This is Maria Webb. She is a creative and talented soul–writer, musician, photographer–truly inspiring! I loved photographing and observing her playing the myriad of instruments she owns. Maria is warm and kind with a very welcoming and gentle spirit. I could tell from the little bit of time that we spent together that Maria has a big heart and a love for people. Enjoy her interview!
Please tell us a little bit about you…
I was born and raised here in Charlottesville and am currently the Public Relations Director for a local non-profit. I also own a photography business, teach and play music, and I’m also a writer! Writing helps me articulate the things on my heart and mind that are difficult to process, and music helps me express the things that I can not put into words. In everything I do, I definitely see myself as a story-teller. Ioften see deep spiritual meaning in ordinary, commonplace things. I love getting to know people and hearing about their stories and passions. I’m a big believer in re-reading books and re-watching movies—especially the classics.
us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
her: I had a fruit salad for breakfast.
us: Does pineapple belong on pizza?
her: While I don’t think pineapple necessarily belongs on pizza, I do feel like it is a welcome guest.
us: Do you sleep in your socks?
her: Nope, I generally avoid wearing socks as much as possible.
us: What’s your go-to midnight snack?
her: Hmmm, probably chips and salsa!
us: Mountains or beach?
her: Mountains! Its my dream to re-enact the iconic scene of Maria singing “The Sound of Music” in the mountains. And the ocean freaks me out, so I’m not a huge beach person.
us: Current favorite song?
her: At the moment, my favorite song is Bittersweet by Lianne La Havas. Her jazzy, soulful vibe is so good!
us: Salty or sweet?
us: Pet peeve?
her: I get so frustrated when people drive under the speed limit in the left lane or when people speed up when I’m trying to pass them!
us: Room entrance song:
her: I was just listening to Billie Jean by Michael Jackson and that really pumped me up, but generally I have to go with “Maria Maria” by Santana.
us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
her: I went to Maine last year and I absolutely loved it! We got to stay at this house on a beautiful lake and it was so peaceful. But, I also haven’t been on a plane yet, so I know there are so many places I have yet to experience!
us: What’s your favorite room in your house?
her: I really love the living room in my apartment. When the sun sets on a clear day, the room fills with golden sunlight and its so beautiful!
us: Who has been the most influential woman in your life?
her: My mom is definitely the most influential women in my life. She homeschooled me and my siblings growing up, and while that had its difficulties, I now have a huge appreciation for the time that she invested in our lives. And in the last few years she has started publishing her books and it has been really inspiring to see her pursue this dream she has had for so long.
us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
her: Probably graduating from college. Growing up, I did not have a heart for academics, and I really struggled with my grades. So, my junior year in high school I told my parents that I wouldn’t be going to college. Instead, I interned for Paladin Media Group and started my photography business. After a couple years,I felt led to pursue my higher education. I applied to a university but I didn’t get in. However, I still felt like I was supposed to go to college so I enrolled in PVCC and ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Visual and Performing Arts degree, and a specialization in music. I proved to myself that I could excel in college which was huge for my confidence, but I feel that the real accomplishment was not allowing fear or rejection to stop me from pursuing my education.
us: If you could give your younger self a single piece of advice, what would it be?
her: I would tell myself to trust the people that God placed in my life and to allow them into my struggles. I would also say that its okay to not be perfect, and needing the help and support of others isn’t weak.
us: Can you tell me about a challenge that you’ve overcome?
her: Sharing any of my creative endeavors has always been super scary for me. When I was a child, I was a dancer; I trained in tap, ballet, jazz, and hip-hop. When I was a teenager, I stopped dancing because I became very self-conscious and I had withdrawn into myself. I then started pursuing music and writing poetry, but I never told anyone that I did that. When I got Instagram, I slowly started sharing some of my poems and I would play the drums for my youth group worship band. Now, as an adult, I have a fantastic community of creatives around me who have done so much to encourage me to continue sharing my art. And now, the young adults ministry I lead does seasonal “Share Nights” where we all come together and share our latest creations, so its been nice to give others the opportunity to also share their talents!
us: Favorite Quote?
her: “All that they knew was, that [the Bible] spoke of a glory to be revealed, – a wondrous something yet to come, wherein their soul rejoiced, yet knew not why, and though it be not so in the physical, yet in moral science that which cannot be understood is not always profitless. For the soul awakens, a trembling stranger between two dim eternities,—the eternal past, the eternal future.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe)
us: Where do you find your inspiration?
her: I’m inspired by pretty much anything…light, art, nature, music…but God is my main source of inspiration. After all, He sent His Son here to experience the world through human eyes, so I try to see the world through His eyes.
us: Any embarrassing nicknames we should know about? her: My dad had multiple nicknames for me, including “Spunky Brewster” based off of the main character from the 80s sitcom “Punky Brewster”. I also gave myself the nickname “Miss Superior”, but that did not go over as well with my siblings.
us: Any hidden talents we should know about?
I’ve heard that I make small talk enjoyable. Over the years, I’ve learned how to change the normal question of “What do you do?” to “What’s your life like?” or “What do you love to do?” I’ve found that it gives people the freedom to share about the parts of their lives that they want to, instead of concentrating on vocation, and it really helps people open up!
us: What are you most thankful for?
her: I am super thankful for my family and my community of friends! For awhile, I really struggled being a young, single person in this area, but my community has been huge in helping me feel supported and loved. And its really nice having a group of people to do life with.
us: What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
her: Probably the restaurants! The food options here are endless and even though I’ve
lived here my whole life, I still find places that I haven’t tried before.
Quarantine Specific Additions:
us: Tell us one lesson you’ve learned during your quarantine experience?
her: I really need to set more boundaries in my life. Before quarantine, I would have something to do every evening and weekend. Living that way just really isn’t sustainable for me. I realized that I had been avoiding the silence because I knew that I would no longer be able to ignore the soul issues I’ve been struggling with. But its worth it for the peace and rest that comes from isolation.
us: Favorite show to binge watch?
her: My roommate had me watch White Collar for the first time, and I absolutely loved it!
us: Favorite local business to support during quarantine?
her: Barbie’s Burrito Barn! Barbie makes delicious Cali-Mexican food.
us: Have you taken on new hobbies or discovered a new talent during this time indoors?
her: My friend gave me their banjo, so I’ve been teaching myself and watching a lot of youtube tutorials!
us: What is one thing you can’t live without right now?
her: Does all of Trader Joe’s count? I shop there religiously, and its worth every second of waiting in line to get in.
Thank you for sharing Maria!