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Conversations with Mari Maria

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mari Maria.

So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born in the Dominican Republic. I came to the U.S in the 90’s and my family and I settled in South Side Providence, Rhode Island. I was raised by a single mother; I was the youngest of 3. We all worked extremely hard academically & artistically. Throughout the years, I would get many opportunities to do many different things within my skill sets which created a great work ethic for myself.

In 2012 I graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.A in Photography. After graduating, I got the opportunity to go to China. I had an amazing time. It expanded my mind. I got to travel and it changed the way I saw myself, others, and the world. After a while of exploring and learning it was time to go back home.

Inspired by that experience and wanting to continue to see more of the world, I moved to LA. I went in headfirst not really sure what I was doing or why I wanted to do it.

I participated in different dance/cinematography programs, met many people, and did a few jobs here and there but overall felt aimless. What I wanted in life changed. All I knew was that I wanted to be happy with who I was becoming, and in the process, I wanted to make a difference. Make things better.

While I love LA, living here can present its challenges but I never give up. Through prayer, meditation, yoga, and therapy (something I never really took seriously before), I saw a dramatic change.

This quarantine, I finally went into business for myself. It has been rewarding and a great learning experience so far. I can honestly say I have never been so proud of myself, not just for the things I can accomplish but for who I am. I’ve created a discipline for myself that I can be proud of and I’m accomplishing things I only dreamed I would.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Naturally, challenges come up. Some of the biggest throughout my life I would say are health issues like arthritis, living in a violent neighborhood, growing up without my father, etc.

I would say my biggest problem was not knowing how these problems would affect me later in life, but I’ve had the opportunity to learn about myself on a deeper level. I learned that these challenges have given me purpose and empathy for others. I’m actually grateful and glad I still get to pursue my dreams.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m an artist. Dance, photography, and video editing would be where my concentration is. But those things would be nothing if I couldn’t share it with others. I really have a passion for inspiring and uplifting people. Giving them the energy that they need if only for a little while. Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary.

What I am most proud of is what I’ve done for myself and what I have done for others. Anything I’ve wanted to do even if I have no idea how to do it, I would make it happen. No matter the art form.

For instance, I wanted to release some stress and dance with my friends so I created EPIC Shanghai. A non-profit program where we would gather every Wednesday and teach each other free of charge. It was just an exchange. It was like a little pick-me-up in the middle of the week for everyone. It’s still happening thanks to a friend, Shona.

I’m not too sure what sets me apart from others because I don’t really compare myself to others. I just do me.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
I have many people who deserve credit like everyone in my family. But specifically, my mom, Omaris, and my two older brothers Jonathan & Joel Del Rosario. My boyfriend Melo who is always there and supportive through all the ups and downs. Jeremiah, Julia, and Billy also known as Dexter! They’ve been there throughout my journey and the love and respect is mutual. My best friend Heather. The Boston Dance Community that took me in & has always inspired me.

Everyone in Motivating Excellence Season 7 with Rhapsody James, Nicco Annan, Jared Jenkins, & Mel Charlot have made a huge impact in my life and the standard that I hold myself to is excellence because of it.

Other choreographers/teachers like Gerran Reese, Devin Solomon, Josh Williams, & Pat “Ghost” Garrett. Creative Director/ Director Shawnette Heard from Spittn Image Production Company.

My uncle Ygnacio Diogenes Arias trained me in martial arts in Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu Karate-Do and created the discipline that I could not have achieved on my own.

The excellent schools I had the opportunity to go to and everyone who made that possible.

All the amazing friends I’ve made here. The long list of friends from all over the world who have created opportunities for me to share myself and who I am. I’m extremely grateful and owe a debt to all the people who have taken the time and effort to help me get to where I am. Most importantly, God. Thank You 🙂

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Be More Media, Fotos In Marz, Palms and Pines, & Max Melnicov

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What to check out next:
Aleasha Bahr is a sales & marketing strategist known for showing introverts and ambiverts the Secret Art of Subtle Selling.  She personally sold millions in revenue while discovering introverts are usually top sales people – as soon as they stop trying to act like extroverts.  We’ve partnered with her to produce Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories. Check out episode 1 below:

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