Growing up in a prestigious political family would be daunting for anyone, but Maria Shriver says her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver never placed focus on her children’s looks.

“I would really emphasize being smart,” Shriver said during a Q&A for her new HBO documentary “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert.”

“People would come up to me when I was 16 and would say, ‘Oh you’re so pretty.’ My mother would say, ‘Your looks are gonna go — concentrate on your brain!’ 

maria shriver

Maria with mother Eunice in 1990

“Luckily, there is so much more emphasis today. . .on being financially smart,” the 58-year-old continued.

Shriver certainly listened to her mother’s advice, graduating from Georgetown University in 1977 and beginning a successful career as a broadcast journalist.

In 2009, the mother-of-four started The Shriver Report, a nonprofit media initiative that informs, inspires and imagines new ways forward for women and men.

She serves as executive producer on the new HBO documentary, which follows the daily challenges of a single mother. The film is now available to watch at