María Gabriela de Faría on Growth, Empowerment, and Inspiring Positive Change – MGdF by Osvoldo Ponton

María Gabriela de Faría is no stranger to sharing her life on-screen. Since 2006, María has been acting in popular Latin American TV series like “Yo Soy Franky,” “Isa TKM,” and American series like SyFy’s “Deadly Class” and Fox’s “The Moodys.” In the face of a global pandemic, María has pivoted to a more personal method of sharing her life, her truth, and her experiences in growth.

Inspired by her own heroes, María started her blog, The Faria Online, where she gives readers tips for living a healthy, sustainable, and empowering lifestyle. We sat down with the newly-minted blogger to talk about mental health, sustainability, and what it means to have a platform in 2021.

Between your blog and your social media platforms, you’re very vocal about supporting animal rights, veganism, sustainable fashion, and an overall eco-friendly lifestyle. How did this lead into your work with the World Wildlife Fund and Mercy for Animals? What has been your most memorable experience working with these organizations?

Yes! I’ve always had a passion for animal rights, but a few years ago, I realized that as a public figure, I had the tremendous gift of having a platform for reaching people and a voice people listen to. I wanted to put it to good use. I started sharing information from WWF and Mercy For Animals, along with my own opinions and experiences. They reached out looking to collaborate, and I felt so honored! I learn so much working hand in hand with these two giants, these champions for animal rights and the protection of natural spaces. I have two rescue cats and had a rescue dog, so I’m deeply familiar with the gratitude and love they look at you with. But I’ll never forget visiting a farm animal sanctuary for the first time. There was just nothing like being able to meet the animals, look them in the eyes, and experience first hand what I talk about so much.

Part of living a sustainable lifestyle is being more conscious about how we shop. What are the tips you use to ensure that you’re shopping responsibly?

I LOVE THIS TOPIC! I love fashion, and I feel a little bit ashamed to admit that I didn’t know the incredible harm that fast fashion causes, not only to the planet but the lives of its workers. My first and most important tip is: educate yourself. There is so much information available now! But the one documentary that made me completely change the way I look at fashion was “The True Cost.” I highly recommend watching that documentary and taking notes (I did!).

I like to say that we are all “voting” with our money. And what I mean is that we create the world we live in with our money and the way we use it. In that sense, giving money to the fast fashion industry is a big no for me. I personally prefer to shop second hand and sustainable brands. I would start by visiting second-hand shops or, if you prefer brand new clothes, I would suggest looking for the Fair Trade certified logo and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

© 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. Cr: Jonathan Wenk/FOX.

On your blog, you share your experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, advising your readers that “We have to get in to get out” (of a mental struggle). Can you tell us more about why it’s so important to face your struggles head-on instead of avoiding them?

Because I know avoiding them is not an option, even when we truly believe it is. I know by experience that the more you avoid your “demons,” the bigger they become.

We live in a society that invites us to look for external solutions to internal problems. I believe that mentality has taken our personal responsibility away and put it in the hands of third parties. And I get it! The world seems like it’s moving too fast for us to slow down, and it’s so much easier to just make somebody else responsible for our mental health. But nobody knows more about what you’re going through than you, and not taking the time and space to sit with whatever you’re going through will prevent you from finding the exit door of the struggle you’re facing. That exit door could mean therapy, a change in your diet, a divorce, a yoga retreat, or (yes, sometimes) a medication. But there’s no way around the problem, the only way is through, and the only person who can walk through that door is you. Isn’t that empowering?!

You often praise holistic healing methods as a way to deal with stress and anxiety. With so much going on in the world and many people spending way more time at home, how do you suggest people incorporate meditative practices into their daily routine?

Meditation has many facets, and when I found that out, it was a huge relief! Some days meditation means sitting in silence, watching my thoughts go by. Other days, my mind will not cooperate, and there’s no use in resisting, so meditation is dancing with my eyes closed for as long as I want or can, or doing yoga, or some sort of conscious movement like walking. Mediation is whatever gets you out of your head and into your body, and the only person that will know what works for you, is you. What you need will be different every day, so asking, “what do I need today?” is a very important daily habit that I recommend to everybody!

© OSVALDO PONTON
© Joe Holtricher

With 14 Kids Choice Award nominations under your belt, it’s clear that you have quite an influence on today’s youth! What do you think is the importance of using your platform to inspire positive change?

Nina Simone once said, “… An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

I am, more so than a ‘public figure,’ an artist and a human. I do feel the need to “reflect the times,” and my way of being of service is by sharing my truth with respect, honesty, and kindness, to the best of my capacity. More than inspiring positive change, what’s crucial to me is to make my audience, especially younger people, question themselves, their choices, what other people are telling them, and how they interact with their world. To me, the trigger to my better choices, my own evolution, has and will always be questioning my old beliefs. In that way, my message is not for everybody and, also, not “positive” for all. And that’s okay. Especially in these rapidly changing times.

Your motto is “Change the world, one good choice at a time.” Can you share what this means to you?

It means that we are constantly creating the world we live in, with every thought we think, words we speak, and actions we take. And if I focus on myself and not on everything that’s wrong with the world and everybody else, I can actually create change. When I stopped blaming politicians, leaders, and external factors on the state of my life and the world, that’s when I got to work. And the results I have found in my personal life have been wonderful. It means I choose to put the focus on myself and how I can create change.

What is one good choice that everyone can make to improve the world around them?

Question everything. And then question some more.

Look for your own truth, LIVE your own truth, instead of repeating anybody else’s.

And while searching and finding your truth, enjoy the process. Life IS joy, and experiencing it makes the world a better place.

To catch up on Maria’s blog posts and shop her Dos Gatos line, visit TheFaria.Online

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