Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you?

Maria Canals-Barrera: My children inspire me with their innocence and enormous capacity to love. Beauty inspires me—beauty in nature, people, and art. Smells and fragrances too. I know it sounds weird, but I’m a “fume head.” I’m very olfactory-driven. A good smell puts me in a great mood and even inspires my creativity. I love reading perfume blogs and finding and experiencing new notes and mixing them. I’m really into tuberose, ylang-ylang, tiare, labdanum, coconut aromas, leafy greens, tropical spices, resins, patchouli, and oud.

RP: How do you stay healthy?

MC-B: I stay healthy by dealing with things! Seriously, emotional and spiritual health is most important. I feel there is a lot of unhealthiness when we stuff our feelings out of fear rather than face them and deal with our issues. Doing that for yourself is one of the best gifts you can give your spouse. As far as physical health goes, I try to eat in a balanced way, sleep enough, and stay active.

RP: What is one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life?

MC-B: One of the hardest obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my life was not understanding how to draw healthy boundaries. I finally learned it’s perfectly OK to say no. I tell my girls, “You can say no politely to anyone, and it is not mean to do so.” Understanding what you’re OK with and what you’re not OK with is so important to learn. And those who truly love and respect you will respect your boundaries. I think freeing oneself from codependency and fear is vital for well-being.

RP: What keeps you balanced?

MC-B: I stay balanced by remembering to prioritize. What is most important should never be railroaded by the “tyranny of the urgent.” My relationship with God, my devotion to my husband, my responsibilities to my children, loving others, and, of course, remaining grateful for the blessings that I have. Like getting to do what I love for a living. And trust me, I am.

RP: What projects are you working on?

MC-B: I am playing Daniela on ABC’s comedy Cristela, on Friday nights, and loving every second of it!

Maria Canals-Barrera is on ABC’s Cristela. She has also appeared in the films Larry Crowne, The Master of Disguise, and My Family / Mi Familia.

Photo: Marc Cartwright

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