If you love museums and art, chances are Maria Yoon has your dream job.
As a performance artist, filmmaker, senior museum educator and founder of the recently-launched Private Museum Tours. Maria is a multi-hyphenate trailblazing her own path. With more than 20 years of museum education on her resume, including 17 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in her new business Maria guides individuals, VIP’s and groups through various museums and galleries in the greater New York City area.
“The best part [of my job] is to be surrounded by beautiful things. It never gets old,” Maria says. “Why? Exhibitions change every three months. At a large museum like the Met, they have such a large scale of collections that every day I find something new, and I find beauty in that.”
The last time we interviewed Maria Yoon on I Want Her Job, she had just said her final “I do” as part of her documentary, Maria the Korean Bride, in which Maria had 50 different marriages to 50 different “spouses” (including men, women – and even the Liberty Bell!) in 50 states, to bring greater attention to the cultural pressures and ostracism individuals feel when pressured to tie the knot.
“When I was 30 years old, my dad, I think he panicked … He felt that he didn’t live up to his standard as a father because I was still single. I was alone in his eyes, me – living the life I do as an artist and museum educator was not good enough … ” Maria says. “We began to argue a lot … and then I said, ‘Let me see what I can do to meet you halfway.’ That conversation became a giant documentary film.”
The film received attention from various film festivals, PBS, NBC News, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, Time magazine and even led to an appearance on TLC’s Cake Boss. But, after such acclaim, what comes next?
In episode 11 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Podcast Editor Polina Selyutin speaks with Maria about the deep and unexpected impact her film had on her own life, insight into how the film was made, as well as Maria’s future plans for a documentary about ghosting.
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN TODAY’S SHOW:
- On Her Work: “It gives me a reason to educate myself, to learn more and study. And to know at the end that I actually get paid to study and educate myself … I can’t find any greater joy than that.”
- Lady Luck: The role a winning lottery ticket (and generous friend) had in bringing Maria’s film to life.
- Vegas, Baby!: How Maria found her first “spouse” and then her second … during a trip to Sin City.
- Selecting Stories: Maria was the collector and mediator of stories across 50 states while working to change people’s views on marriage in different ways. She listened to stories of people she met, and learned about cultures and communities across the U.S.
- The Final Wedding: Hear Maria’s heartbreaking story about the last time she said, “I Do” on her 50-state adventure.
- On Early Influences: Maria’s mom, a “poet at heart,” encouraged Maria to follow her interests.
- Lessons Learned: Before launching her next documentary effort, Maria says she’s going to focus more on marketing and funding up front and will aim to get more local artists involved.
- On Fate: When Maria’s mother was pregnant with her, a fortune teller predicted that Maria would be an artist that would travel far.
- Ghost Weddings: Why this topic will be the focus of Maria’s next documentary – and find out what it means!