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Meet Maria Barajas

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

Maria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Since I have memory I just loved to perform, I loved to sing, dance, pretend to be different characters and always loved every tv series or movie. When vacations started I knew it was time for me to get ready with some choreographies to teach friends and then performed them in front of our parents or tape it just for fun. I thought I wanted to be a singer, so during high school, I went to a music school, where I took classes of piano, singing, learned theory of music and to read music sheets.

Then, when I graduate from High School I went to a Musical Theatre program and I loved it, but it was hard to realize that while I was at home making up choreographies, there were kids who were really getting trained at dance, singing and acting. But with time I started to see that there was something about acting that came naturally to me, and I felt confident about my work, which didn’t happen with signing or dancing. Meanwhile, I also went to college to study Business Administration but I kept going to musical theatre school because I knew I wanted to get trained until I had the opportunity to study in the US.

So that’s how it happened, When I was about to finish college I took a summer program of Acting at the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts, and during the summer I applied for the full program, but without expectation, I just did it to have an option afterward. After my summer program and by watching The Avengers I literally realized by that I actually wanted to do acting for a film as a career, I wanted to be able to teach something and influence people in a good way. I’ve always been pro-justice, I literally wanted to be a superhero, that’s were my passion was and still is. And then is when I started my trip to LA to study acting.

I was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where I completed the full two-year conservatory program, and since then I’ve been working as an actor. It’s such a journey when you start, it takes time while you understand how the business work, but honestly I’m still figuring out. But it’s all about the journey. It’s been a challenge I’m not gonna lie, from personal to business. I’ve grown so much as a person, in every single aspect, plus acting makes you work on yourself.

I’ve also found other passions during this path that have brought the best out of me. Nowadays I feel more confident about myself as a person, as an actor, and I believe more in my skills. I’ve been trying to incorporate my business career into my acting career, they say everything happens for a reason, right? therefore I’ve been building up my own brand, getting work by my own merits and managing my own career. I have met amazing people here in LA, a lot of passionate people, I feel blessed of what my life have been here. I’m ready for the next step, can’t wait to see what life has to offer!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, it has been a constant challenge. But I can say that at the end everything had turned out the right way. Studying here in LA one of the biggest challenges for me has been the language barrier.

Even though I went to a British school back in Colombia, I had to work on the clarity of my speech and on my American accent. It’s was a struggle for me at my acting school and it’s still a struggle when I’m auditioning nowadays. Mostly because part of me is still focusing on pronouncing the words correctly so it blocks me from being free when I’m acting.

Another struggle for me has been not knowing where to start, or what to do. And then you get overloaded for what you hear from other people.

And last but not least, is living far away from my family, it takes lots of energy, the fact that you have to do everything for yourself can get overloaded. This is a fact that really makes you question yourself about your decisions.

Please tell us about your work.
I’m an actor, and what I’m most proud of is that every job I’ve got so far I have earned by my own merits in every sense. Of course it is something that every actor has to go through, but personally is something I’m really proud of because I would have simply never imagined it.

Every single tasks contributes for my business, from deciding what type of characters I want to portrait in my own headshots, contacting the right photographer for me, creating my profiles on different casting pages, designing my own webpage, submitting to jobs every single day none stop, auditioning, signing contracts, giving your best on set, keeping healthy, exercising every day, start to know people, putting yourself out there by using social media as a tool, everything is connected in this business in order to achieve my final goal.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Not at all, LA is definitely the right place for this business, LA just have it all. All the creative people are here, directors, actors, writers, the studios are here, the weather and locations are just amazing, and the history of this place for acting is such an inspiration for me. I think I would always be grateful for having the opportunity to work here in what I love doing.

LA for me feels like home, it has been really welcoming, and people I’ve met have inspired me in this journey. Is not easy, but also not impossible. I’m happy about the process and how much I have achieved and grown as a person. I will keep working on myself and my career. The only thing I could think that I would have liked doing could be trying to start acting earlier and maybe I would have gone to NYU? lol, but I believe everything comes to you at the right time, so I also think there’s a reason why I came at a certain age and came here to LA. I just have to keep figuring it out. But right now, even though all the obstacles and hard moments, I’m proud and happy with the results and I’m ready to keep fighting for my dreams because I know for sure the journey is the best part!

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Image Credit:

Alan Weissman, Chris Bader Photography, George Simian

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