Maria Mora

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Q&A

L+A: How did you get into journalism and digital media?

I’ve always been very passionate about music and I knew, or thought, it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I decided to pursue audio engineering in college, which is where my obsession with everything digital came about, and that was in the era of myspace, Facebook, and Tumblr. That was the birth of the internet for me.

Although I went to school for audio engineering, things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and nor were they how I expected them to be. The industry at the time felt very intimidating for a woman especially for a female sound engineer, because there weren't too many women who worked with major artists. So for me it was very uncomfortable and too much for me to handle. One day I literally asked myself “what am I good at? What skills do I have? What else can I do to make money?” Now, even though at that time I had amateur experience, I thought what if I start writing for people? I had a couple of friends who were starting their own music blogs I told them let me write for you for free. That was about 5-6 years ago, and I’ve been building my journalism writing portfolio ever since. Eventually I moved to New York and I was freelancing doing different gigs here and there; I told myself “you’re going to get something, something is going to stick for you”. Building up my portfolio is how I got to work with blogs like MISSBISH, Hypebae, and Finish-line.

L+A: How did you get into working for MISSBISH?

I’m obsessed with DJ Jasmine Solano, and I saw that she did an interview with MISSBISH. I checked out their site and to my surprise they were brand new, like maybe less than a year old; So I decided to reach out to them and send them samples of my work. That’s where it really began for me with MISSBISH. I had the opportunity to meet and connect with some amazing people, go to a lot of events, etc. It was a really good opportunity, but like many things you get to a point where you need change and take on a different challenge.

L+A: What inspired your piece on “appropriation in street wear”?

When I saw the sneaker shopping interview with Bella Hadid, it felt like nails on a chalkboard. It was the cherry on top of everything that is gross about appropriation. What inspired this piece was not only the interview but these celebrities  all of a sudden into wearing sneakers, which on one end,  its cool because we're seeing brands like Nike and adidas expand their  Demographic. What was most aggravating to see was that we  witnessed someone with a huge plateau speak on something she has little to no knowledge of. We're seeing a lot of celebrities claim this culture as theirs, when at the end of the day, they don't really give a shit about it. They pretend to be down  with the movement because it's become a trend but are they really down? 

L+A: Do you feel WOC are finally getting their praise for our contribution to streetwear and sneaker culture?

Kind of, but I also want to see more of it. I personally feel like 2017 brought everything to the forefront. It sucks that we have to see all this cultural appropriation going on where non w.o.c. are wearing certain brands just for likes on Instagram without really understanding the meaning behind it. Put us on your campaigns, get more black and brown bloggers to model your apparel. I definitely feel like as  w.o.c we’re more aware and pushing these brands to now be more authentic  and cater to us because at the end of the day we’re their main consumers. 

L+A: What’s the best part of Journalism?

Learning. Doing extensive research on an interview subject, reading, shedding light on  topics that aren't being discussed -- soaking up this information excites me because  eventually, I get better at what I'm aiming to do. I’ve been very fortunate to sit with so  many amazing women in the industry, and being able to take something away from  each of them is a great feeling. It helps me to put a lot of things into perspective for myself as well.

L+A: What would you say is the hardest things you’ve had to deal with or hear as a creative?

The editing process can be a little intimidating. With writing, there's always going to be  room for improvement and there's several ways to get your point across. Sometimes, you'll get intense feedback on a piece you've worked on for hours and you'll feel shitty lol. But I  honestly think that's how you improve. It's all a matter of being able to take criticism,  learning from it and moving on.

The second hardest thing I would say is finding my voice, and I'm still in the process of that. As a creative, you should aim to evolve year after year. Sometimes I come across these  challenges when I hit a creative block and i’m like I don't know what to say or how to say it. I also feel like it’s so easy to compare your work to someone else's. That's why it's  important to stay grounded and true to yourself. 

L+A: You recently did and article on mental health, what’s something you do to stay sane?

One way for me is working out. Doing things like yoga, meditation, and giving myself that alone time to recharge and practice self-love are ways that help tremendously. 

L+A: How do you stay true to yourself?

A big part of staying true to myself is making sure I'm in constant communication with my family and friends. Especially my mom, she always keeps it real with me and will definitely keep me on my toes and tell me when  I'm slipping up, and you need that sometimes.

L+A: Would you say you’ve had any difficulties being a WOC within your career path?

I would say I've felt it more in a corporate setting like working a 9-5. Many corporations  lack diversity and that presents itself as a challenge when you're trying to navigate that space.

L+A: Do you ever feel uninspired?

Funny because I'm currently going through that and for me I'm trying to figure out how to get myself out of this funk. Because more often than not I'm not able to focus solely on my writing due to working, amongst other things.

One thing that helps me get out of a creative rut it going to museums, reading magazines, reading other people’s works, as well as looking at topics that I wouldn’t necessarily talk about but get another perspective other than my own. YouTube. Lastly I would say listening to music; different genres to get my  juices flowing. 

L+A:  What would be a dream project or person/company to do a piece on?

Definitely Nike, I want to pitch to them some of my campaign ideas focusing on women, and coming up with different concepts on how many ways to  market a product.

L+A: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Definitely being independent and working for myself. My friends and I started this blog called thebathroombreak. We’re preparing for our launch within the next month. Without giving too much away, think of a public  bathroom you’ve been in when you’re by yourself or with your home girl and you  hear other women having interesting conversations, or the moment you gravitate  towards a stranger and become cool just because.

We want to create a safe space for us to come together and talk about taboo topics. 

L+A: What’s advice would you give young girls who are interesting in doing things like digital media, and journalism?

Focus on finding your voice. It’s so important because a lot of these platforms will try to twist your words and when they're done with it, it’s not what you said. Don’t let anyone distract you from your goals. Do your homework and study! study! study! Study the people that came before you and everything around you. 

“Know your shit because not only will they have more respect for you, you work will be 10x stronger overall”

L+A: What’s the best advice you’ve received from a woman?

The best advice I would say is to not compare yourself to another person. In womanhood, we have habit of comparing one another and that’s been going on for decades. Really be confident in who you are and constantly remind yourself why you are that bitch. It so easy to fall into that trap due to social media because it's shoved in your face and you see all these people living fabricated lives. Stay true to yourself and remember that there's only one you.