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I, like many I'm sure, have a love/ hate relationship with social media(heavy on the hate, honestly.) But people like Maria give me a reason to to come back. I'm obsessed with her online posts. They are so honest and vulnerable and powerful I find them endlessly inspiring. They add positivity and truth to a world that I can easily get lost in. As an artist she plays with one of my favorite groups in Chicago and everyone else I love loves her and I wanted to know more. Enjoy.

ANDEL SUDIK: How would you like to be described?

MARIA KONOPKEN: A badass, butterfly goddess

AS: Where are you from?

MK: Mesa, Arizona

AS: Where do you live?

MK: Chicago, Illinois

AS: What do you consider home?

MK: Where ever my Kermit the Frog doll lays.

AS: Life story in half a page, GO!

MK: Born in Mesa, Arizona on a rainy Tuesday afternoon to two amazing parents, and then joined by my baby brother, one of the best people in this world, four years later. We lived in the same house until I was 18, and I have only moved four times since. I love dance parties because of my nana. I love storytelling because of my grandpa. I love art because of my mom. And I love sports because of my dad. I am not sure where my hair comes from. My degrees are from Arizona State. I have been living in Chicago for four years, but didn’t see snow until I was 14. Now I’ve seen enough snow to last 8 lifetimes, and kind of still like it. I also don’t drive in it because I am an awful driver. I don’t know how to ride a bike, but can cook so when this all goes downhill, I got skills.

AS: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Why?

MK: Moving to Chicago because it was scary to leave the comforts of home, but I needed to.

AS: What is your biggest failure? And what (if anything) did you learn from it?

MK: I wished I had spoken up more when things made me feel uncomfortable. I think I would have found myself quicker.

AS: Describe your perfect day:

MK: I would go for a morning run, go out to brunch, call my mom, and have a dance party.

AS: How did you get where you are?

MK: I worked so hard. I don’t give myself enough credit, and feel weird talking about it.

AS: What are you most proud of?

MK: That I survived 2017 when I was sure I wasn’t going to.

AS: What is one of your fears?

MK:That I wouldn’t have lived a life that I am proud of.

AS: What keeps you going every day?

MK: My family

AS: Last piece of art that spoke to you?

MK: Rudy Francisco’s poem, To the Girl Who Works at Starbucks, and a letter my friend wrote to me.

AS: Pump up song?

MK: Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G.

AS: What advice would you give to someone who is lost?

MK: Take it one day at a time. If that is too hard, try one hour. If that is too hard, try one minute. If that is too hard just take one moment. You feel alone, but what you are feeling is normal.

AS: Do you have a mantra or words to live by?

MK: Breathe. And now one step more.

AS: What gives you meaning?

MK: Creating art

AS: What do you struggle with?

MK: My inner voice telling me I am not good enough.

AS: What is success to you?

MK: Making the most out of life

AS: What are you working on that you’re geeked out about?

MK: Training for a marathon.

AS: Anything else?

MK: Poetry

AS: What question would you add to this?

MK: What would be your last meal if you knew this was your last day on earth?

From Phylicia Mcleod: What are some self care activities that you do?

MK: Bubble Baths are my jam. I also run, yoga, and yell at bad reality TV.

From Rachel Mason: What teacher changed your life...

MK: Jose Gonzalez. If I hadn’t met him, I wouldn’t be doing improv. Plus he’s one of my favorite humans.

From Heather Kinney Kurdziel: What job career would you have if you could do anything?

MK: Producer and Actress

From Jody Steehler: Ask your best friend: What is their favorite memory of you? What is something you've done that shook them to their core?

MK: From my best friend Surena Marie aka GiGi to my KoKo

1) My favorite memory was running around the airport with you trying to live our best vlogger life on the way to Cincy. We had a hashtag and everything and it was perfect because we ALSO ate Mexican food and did our nails at the airport.

2) So, this may be too deep to share so I'll tell you another in case but the moment I knew you were my sister was when you told me *she who shall not be named* was coming to the MDI show. We weren't as close yet, but you were honest with me even if it felt like it would be something I'd be upset about. Then you listened to my story and BELIEVED me. You made sure I felt heard and safe.

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