Maria Oliveira

Photography by    Diana Ascarrunz

Photography by Diana Ascarrunz

Tell us about yourself. Include where you’re from, what you do, how you’re thriving and anything else everyone should know about you.

I was born in Brazil but my family immigrated to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. I was undocumented from the age of 11 until I was 18 years old. It was hard and my parents still struggle a lot, even though they moved here for a “better life. I have lived in Miami, Chicago and now live in Austin. I am the co-owner of a vintage shop in Austin called Passport Vintage.

Maria Oliveira

How do you identify culturally?

I am Brazilian but I mostly identify as Latinx.

How does your cultural background inform your thinking and sense of being in the world? How has it informed past decisions, successes, failures?

My family was very poor in Brazil. Public education was not that great there, so I’ve always appreciated the public schools here in the U.S. Although, I do agree that they could improve a lot. I also lived in Brazil for six months when I was 18. I had a full time job that paid very very little so I have a very good grasp of how hard things are in poorer countries.

What inspires you and who do you look up to?

I am inspired by my family and by women like Dolores Huerta who fought for a long time (and still fight) for the rights of Latinx people.

What is your best piece of advice to anyone who may be struggling?

Find a friend to talk to. Even if you just talk about a tv show you like, sometimes getting out of your head is one of the best things you can do.

Maria Oliveira

What are your future goals and aspirations?

What I am most passionate about is my involvement with local nonprofit Jolt. Jolt is organizing to build up the power of the Latinx community in Texas.

Share one thing people should know about the Latinx community?

Ugh, I feel like it needs to start with step 1: not every woman is, or sounds, like Sofia Vergara.

What is your favorite Latinx driven project and why is it your favorite?

I love Selva Beat magazine, which was founded by Magdalena Antuña.

Where can people find you on the internet?