Even though Santana Maynard grew up in small town USA, she is making a living in the big cities of the country as an influencer with a growing online following.
Maynard grew up in Wayne County and was known around the area not only for her large surname family, but also for performing.
She began her professional life early, having attended Marshall University at the young age of 13. At 19, she graduated with three bachelors degrees in education, criminal justice and Japanese along with a minor in Integrated Science and Biotechnology.
Maynard was a teacher in Wayne County for a few years, but said she always wanted to be an entertainer and felt the push to pursue it as a career.
“Since I was 9 years old, I was singing professionally and even got to open for Brad Paisley,” she said. “After I was able to sustain myself from being an influencer, actor and cosplayer — I quit my teaching position and started going to Los Angeles for work.”
She said she got her start by having an immense amount of support back home to pursue her dreams.
“My family have always been very supportive,” she said. “My grandparents and my mom loved to hear me sing, so they encouraged me to perform when I was young and with their help I got to pursue my dreams.”
Though she began in music, her interests expanded, but one thing was certain: they were firmly planted in the entertainment industry.
Currently, Maynard said her career is “all over the place,” and she classifies herself as an influencer, actress and cosplayer.
“I definitely dabble in social media as an influencer, and have a wonderful following on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok,” she said. “I would not be anywhere without my followers!”
Her motivation for joining the industry stems from wanting to be free creatively.
“I wanted to share my interests with as many people as possible and help distract from the hardships of the world with some fun entertainment,” she said. “My favorite part is making someone light up, particularly making people laugh.”
Maynard said her passion lies in acting among her multi-faceted career.
“I love doing voiceover and making characters come to life. I have voiced characters from ‘The Annoying Orange,’ which used to be on Cartoon Network, several video games and more.”
As a cosplayer, she is able to bring her favorite existing characters to life.
“Bringing my favorite characters to life is so much fun for me and incorporating my cosplays into comedic skits is a great past time,” she said. “I was even featured in the official ‘Rick and Morty’ comic.”
“Rick and Morty” is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network’s nighttime programming block Adult Swim.
It is distributed internationally by Warner Bros. Domestic Television. The series follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his good-hearted but fretful grandson Morty Smith, who split their time between domestic life and interdimensional adventures that take place across an infinite number of realities, often traveling to other planets and dimensions through portals and on Rick’s flying saucer.
It is very popular, even having a specialized drink collaboration recently at Wendy’s.
For her most recent work, Maynard was featured on the “Dr. Phil Show.” The episode was titled “Quiet Quitting,” and Maynard was invited to give her opinion as an influencer on the concept and how it affects the workplace.
She said she has “very interesting” work ahead of her, with participation in a new show coming soon. She was not able to divulge many details due to being under an active nondisclosure agreement, but explained that she is working with some big stars.
“It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had and I’ll get to explain more once the episode releases.”
She added to be on the look-out come January or February.
Fans of AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” could even catch her on the red carpet of this past weekend’s series finale, posing for a group photo featuring show star Norman Reedus.
She said it was a fun experience she will definitely not forget.
As with any job or profession, Maynard said there are always negatives, but at the end of each day she enjoys living her dream.
“The hustle and bustle of trying to get noticed by doing as many auditions as possible. It gets exhausting but I still enjoy it,” she said.
Follow Santana Maynard on Instagram @SantanaMaynard.