She was a descendant of the aristocratic Sturdza family, which held great political power in Moldavia and later Romania.
She initially planned to pursue a career in education, but after graduating from the faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Bucharest, she became interested in acting. She was forbidden from using her family name in the theater by her paternal grandparents, but ignored the order. She made her stage debut in 1898, at the National Theatre Bucharest. In 1914 she started her own private theater company, the Queen Maria Theatre, alongside her husband, Tony Bulandra. In 1947 she joins the newly reopened Municipal Theater in Bucharest and acts as its director until her death in 1961.
After her death, the theater was renamed in her honour and is now known as the Bulandra Theatre.