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Viridiana Maldonado

CITY: Houston

ETHNICITY/RACE: Hispanic/ Mexican American

EDUCATION: University of Houston

FAVORITE IG ACCOUNT: Amelia Liana, her travel photos are amazing!

FAVORITE BOOK: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it’s a book based on old Toltec wisdom.  It’s helping me see life in a different prospective.

FAVORITE SONG: Amárrame - Mon Laferte ft. Juanes


WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

"Both of my parents immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream. My father is from Aguascalientes and my mother is from Michoacán, both did not have the opportunity to finish high school.

As the first born in my family I was faced with many obstacles as a child, my first language was Spanish so when I began kindergarten in a all white school. I felt different not because of my ethnicity but because others only spoke English and my English was terrible. When my parents needed someone to translate for them it was always me who helped get the message across. I was so timid that I used to hate translating for my parents.

School was never easy for me. I got so much tutoring during elementary school, that I began to hate it. I did not understand why I had to work harder than most kids. I didn’t understand why my recess was sometimes spent reading instead of playing or why I had to stay after school while others went home. It got to the point where I did not want to wake up for school. I just never looked forward to it.

My mother would always tell me the best inheritance that your father and I can leave you is your education. There was only so much my parents could do to help my brother and I in school but they always instilled in me to push through.

In 2012, I was the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor in Journalism and a minor in Global Business and Spanish. I find it astonishing to look back at my life and realize that everything I went through since I began kinder prepared me to who I am today.

Today, I am a PR Specialist at Lopez Marketing Group where I handle Spanish PR for Ford Motor Company and ironically I translate press releases. I was also the Account Executive for the PR campaign #CHIParaMi with Univision’s Jomari Goyso and CHI Haircare. I currently serve as the Gala chair for the Houston Association for Hispanic Media Professionals, an organization that I have been a member for 11 years and I am also the spokesperson for different events/organizations in the Houston area. I am proof of my parents American dream!"

WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE?

"When I was 8 years old I realized that Journalism/TV was my passion. I used to watch The Oprah Show behind my mother’s back, she would get so mad when she saw me watching the show because it was a show not appropriate for a child my age. Regardless of what my mother said I would always lower the TV volume and watch as much as I could. There was something about Oprah that always caught my attention. The way she spoke, the way she interviewed people, I just felt connected to her. I realized at an early age that I wanted to be part of the voice for my community.  Today my purpose is to simply help others through whatever it is I can offer. I have spoken to students about education, I have helped people get their stories on the news, I have helped fundraise for non-profits, I have feed homeless people in the streets and so on."

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST HARDSHIP YOU'VE FACED?

"The biggest hardship I have faced is losing one of my close friends in a car accident. I was with her the night before her accident and getting that call the next day was life changing."

WHAT'S YOUR CONSTANT MOTIVATION & WHERE DOES IT ROOT FROM?

"My constant motivation is my family. My father came to the US without anything and became an entrepreneur. I always tell myself if my Father didn’t know the language and was always willing to learn why can’t I! My Father is the most hardworking person I know. I want my family to always be proud of me."

WHAT'S SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE WOULDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

"When I was 10 I wanted to be the next Michelle Kwan, so my mother enrolled me in ice skating. That only lasted a year. LOL"

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE?

My mom’s grandmother, I grew up hearing so much about her.