Good morning and Happy Monday!
Today on my “Behind the Magic” series, I interview Houston’s “First Impression Expert”. She’s a Stylist and an Image Consultant who has created her niche and has made a name for herself, with clients in multiple cities. Interestingly, despite her job in the fashion and image industry, she states that she rarely takes pictures. Also apart from the art of making her clients look and feel good, she has mastered the art of maintaining authenticity while enhancing your image. Continue to read below and get a better insight on this brilliant woman behind Surreal Corporate Image Consulting.
- Describe your company? What’s your mission? Why is image so important?
My name is Maria Suriel and the name of my company is Surreal Corporate Image Consulting. I work as an image consultant for corporations, their employees, and executives in high power roles to help those in need appear, behave and communicate like leaders. I help my clients build their confidence so they can be more productive, engaging and powerful leaders and employees.
My mission is to help and teach others how to visually highlight and showcase their best assets by the way they look, behave, and communicate.
- What was your inspiration? How did you get into image consulting?
My inspiration started from the world of high-fashion and dressing well in my late teens. My love for the art in high fashion brought forth my career in personal styling. This was later followed by a transition into corporate image consulting. In my early adulthood, when I started putting effort into my appearance, the way I felt about myself suddenly changed. I developed confidence. I believe confidence to be the most important trait that goes into the image of success. Confidence can be achieved when someone chooses to start visually expressing the best parts of themselves. They start to love themselves and others around them notice. I believe it can radically change relationships, not only in someone’s personal life, but also in the relationship between leaders and employees.
- Which is more important, Passion or Purpose?
I believe with passion a purpose can be made.
- Share some info of your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Nova Southeastern University and I’m about to start working on a Master’s in PR at Webster University. Also, I have certifications in Menswear and Corporate Image Consulting, as well as a Life Coaching certification.
- What’s your favorite thing to do? Hobbies and why?
My favorite thing to do is nothing. I love to sit around with my dog and do nothing! Hobby-wise I like to read, dine out, and as soon as my schedule gets a little more manageable I’ll resume my flying lessons!!
- Where are you from? What city do you live in and what’s your favorite thing about the city?
I was born in the Dominican Republic but raised in Miami from a very young age. I left Miami four years ago and since then have lived in Philadelphia, St Louis, and now Houston for the last 2.5 years.
I love miami because my family is there and I like Houston because it’s a big city yet still liveable like a town. I also love the diversity.
- Where’s your favorite place to go and why?
My mom’s house when I visit Miami because I miss her!
- Tell us more about you personally. What do you want people to know?
I have a genuine love for people and I’m very easy going. I want people to know that I’m a nice and friendly person.
Also I have an 11 year old male hairless Chinese Crested dog named Baby, but he’s also known as Norman Bates.
- Can you describe your personal style in 3 words?
Elegant, loosely coordinated.
- What’s your go to outfit of the day and why?
Loose, flowy pants and a button-down shirt with high heels! And a beautiful handbag.
- What’s your favorite type of clothes and accessory?
I love dresses. I love the feeling and look of femininity. Regarding accessories, my statement piece is usually a nice handbag.
- If you could raid someone’s closet or go shopping with someone, who would it be?
- Favorite fashion trend of all time and why?
High-waisted, long, flowy pants.
- Favorite clothing designer?
I have constantly changing favorites but right now for high fashion it’s Johanna Ortiz and Elie Saab. For ready to wear I love BCBG MaxAzria.
- Share what a typical day looks like. What’s the most fun part of your day?
Currently I have personal styling clients I service virtually and am growing my business in the corporate industry in Houston. My days vary greatly from each other but on a busy day I can have a meeting with a client in the morning, work out in the afternoon, then spend the rest of my day at home working on admin or at a networking event.
But the most fun part of my day is the morning. I love having the mornings to myself, to center myself and plan.
- Last book you read? What type of music do you listen to?
The last book I read was the Tao of Pooh. I’m reading a few right now. I listen to all types of music, but mainly alternative mellow house music – I don’t know the name of the genre.
- What’s the first thing you do when you have an idea?
I write it down!! Then I analyze what I must do and the steps I must take to bring my idea to life.
- What does creativity mean to you and what’s your creative process?
To me, creativity is the ability to express the feelings I am not able to put into words in a visual manner. This is why dressing, clothes, and appearance are so important to me. I also paint to aid in my creative expression.
- What advice will you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Go for it! Get organized and start now!
- Favorite food and drink?
I love sushi and sparkling water (with or without tequila.) lol…
- Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life? If not how did you figure it out?
No I didn’t always know, but my career came about when I started truly living. Feeling good turned into my passion and I made it into a career and used that to help people.
- Any advice for people who are struggling with finding their passion or career paths?
Be patient, you will find it eventually, just enjoy the ride.
- How long did it take you to create your business, from getting the idea to launching it?
It progressed slowly, about 5-7 months.
- What have been some of your challenges as a business owner and how did you deal with it?
Owning a business takes a lot of planning and organizing, and takes far more time than I initially thought. Because of this my biggest challenge has been time management and sticking to a set schedule, but by keeping a detailed calendar I can better plan my days out and make sure there’s time for admin work.
- Share something new you’re working on? Are there any upcoming events? Future goals?
I’m working on my career as a professional speaker and am considering conducting trainings, so right now I am working on a speech and program to be able to do just that!
- Who will you like to work with?
I’d love to do work with airline corporations and in the aviation industry!
- Who inspires you? Do you have any mentors and are you a mentor to others?
My parents inspire me to be the best I can be.
- Money or happiness?
- What does success in life mean to you? What does It look like?
To me success in life means having all the things I want and living comfortably. It means being able to do the things I want to do, when I want to do them.
- So what can’t you do?
I can’t eat mushrooms.
- What’s your biggest fear?
Death by torture and black ice.
- Person you’d like to have a drink with?
- What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned within the last year? Any regrets?
The most significant thing I’ve learned and realized is that success is mainly about daily persistence. Even if it’s only a simple task, do something every day that helps you get one step closer to your goal.
No regrets other than time wasted.
- How do you give back in your community and how do you want to be remembered?
I volunteer at Dress for Success and give back to the community through them. I want to be remembered as a source of inspiration for those who need help gaining confidence and being the best versions of themselves that they can be!
- How can people contact and follow you?
Learn more about me:
Email: [email protected]
Please follow me on:
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariasuriel/