Earlier this year we featured Venezuelan actress Maria Gabriela De Faria’s story of failure and perseverance on our popular series, Faceplant. We caught up with Maria to see how she’s been dealing with this year, learn about her new entrepreneurial projects, and most importantly talk about her relationship with money and the growing pains along the way in managing it. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and spend frivolously, however, as Maria shares, she learned through her mistakes and is getting better at making smarter financial decisions.
LM: It takes true bravery to share our struggles and failures. Why did you feel compelled to share your story on Faceplant?
MGF: I decided to share my story because I believe that everything you keep for yourself owns you and everything you share not only belongs to you but belongs to everybody else too. It’s like sharing the weight of a heavy package. I’ve learned so much by listening to other people’s experiences that I can’t keep my own discoveries and pieces of wisdom for myself. Every person, every story, every life has a purpose and a meaning, and we can all learn from other people’s perspectives and ideas. That’s why diversity and having an open mind is so important!
LM: You talk about when you worked on a show in Colombia, spending all of your income while filming, and then having a moment of panic when it came time to pay bills. I can relate! If you could give any advice to your younger self now on money management, what would it be?
MGF: My advice would be to regularly check your [bank] account! Haha
I never did that, and it sounds silly and pretty basic, but it wasn’t to me. I was afraid of looking at it because I knew that the way I was spending wasn’t smart and my bank account would reflect that. But it is easier to live in “la-la land” and turn a blind eye to things, or realities that make us uncomfortable, so that’s what I did.
Honestly, however, my financial advice to my younger self would be to not be afraid to see what you don’t want to see. Waking up to reality and facing your fears is the only way to overcome them. Just because we deny something doesn’t mean it stops existing.
LM: How have you personally been impacted by COVID as an actress this year?
MGF: Mmm…my career is very unstable, so while most people were freaking out because they couldn’t work, I, as an artist, am more comfortable with the unknown as this has been all I’ve known my whole life! To be honest, I wasn’t affected much. I took the opportunity to launch my own business: my sustainable t-shirt collection, inspired by my cats and designed by me. It wasn’t easy, and I had to work my butt off, but I decided it was the opportunity to work on something that was solely mine. I also took this year as an opportunity to slow down, to reflect, to ask questions, to decide where I want to go next, and to put myself behind the wheel of my life. I guess it could go either way, but to me, 2020 has been an amazing year of looking within and finding answers to questions I never thought I could ask myself. It’s been the year of my personal revolution of consciousness.
LM: What are your financial aspirations moving into 2021?
MGF: There are still a bunch of things I’m not clear about when it comes to finances. I still find myself unsure of why I have to make certain payments. For example, the when, or why I have to pay that particular insurance, (we can all relate!). So my financial aspirations for 2021 would be to become more educated, more knowledgeable, and of course, to grow my sustainable fashion business which is so important to me.
LM: Why do you think it’s so important right now to educate millennials on financial literacy and saving?
MGF: Because everybody is up to their necks in debt! Especially here in the United States! My parents have never had debt. Generally, I don’t think the debt problem is as big in Latin America as it is in the U.S. And, as you now know, I learned little about debt or finances growing up! Poorly managed finances can easily get any of us into trouble. I think financial education should come from within our home as well as from our own research. More importantly, I think it’s vital to learn to be financially independent because that’s the door to real freedom. Financial independence is freedom to choose where we want to live, what and where to study, even the quality of the water we drink and the food we eat. So [financial independence] is pretty much our whole life!
LM: You were recently married this past year, congratulations! Any quick, smart tips on saving while planning a wedding?
MGF: Yes!! To us, it was very important to find a place that would do everything because when you hire independent vendors, the costs start rising quickly! We found a beautiful, sustainable place in Chile that did everything including the decorations, the food, and the music. They offered amazing packages depending on the number of guests. So, my advice would be to find a place you love that aligns with your values (to us the most important thing was the sustainability of it all) and try not to hire too many different outside vendors as this will save you so much [money] in the long run.