Carmen Maria was born in Venezuela into a traditional Spanish Colonial family, in which education, hard work, and giving back were priorities. She began her charity work as a young girl in her church youth program. When Carmen was just 16 years old, just like in a Hollywood movie, she was discovered by the president of the Miss Venezuela pageant. Her beauty and elegance earned her the titles of Miss Venezuela, Miss South America, and Second Runner-Up in the Miss Universe Pageant in 1984. Carmen Maria immediately put her celebrity to use in the service of others and created the foundation “Las Misses” to help pediatric hospitals in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru.
Carmen studied Arts at Universidad Central of Venezuela, and her television career was launched in 1984 when she joined “Buenos Dias Venezuela” on Venevision. She later became the anchorwoman for “Complicidades,” a show comparable to “The View.” As a broadcaster, she also found her voice as a disc jockey and producer, and her career expanded further into Mexico, Panama, and Peru, earning her many awards in the television industry as well as for community service. Her television awards include Woman of the Year, Zulia 1984; Lions Club Award 1985; Uni-Prensa Award 1985; Fundación “Las Granjas Infantiles” 1986; Meridiano de Oro 1987 and 1988; and Aquila de Oro 1988.
In May 1988, Carmen Maria moved to the United States to continue her education. In 1991 she was awarded degrees in Broadcasting and Spanish, Magna Cum Laude, at East Tennessee State University. Proof positive that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive!
Carmen Maria moved to Houston in the summer of 1991, where she began working as a reporter for Telemundo-Houston and worked her way up to news anchorwoman. She went on to cover floods, the 1992 GOP Convention, and developed a health segment. Volunteerism always remained a priority for Carmen, and as a TV personality, she was recognized for her work in the Houston community by the Consulate General of Mexico and The Houston Area Women’s Center. She also lent her voice to the United Way and the Rainforest Foundations.
In 1995, her career took a different path when she became pregnant with her first daughter. She now has three beautiful children: Alexandra Isabel, Carmen Maria, and Juan Diego. Her family is the most important aspect of her life. The education of her children is her top priority. Today, Carmen Maria continues to serve the Houston community through many charitable organizations.
Carmen Maria has been a passionate force in Houston’s Latin American community and is active in the Latin Women Initiative, chairing their luncheon in 2006. In 2008, she chaired the “Gala de las Americas” for the Institute of Hispanic Culture. She has also been active within the Museum of Fine Arts participating on various committees and boards.
She personally organized the Latin Maecenas for the Museum’s Latin American Art Department. She had sat on the Boards of Directors of UNICEF, Virtuosi of Houston, and the Institute of Hispanic Culture, as well as on the Advisory Board of the Latin Women Initiative Carmen Maria has also served on the board of Success Scholarships.
She ran for US Congress, District 29 of Texas in 2018, making it to the Runoff and losing for only 83 votes after winning early voting and election day by 61% and 66%. In each organization she served, she has been recognized for her strong work ethic, and her willingness to “get her hands dirty” and to “get it done!”