Hey Leggies! We are super excited to be returning our "Beyond the Lens" series where we do Q&A's with your favorite Leg Avenue influencers, models, and photographers! Today we are featuring the beautiful chameleon that is Melissa of @mynamesnotmelissa. We've been eager to share this interview with you so let's get to it!
What inspired you to start modeling?
I always wanted to be a model ever since I was a little girl. Truth be told I wanted to be a singer but I don’t have the voice for it so I started to daydream about being a model in magazines. I’ve always wanted to become someone who is an inspiration and can be a role model for others and use that power to create positive changes in the world.
How long have you been modeling?
I started playing around in front of the camera when I was in high school. My best friends mom was a photographer so we would set up shoots all the time just for fun. That’s when I realized I was super passionate about it and good at it, too.
What type of modeling do you enjoy most and why?
Honestly, my favorite shoots that I do are my “moody” ones that really send a message or tell a story. I think it’s so powerful to create something that informs others, pushes change, or is something people can relate to but don’t have the voice to share. I’m very transparent with my ups and downs in life and I think it’s amazing getting to use my platform and artistry to let others know they aren’t alone and that we’re all going through this crazy thing called life together.
What was the breakthrough moment that made you realize this is what you wanted to pursue?
I’ll never forget the first shoot I did. It was supposed to be a shoot with my sister to surprise my dad for his birthday but she wasn’t able to make it so I just shot alone. There’s this moment when you’re shooting and you see the photographers face light up with excitement after they capture that perfect shot. It’s an intoxicating feeling when you move and pose and the photographer gets a shot that creates this electricity. That’s a feeling I look forward to every shoot.
You have such a unique style, what’s your thought process when you’re putting together a look?
I just try to be myself. I love being different and confident in how I look, no matter what look I’m going for. I tend to try to think of how I can stand out and show off my personality.
We notice you like to work with a handful of photographers, what is your process in deciding who to work with?
I’m definitely loyal to the handful of photographers I shoot with consistently. I think you build relationships with photographers because you create art together and that’s something really personal that you’re sharing with someone else. When I consider working with a new person I try to see what our creative chemistry is like and also ask around to see what the person is like. I love photographers who are professional, creative, timely, and someone I don’t mind spending a lot of time with if we work together often.
What’s your favorite part of working with Leg Avenue?
EVERYTHING. Getting to work with Leg Avenue is such a dream. All of the employees are beyond sweet and let me be myself. It’s a privilege to work with a company that allows me to try my crazy styling with their products. It’s also been a huge honor to be the first tattooed model to shoot for their catalog. Working with Leg Avenue is the best job a girl could ever have.
What’s a typical day in your life?
My days can be all over the place. Some days I’m shooting all day and others I’m just relaxing with my dog and working on my phone. I do spend a lot of time on my phone responding to emails, messages, DMs, and social media. I try breaking those days up with dog walks, going to the gym, or doing something active outside.
What’s a fun fact about you?
A fun fact about me is that Melissa is really my name. Well, my middle name. That’s the most common question I get asked.
Any advice to anyone who wants to pursue a similar career path?
My advice is to stay unapologetically yourself and let that inner beauty shine. People are drawn to those who light up a room and stand out. Building genuine relationships with companies will also get you far. And lastly, stay true to yourself along the way.