel atelier and a tight deadline to finish her tapestry.

So tight that she spent almost every other waking hour embroidering.

Business casual and perfectly done lipstick was almost part of her personality, so much so that she even naps like that.

She would go from hours of embroidering to falling asleep on the couch in her blazer and perfectly done makeup.

She reminded me of a cutie princess fairy, but one who listened to hours of Jocko Willink podcasts as she embroidered.

These were the same podcasts that she drew inspiration from as she sent me motivating voice messages from across the world months later as I was leading a team and being challenged in every sense. She spoke of rare leadership, delegation and caring for people.

She told me that she was only ever one voice message or one call away when I needed.

Her care and friendship was fuel, and little did she know that she was inadvertently caring for my whole team.

This epitomises her, for I’m sure that she really has no clue about the amount of people she has inspired and impacted by just showing up every day and being herself.

“Hi I miss you and I love you so much. And, I was thinking, let's be bosswomen. Like I was thinking the other day when everything felt like it was burning *went into specifics of a lot of drama that was going down*

I was crying and then I thought, right let's just be a heroin right now.

And like when we were in Amsterdam and my mother was just completely knocked out in the emergency room, I had to take over running the event and I was thinking. Right let's just be a heroin. You know Hannah, let’s be heroins. We’ll level up and be heroins and trust that all will go well. We can be above the waves and the wind. We can be heroes. I am praying for you Hannah that the one who started a good work will bring it to fulfilment. I’m gonna pray that and I love you, dearly. We’ve been given this one life. Lets love it, let's enjoy it and let's be heroes. Let’s not get panicked by the wind and the waves. I panicked a lot in relation to all the dresses. I really panicked. But let's nap in the storm, I really want to be able to nap in the storm and just trust. I love you so much. I’m so grateful for you. And I’m so confident that we can be heroes. We’ll talk very soon and enjoy Sweden”

That was my rough transcription of a voice memo from Maria, October 2022

And that is the kind of voice message that is so on brand for her. From pep talks to “how would you feel about moving to Lebanon together? I’ve been quite tempted to do an internship with Elie Saab or Georges Hobeika”

Another thing that I love about Maria is how despite being someone who dreams big, she is also willing to put her dreams aside for the people she loves most. Despite dreaming for years about moving to a specific country for a specific fashion job, when her mum was on the verge of burnout she put it all aside to stay in Germany and help her.

And help her, she did, for Maria started working within her mum's organisation and basically leading the show. She is a phenomenal leader, pouring her everything into the people and making everyone feel valued. She did that selflessly, yet also stayed committed to her own dreams by starting her own fashion brand, Saintemarie Couture. I don't know how she does it for she balances a more than full time job with embroidering dresses throughout the night to be sold in a luxury store in Munich. This woman is a powerhouse and her love and commitment to the people and projects she's been given is exemplary.


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