By Tina Huang
Passion: powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. Maria Zuniga has plenty of this feeling. Even as a toddler, it was evident what her pursuit would be.
Now a senior in high school, she is more determined then ever.
“I want to do what I love for a living. I have wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. I believe that as long as I am acting I will be fine,” Zuniga said. “It won’t matter where I am, what I have, nothing else will matter if I’m doing what I love.”
Passion for has helped Zuniga advance in her acting career and it appears that she will gradually keep climbing the ladder towards stardom.
For a 17-year-old, Zuniga has accumilated quite a record: Poetry Out Loud State Champion, representative for Texas in Washington D.C., roles in six school plays, countless awards from speech/debate, a participant in New York University’s rigorous and prestigious four week drama course during the summer, and even a couple of professional bookings.
Even as a young child, she had a stong inclination for acting. Zuniga’s parent’s saw this quality early in her childhood.
“Her mother and I knew we were in trouble very early,” father Roberto Zuniga said. “When she was 3 years old, she received a Snow White costume for Christmas—I remember it clearly—we were at my mother’s house and there was this one big tree, not a Christmas tree, but a large tree, and the minute Maria put the costume on, she was acting. She was doing the scene where Snow White was trying to get out of the forest with that one tree all by herself.”
She has not stopped acting since.
Even though the entertainment industry we all see is the glitz and the glamour, Maria very well knows this is not so.
“She knows it will be a struggle. It’ll be hard, but she’s set on it. She gives it her all every time. She’s probably never done anything half way in her life,” senior Mallory Osigian said.
Maria has dedicated countless hours towards her passion starting at a young age. After moving from Mexico to the United States at age 10, she quickly found an outlet for the actress within: Cathryn Sullivan’s Acting Studio.
Sullivan has been Maria’s acting teacher for seven years now and when asked about Sullivan, her eyes light with admiration and gratitude.
“[Sullivan was] the first person to open up my eyes about my career, the possibility of it being a career,” Maria said. “She is the one who has taught me everything in acting; I learned from her I had to become the character, not act the character.”
And even as strong as Maria’s personality is, it seems it is not strong enough to disrupt her even stronger acting abilities.
“Shes just so advanced in her acting, it’s almost methodical. She can completely take on her character. She is just so thorough,” Osigan said. “She’s not the most versatile, but if she can do it, she does it so well that no one else can touch it.”
Maria continues to work on her passion and even though she is associated with such an industry where image is a huge deal, she won’t let any negative aspects of the industry get to her. Even though most people would be excited to tell others what professionals jobs they have done, Zuniga is incredibly humble about it. When asked what bookings she has attained, Maria replies that she would rather not talk about it.
“Buy your ticket now, because we’re going to have to watch her one day,” fine arts/speech teacher, Maleda Kunkel said.