Miami Living Magazine

Catherine Zeta-Jones

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Page 143 of 197

It's a Thursday afternoon and Maria Gabriela de Faria and I are chatting about the #10yearchallenge —the craze sweeping social media where people are encouraged to share pictures of themselves 10 years apart. However, the #10yearchallenge looks a bit different for the Venezuelan actress. "I just posted actually, but it wasn't about myself —it was two very different images of the polar ice caps and just how much our environment has been affected." The caption reads: "According to recent studies, we have only 10 years before we cause irreparable damage to our planet. We must act now, change our lifestyles drastically, and hold ourselves accountable, not only our leaders." Maria is vegan, an advocate for sustainable fashion, and is active in animal rescue organization volunteer work (she received Nickelodeon's Bombillo Award for her efforts in 2016). Now, she is starring in the new SyFy series, Deadly Class (which premiered on January 16), as Maria Salazar. An adaptation of the popular comic book series, executive produced by the Russo brothers, the show follows a group of students enrolled at King's Dominion, a San Francisco high school in the 1980s, as they train to become assassins for crime families. The series also stars Lana Condor (To All The Boys I've Loved Before), Benjamin Wadsworth (Teen Wolf), and Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange). In her native Latin America, the Venezuelan actress is well known for her role as Franky Andrade in the international hit Spanish language series, Yo Soy Franky and as Zaita in Season Two of Fox Telecolombia's period drama, Sitiados. Her other roles include, Juana in the RTI/ Televisa series, La Virgen de la Calle (the basis for the U.S. hit show, Jane the Virgin) and her first starring role as Isa in Nickelodeon's global hit, Isa TKM (dubbed the Latin American High School Musical), which resulted in an army of Maria Gabriela de Faria fans called "Isa- Maina" — coined by The Los Angeles Times. Deadly Class is her first big break in America, and it almost didn't happen. "My agent really wanted me to audition but I was already planning to film a movie in Venezuela, so I was very focused on that. I turned down the interview the first time and I kept saying no. It was my fiancé [actor Christian McGaffney] who convinced me to do it. When I auditioned, it just felt really close to my heart. And then I got the call saying that I got the role when I'd gone back to Venezuela to shoot, so I flew to the United States the next day."

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