Born as Maria Victoria Mendoza Lingbanan to Filipino immigrants, Maria is the product of culture and innovation. Her Asian/Pacific Islander/Spanish background mixed with her roots in the eclectic SF Bay Area scene has shaped her to represent ethnic diversity at its best. She was an honor student at the prestigious, Carondelet/De La Salle High School where she excelled in academics, sports, but most especially music, singing concerts at Carnegie Hall and tours around Europe.
It was in college at UC San Diego that Maria discovered her love for acting and SoCal life, as the hypnotizing waves and sunshine made it impossible to ignore. Soon, she made her TV debut on season 2 of AMERICAN IDOL as a Contestant in the Hollywood Round. And eventually she earned her degrees in both Psychology and Theatre.
Upon graduation, Maria worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for pharmaceuticals by day, and by night, was acting in musicals such as South Pacific, Smokey Joe's Cafe, and Cabaret. Before long, Maria accepted her fate to become a full-time actor and moved to Los Angeles where she currently resides.
In her free time, Maria enjoys returning to her roots to visit her family where she has the greatest teachers thus far: her 4 little nephews. She and her entire family are die-hard Bay Area sports fans, so you can often catch them cheering for their Championship teams!
Maria continues to study her craft at the Ovation award-winning theatre of Stuart Rogers' Studios where she also produces and directs plays. Notable credits include Does This Woman Have a Name?, Lynette at 3AM, and Talk To Me Like the Rain.
Maria is also an avid volunteer in the community working with different L.A. Works non-profit projects, Back On My Feet with The Clare Foundation, and St. Monica's outreach opportunities.