Josephine Baker dropped out of school at 13, slept in cardboard, and scavenged for food in garbage cans. Two years later she was performing at the best clubs in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance after attracting the right kind of attention dancing on the street corners of St. Louis.
Josephine Baker's success coincided the the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in 1925 that gave birth to the term "Art Deco", and also a renewal of interest in non-western forms of art. She was often accompanied by, Chiquita, her pet cheetah, who wore a diamond collar. Chiquita would frequently escape into the orchestra pit adding to the excitement of the show.
She was a muse for contemporary authors, painters, designers and sculptors, including Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes.