Spotlight Series: Meet Maria

Hey! My name is Maria Perez and I am a third-year Advertising major at The University of Texas at Austin. I enjoy drawing, reading, playing video games, and cooking. However, I am a creative

at heart and hope to become a Creative Director someday! Whether I accomplish that at an ad agency, a startup, in the entertainment industry, or as a freelancer doesn't matter to me. I just want to use my creative abilities to tell meaningful stories!

I've come a long way on my hair journey. I have 3C hair but I did not really know how to manage it. I also felt insecure as someone who grew up in a place where everyone had straight blonde hair. As a result, I spent most of my childhood straightening my hair weekly or biweekly. That changed once I got to high school and began to navigate social media spaces where so many beautiful people were embracing their natural curls! I was about 17 when I decided to embrace my own curls and I haven't looked back since! I chopped off all the heat damage, started from scratch, and with the help of my mother I began to test products to see which ones would work best for my hair. I cut almost all my hair off right before I started college because I wanted a completely fresh start. I've let it grow out ever since and thanks to regular maintenance and experimenting with protective styles, my hair is the healthiest it's ever been! I couldn't be happier!

I am intentional about regularly scheduling time for myself. I use this time to recharge, reflect, and readjust if necessary. This has definitely been the key to maintaining my sanity lately! I'll turn on my favorite playlists (I love The Internet, Giveon, Still Woozy, Lianne La Havas, and of course Lo-fi Beats To Study and Relax To!), clean my space, put on a deep-conditioning mask, detangle my hair, do my skincare routine, and most importantly rest!

As an introvert, this downtime is crucial to my functioning as a person so I take it very seriously!

If I could only use one hair product forever, it would be the Design Essentials Almond and Avocado Curl Enhancing Mousse. It provides my curls the perfect amount of definition without making my hair crunchy or weighing it down. And it's Black-owned!