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From Icon To Unknown And Loving It

Maria Popson could talk for hours about any topic. Among many things, Ms. Popson is philosophical — she’s a naturalist, a healer, a chef, a storyteller, an East Village resident and a former Brazilian supermodel.

During her years in fashion, Ms. Popson went by the name “Neneca Moreira.” In 1994, Ms. Popson moved to the East Village – in large part, she says, because of the relative anonymity she enjoys while living in the neighborhood. Her ground-floor apartment on East Fourth Street looks more like an eclectic storefront — displaying colorful fabrics, tribal masks and tons of exotic trinkets.

Now Ms. Popson, 59, focuses her attention on making and packaging honeybee propolis – a residue derived from bees, which she says has a variety of health benefits.

NYU Journalism’s Rachel Wise and Sarah Tung report.