Autostraddle Calendar Girls 2014: Maria is Miss April

Sometimes, SOMETIMES you can’t cover your face with smokin’ hot lesbians. When this happens why not cover your walls with them instead!? That’s where the 2014 Autostraddle calendar comes in! If you haven’t picked up the 2013 calendar yet, you should probs get right on that — they’re now available in our store for only $12! For 2014 prepare to have your mind blown, among other things.

Maria is Miss April



Greetings, world! I am a restless soul with a knack for books, clothes, happy hours, bowties, booty popping on the dancefloor, good whiskey, Lana del Rey, and beautiful women. My name is Maria and people know me as the outlandish girl with the fun hair, the fun clothes, and the fun-sized stature. I find comfort in doing things that make me (and others around me) uncomfortable and anything that gets my blood pumping. Flying airplanes, jumping out of them, getting frostbite during brutal 12 mile obstacle courses… count me in!

My tattoos are my babies! All, except for one, are based on my love for science/evolution/evolutionary psychology/evolutionary biology/physical anthropology. My side piece is a quote that says “In the end, we’re all just a bunch of wild animals” with scratch marks going through it to remind myself that we are not superior to the other species we coexist with.

My most prominent piece is the custom red ink damask pattern on my arm. It represents the red queen hypothesis, an evolutionary hypothesis about sex and the evolution of human nature. It is also named after the Red Queen in the Alice in Wonderland tales. The red damask pattern is surrounding a red and gold crown with a DNA strand emerging out of in on my inner arm. It is my pride and joy!

Lastly, I have an 11:11 in white ink on my left hand. I’m afraid I can’t tell you the story behind that one! My best friend has a matching one done in black ink on her right hand and we are the only two people in the world that know the meaning behind it.

Next up on my tattoo wishlist: an extravagant peacock because they are the universal symbol of sexual selection, and something super gay because… I’m kind of a lesbian.


Get to Know Maria

Where are you from?

I was born in the Philippines but moved to Los Angeles when I was one and grew up there. For the last four and a half years, I’ve been living in the beautiful beach city of Santa Barbara, CA with my gay pitbull, Rocco.


I am an HIV test counselor for the Pacific Pride Foundation. PPF specializes in providing services to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community of Santa Barbara county. At night, you can find me tending bar at a quirky little nightclub called Wildcat Lounge (aka the Shitty Kitty). We host Santa Barbara’s premiere gay club night every Sunday so if you’re in the area, stop by for a drink! Recently, a friend of mine and I have started hosting G-Spot, a hot, SEXY dance night for ladies and ladies who love ladies every last Sunday of the month at Wildcat Lounge. I’d love to see some of you there! We decided to band together to create an event that specifically catered to the large queer women population in Santa Barbara because for the last year, queer women specific gatherings have been nearly nonexistent here.

I graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara (Gaucho class of ’12, baby!) where I studied Psychology, Anthropology, and Applied Psychology. Studying evolutionary psychology and physical anthropology, more specifically, the evolution of human sexual nature, is what I am passionate about. If you have any thoughts on monogamy, polygamy, and polyamory, I’d LOVE to chat with you!!

I am also extremely passionate about being a sexual health educator and eventually becoming a sex therapist. Teaching others about sex and helping normalize it is what I want to focus my career on. I am usually the friend who brings up topics like cunnilingus or vibrators to the dinner table or the go-to friend for my friends who don’t know what to buy at the sex store. Sex shouldn’t be taboo and deemed as illicit, it should be embraced! SEX, SEX, SEX! It’s a natural instinct!

Random fact: Did you know that bonobos are considered one of the most peaceful species on earth? They rarely engage in any physical altercations because they resolve their conflicts with consensual sex. Sex is used not only for procreation, but for recreational purposes and to relieve any tension within members of the group. Maybe we can learn a little somethin’ somethin’ from our close primate relatives * winkwink *! Just sayin’… J

Why did you want to be part of this project?

I am an only child, a first generation Filipino-American, and somewhat of the “black sheep” in our traditional, conservative, Catholic family. As a gay atheist with tattoos trying to pursue a career in sex therapy, I think I turned out to be the complete opposite of what my family expected of me. Yes, this definitely made coming out extremely fucking difficult. After many, many years, I am still currently in the process.

I wanted to be part of this project to be a voice for those “black sheeps” out there. If you are feeling like a black sheep, I say, dye your wool a rainbow, put on your craziest outfit, and strut your stuff! This community of ours is larger than it seems and we will find you, accept you, and love the sh*t outta you.

Autostraddle has helped empower myself as a lesbian. I’ve never had close, queer female friends, only acquaintances, so I felt I never had an outlet for my lesbian voice. When I stumbled across Autostraddle, it became an outlet for my lesbian-ness. Now I have Autostraddle to thank for helping me acquire actual lesbian friends too, ha! I love everything that Autostraddle stands for and to all of the people behind it, thank you from the bottom of my queer heart for allowing me to take part in this project, for being amazing…and for being so damn sexy!!!

Cheers, queers!


Artist’s Statement from Robin Roemer:

I want to start off by saying I wish I had a few weeks to photograph each of our 130 applicants, because they were all beautiful and inspiring! We are honored so many of you wanted to participate and we hope, at some point, we can work with each one of you. I mean that most sincerely.

This year we went through our applicants based on the survey first, the photos sent in to me had little to do with who our final picks were. We chose based on answers to a variety of questions. We wanted people who really had a sense of what the project was all about, were readers of Autostraddle, and were involved in their communities at home. We wanted women bursting with energy and love. Second, we wanted to represent our incredibly diverse our community: beauties of all different shapes and styles and backgrounds and gender expressions. Finally we found ourselves with 13 models, its 2013 now so twelve just wouldn’t do, who we feel represent some of the most brilliant our readership has to offer. I hope each of you, especially those of you who applied and were not chosen this year, enjoy this year’s calendar.

Co-created by Robin Roemer and Sara Medd
Photographed by Robin Roemer
Wardrobe styling by Sara Medd
Hair by Taylor Stevenson
Make-up by Marla Verdugo
Line Production, Location Scouting and Catering: Sarah Croce
Design, Location Scouting, Production assistant: Alex Vega
Lighting Assistant: Kamila Baker
Production Assistant: Christina Bly
Puppy Wrangler: Mollie Thomas

Special Note: As of December 2010, we request that the comments on Calendar Girls posts, unlike every other post on this site, be exclusively positive and remain on-topic. These posts exist to celebrate women, so any  criticisms of the model, her appearance or the appearance of the Calendar Girls as a whole will be deleted. Furthermore, any direct questions/concerns about the project in general can be directed to robin at autostraddle dot com!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Robin specializes in entertainment, lifestyle and portrait photography. She's also a Creative Producer, Director of Photography and co-owner of Scheme Machine Studios LLC, her production company based in Los Angeles. Robin loves shooting for TV and film and has worked with media companies like Legendary Pictures and Viacom. She shot and directed the Pride campaign for Google called #ThisIsFamily. Robin has had the pleasure of working on national campaigns for companies like Dove and Levis, and had the unique opportunity to shoot for non-profits and initiatives such as The Black List, Save the Children, Move to End Violence, Have a Hart Day, and The Clinton Global Initiative. She is most proud of the work she has done with organizations such as The Ad Council and RAINN working on national impact campaigns. Her celebrity roster includes Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The B-52s, Keri Hilson, JB Smoove, Tegan and Sara, Margaret Cho, The B-52’s, Andreja Pejic, and many more. She was there for Autostraddle’s birth and proudly served as A-Camp co-director for many years.

Robin has written 82 articles for us.


  1. The Black Sheep part was beautiful, thank you.
    And the photos are gorgeous, really!! (I had to determinedly hover the mouse over them to admire for a bit longer)

  2. “I am usually the friend who brings up topics like cunnilingus or vibrators to the dinner table or the go-to friend for my friends who don’t know what to buy at the sex store. Sex shouldn’t be taboo and deemed as illicit, it should be embraced! SEX, SEX, SEX! It’s a natural instinct!”

    THIS. This is me, in a nutshell.

    Maria – you are a babe, a righteous human, and a radical queer black sheep. Keep being awesome!

  3. Another “black sheep” chiming in. Also, I love to talk about sex. And death. Death and sex – they are very much intertwined!

    • Yeah, it’s super awesome, like one of the best tatts I have ever seen.

      I’d love to see the white ink tattoo, I want to get one, but I hear they don’t always turn out so well.

  4. I check the time only to frequently see 11:11. Your tattoo meaning is probs way more cool… But the 11:11 digital clock thing is such a Thing. Kinda creepy. Hmm… Maybe I should intentionally wait until 11:11 to post this just for drama… Nvrmnd.

  5. I think I’m in love.

    Also, I really want to talk to you about the evolution of sexual nature. When I was a freshwoman taking English Composition 2, I tried to write a paper about the history of sexuality (but it rapidly exceeded the 7 page limit). As an English major, almost everything I write is psychoanalytical, so sex, sex, sex is my life’s fascination too! So we should talk! Please friend me :)


    Also, as one of Maria’s lezbros I’d like to let you know: She’s gonna be at Dinah. ;)

  7. I am so in love with your red damask tattoo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a damask tattoo so well done. Very stunning. You know, in addition to the stunning rest of you.

  8. The Red Queen is exquisite. It makes me wish I had the pain tolerance for a tattoo.

  9. I knew you were Filipin@!
    (I’m part and you look so much like my sister… that’s weird cause you’re pretty although, not saying she isn’t but…)
    Anyway, sorry to focus on your race but, it’s cool seeing/hearing about queer/lesbian non-white folks. (Which this site actually does a lot)

  10. Woah! We have so many similarities. I too am an only child from an Asian and conservative Catholic family, and they consider me the black sheep. And I went to school in the Central Coast and am currently studying Psychology!

    Maria, you’re awesome! :)

  11. i was also had at “all my tattoos are based on my love for science/evolution/evolutionary psychology/evolutionary biology/physical anthropology”

    also the cute glasses shouldn’t go unacknowledged

  12. This is perfect. She is perfect. Thank you for for featuring a more diverse calendar this year. ^_^

  13. oh hey, I want to be a sex therapist as well! How are you planning on getting certified? Also, your tattoos are gorgeous.

  14. Just bought my first calendar :) so excited! Can’t wait to buy next years.

    International postage is $$ though!

  15. What an incredible young lady! It’s interesting I should read this now because I realised this long weekend that I often get judged more for being atheist than I do for being gay. But I never let it make me feel I must hide any of these two aspects. Seeing someone else be just as proud of who they are is so encouraging. Props to you xx

  16. Nooooo why did I have to find out about G-Spot THE DAY AFTER it happened! How am I ever going to wait a whole month for the next one??

  17. Nice tats! And the glasses, too!
    Fil-Am’s (or Filipinas who are actually in the PI) – represent! ^__^

  18. Aaah. One more inch cut-off those shorts and we’d be on a different website altogether :D


      I’ll strap my phone to my booty and have you on Facetime the whole weekend ;) I love you and I miss you! Uhh…when are you going to “look at more schools”?

  19. I waited until all the colours went back to normal before commenting, haha!

    You are so incredibly beautiful, your tattoos are fantastic and I love how awesomely enthusiastic you are about everything you do! Also I really really like your glasses :D They are very specsy!

    • Specsy! Ha! That gave me a chuckle. Thank you :) Sadly, the glasses are no more. The remnants are scattered somewhere in the streets of Hollywood. (Rest In Pieces, glasses). They have been replaced by even specsier better ones though! Hehe

  20. Simply the sexiest chICK I Know And LOVE! Get In Line BOys And Girls, ShEs All mine.

  21. You’re truly an inspiration and your photos are absolutely gorgeous! By far the MOST interesting and badass calendar girl I’ve read about, and I’m not just say that. Haha. I dig your wingspan. Can’t wait to see you Sunday at Dinah Shore :}

  22. Whyyyyyyy am I only finding out about G-Spot NOW? I feel like I’ve been seriously missing out.

    …and yes, I do realize how that sounds out of context.

  23. Finally. “black sheep” I’ve been finding the exact word to describe my place in my very Catholic family. I can deeply relate to this.

  24. Love the tattoos, I am having a few wines I have just broken up after 23 years I feel like hanging myself, just a bit lost but I am sure it will get better.

  25. Your tatts are amazing. Like, some of the best I have ever seen, they just suit you so well. Congratulations on being smoking and awesome and then embellishing with some seriously smoking and awesome body art.

  26. Thanks for making my month, what a beautiful woman, with beautiful words and tatoos too <3

  27. Good God you’re gorgeous. And hilarious! :D And I love those tattoos. >.< But you made me so curious about the 11:11 tattoo! Damn.

  28. THAT RED DAMASK TATTOO. Where did you get it done? I’ve been lusting after a particular tattoo pattern with that colour (henna red) for years now but fear of needles + lack of funds + people not knowing how to do tatts on dark skin have stopped me. Tehre may be hope yet!

    • I got it done at Zulu Tattoo in Los Angeles by an artist named Misha. I went specifically to her because she does damask patterns well. The dark skin thing was an issue for me too because I tend to get very tan during the summer months but she helped me choose the appropriate shade of red. She’s straightforward and certainly knows her stuff! I’d highly recommend her if you’re looking for an artist :) She’s pricier than most, but she’s worth it!

  29. UMMMMM YOU LIVE IN SB TOO??? Love the shitty kitty, but sundays are rough when you work monday morning. I’m totally gonna try to make it to g-spot on 4/28 though.

    Also, can we be friends IRL? All of my queer lady friends in town are 1. much older mentor types or 2. much younger mentee types. I need some peers to get into trouble with!

  30. Gorgeous! I love the anthro/biology-related tattoos. They’re such a cool idea!

    Thanks for doing this shoot!

  31. Maria!
    Its blows my mind how much we have in common, I majored in neuro-psychology and health sciences making sure I took every evolution-based course my school had to offer. While I am not as forthcoming with bringing up sexual topics, once they are brought up I don’t mind jumping right in. I completely agree with you on your stance on human sexuality and the idea that us humans are equal to all other species on earth.
    As for tattoos, I dont have any (yetttt) but I have a pinterest folder FULL of tattoo ideas that are extremely similar to your arm piece and have always said id love to do a red or brown over black.
    I am first generation Cuban-American-Canadian (dual citizenship wooo) so I also struggle with my family’s heavy Catholic beliefs. I have only just recently come out to myself, let alone many others (or my family) and have been feeling a bit isolated lately, so It’s nice to read about someone so great as yourself who is so different yet so similar.

    Anyhoo cheers and keep that good stuff going :)

    PS: you are a total babe!

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