In a society full of copycats, it’s refreshing to see people whether on their own or in business, stand up and take a stand for individuality, for uniqueness, for self. Tastemakers is dedicated to introducing the individuals and businesses who not only have an influence on society, but who are doing it as themselves, without apology, and in their own way. To those who make the mold rather than try to squeeze into one that currently exists, and to whom at the same time we cannot help but to be inspired and influenced by.
I think as creative vessels, we can only be who and what we were meant to be, by truly being ourselves.
FlyDuo: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Mel: I’d like to think of myself as a super creative, and a free spirit. I’m pretty much at the point in my life where I am willing to at least try to bring to life every desire of my heart, and not limit myself in any way.
FlyDuo: How would you describe your personal style?
Mel: I would say freeing. My style kinda flows with my mood or how I’m feeling…it can be really plain and simple…yet it still comes out looking and feeling eclectic on me for some reason. I tend to make whatever kind of accessories or ideas I see in my head. I get inspired by absolutely any and everything. There aren’t many limitations… I rarely iron, I don’t care about matching lol… I mix and match pieces a lot. Most of the time the weather - and whether or not it’s gonna be cold wherever I’m going to be - dictates how I’m gonna dress that day, lol.
FlyDuo: How important is individuality to you, both personally and professionally?
Mel: I think it is extremely important….BUT, it should not be contrived or forced. I think as creative vessels, we can only be who and what we were meant to be, by truly being ourselves. Not trying to dress or look cool, or trying to be different to stand out and get attention… but just by being. What feels and looks good to you? What do you stand for and believe in? What’s comfortable for you…what comes natural to you without you even having to try?
I want to inspire and activate the light in people…. and the easiest way for me to do that is to genuinely be myself and walk in my authentic truth.
FlyDuo: How has being authentically unique benefited you professionally?
Mel: I work in a field where there are a million other amazing artists who can do exactly what I do and some even better. But there will never be another artist that gives you the same experience I give, because our spirits, presence, aura, energy, and our connection to people will always be different. Being my authentic self with no ill intentions, selfish or ulterior motives, me marching to the beat of my own drum, being humble and kind…resourceful and selfless…. all of these things have more so paved the way for how far I have come in my career than my actual talent of doing make up. Although… I am quite good at doing make up, lol - so that helps.
FlyDuo: What inspires and/or motivates you to remain authentic and stay true to self?
Mel: The greater purpose, that I know has been placed over my life. I want to fulfill my mission in this lifetime, and I don’t want money, fame, celebrity, greed, selfishness, or ego to keep me from doing so. I constantly remind myself that it’s not about me… and it’s so much bigger than me. None of the accomplishments or accolades go to my head, because I understand that none of the gifts I possess are for me. Working with celebs does not make me feel like I’m worthy or better than.
My purpose makes me feel worthy. I am a vessel… I was given these visions and this talent to make a way for myself, so that I could pour into people, so that WE could create change. I believe I am an empath and a healer… whether its through beauty… music… or just a mere casual interaction ...I want to inspire and activate the light in people…. and the easiest way for me to do that is to genuinely be myself and walk in my authentic truth.
You gotta know and fully believe in your purpose, because that faith and that passion is going to be fuel.
FlyDuo: We love how contagiously (is that a word? Lol) comfortable you are in your own skin - how would you encourage others to love the skin/body they’re in?
Mel: I would say this… and I hope it makes sense…because this theory really changed things for me, because my perspective on so many things changed by exploring this. “The only way out is IN…” I really had to be still… and spend a lot of time with myself reevaluating my life, purpose, fears, friends, insecurities, hardships, and more. And I forced myself to dig deep…ask why… go into those places our ego won’t allow us to go.
I learned to hold myself accountable for some of my own strife and hardships. I learned that it’s just easier not to have to “try” to be anything or any way. I asked myself why? a lot… about my wants, desires, purchases and more. I was checking to see where my intentions lied…and if I wanted or desired certain things for “the wrong reasons” - was I overcompensating for some insecurity? ...Could I feel confident without x, y, z? ...I searched long and hard.
I realized I people pleased too much and had a fear of saying no even when I didn’t want to do something, or knew it would put me in a bind by doing it. I realized I did too much unnecessary self sacrificing for [stupid] reasons when I knew better…. I realized some of those things, fears, and self sacrifices were not me being my true self…so I knew I had to change. It is like a deep cleansing to go in…. looking for that way out, to just be free. But it’s worth it.
You gotta know and fully believe in your purpose, because that faith and that passion is going to be fuel. You can’t be out here aimlessly living…. you are here for a reason…once you know that and get comfortable with that…. you’re gonna start listening to YOUR spirit more… the outside influences will soon die out… more of your true self will start to be shown… pretty soon… you’ll be soaring!!!
FlyDuo: How does it feel to be considered a Tastemaker?
Mel: Lol, it’s kind of bittersweet actually. You ever been doing something for the longest… like everything being a tastemaker embodies, you have been naturally doing and being your whole life… then all of a sudden when x, y, z, says your a tastemaker ... you’re considered a tastemaker lol… but you’ve BEEN a tastemaker your whole life lol… idk ... y’all probably like, she’s going off the deep end, lol. But I’ve always found things like this funny and it happens so much in our culture especially, so it’s no ones fault, lol… I just wonder what the tastemakers are called before they are recognized by the rest of the world as a tastemaker.
FlyDuo: To that I would say, we tastemakers have always recognized each other as such. And the world? They recognize it too, even if they don’t point it out. Us deciding to put a spotlight on an amazing group of women, is just that, a spotlight. Label aside, you may have always been who you are today, but I’m fairly certain that not everyone has had the honor of meeting you! ;)
Mel: Honestly…I think it’s pretty freaking epic to be recognized as a tastemaker ... even if you are one at home in your bedroom and no one knows it, lol. For people to know it, share it, honor it, and more importantly be inspired by it is truly something special!
FlyDuo: Lastly, if you could give your style a name of it’s own, what would it be, and why?
Mel: HippieChikLifestyle. It’s absolutely perfect for me!! I’m so in love with my whole Hippie Chik / HippieChikLifestyle brand, because it really is something that is the pure essence of me. It’s based off of my personal style and aesthetic, I make one-of-a-kind unique jewelry designs, I travel, I do make up, I curate live music shows and other incredible events and experiences. I blog, I curate playlists and music, I write about food, my day, and things that have inspired me. It’s the brand that represents me and my lifestyle the most. It’s effortless style, effortless art, effortless creativity… and it’s endless, because it evolves and changes as I do. There is no box to fit in… and it is all encompassing.
Everything ties in beautifully the way it does naturally in my everyday life…. and for that… I am so thankful. I feel like every woman could literally relate to #HippieChikLifestyle and I’m working on getting the brand out there more so I can find my tribe all over the world!!
Are you or someone you know a Tastemaker? We wanna hear from you!