I am a transgender woman who transitioned in 2015 from male to female.I was brought up in Auckland where I was bullied as a child and always felt different from other children. I started dressing as female as a teenager and when I moved to Melbourne, Australia I began to go out more like a female and living as one outside work.In my journey of transition from male to woman in the last couple of years I have faced many challenges, however, have managed to overcome them. I have gotten a gender identity policy introduced at Melbourne's premier racing club - The Victoria Racing Club and also Melbourne Racing Club where none existed before. I have also done several interviews in the media and through social media on how to make the workplace more inclusive for transgender people. I was recently a finalist for a Victorian LGBTI person of the year.I have managed to raise a lot of awareness in a short space of time around gender identity which will make it easier for future generations of transgender people. I have had people come up to me in the street or at supermarkets who recognise me from social media thanking me for the work I am doing. This is what drives me to continue to do the work I do and been on Studio 10 on Channel 10 in Australia on 18/10/2017 has further helped raise awareness around issues transgender people face when I commented on the AFL's decision not to allow a transgender woman to partake in the national draft for the Australian Women's Football League.I would like to do some modelling and be featured in mainstream magazines like yours and others like Vogue to show the world that transgender people are beautiful people and like everyone else.
Melissa, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
My passion and aspiration in life are to raise awareness on gender identity, start a foundation to educate employers on gender identity and to speak regularly on stage about gender identity and to be on TV as well. I did some modelling getting photos done for me and also have had photos done of me as part of interviews I have done. I would like to pursue modelling.
Who is your inspiration in life Melissa? How do you keep inspired?
Tracey Spicer who used to be in the media inspires me. I keep inspired by all the positive feedback I get from people when I have spoken on stage and in the street of how I am making a positive effect on the world and making a difference in the world.
We all make mistakes Melissa; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Model; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
Not done a lot as model however when had some photos taken for one of my interviews made mistake of only having one dress with me so not able to change into others to get different looks.
Melissa, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Model, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
You need to build relationships with your clients to figure out what they want and are looking for. Then you can work out what their needs are and figure out how you can help meet their needs. Then you can work out the best way to meet your client's needs. You need to work out when your clients' need our services so you can prioritise clients' needs.
Please tell us, Melissa, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
I prioritise my work by what is needed first and what the client needs.
Melissa, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
I had managed to persuade someone to see things my way when I spoke to a group of psychologists. I was able to talk to them about gender identity and explain it in a way they understood. I was able to answer all their questions about gender identity which they didn't know about or understand. I was able to get them to understand why it is important for me to start a foundation to educate employers on gender identity.
Melissa, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Model. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
Proudest moment is getting nominated as a finalist for a Victorian LGBTI person of the year award.
Melissa, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I have had to be creative all year with my work raising awareness and raising my profile around gender identity on social media by sharing my story however also doing it in a way that people understand. I have had to be creative in the posts I put on LinkedIn and Facebook to raise my profile and awareness on gender identity and how to make the workplace more inclusive for transgender people.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
Be confident, know yourself well. Know your limits and when to say no. Learn to take care of yourself. Remember that true beauty comes from within and that no amount of makeup or plastic surgery will ever make you look super beautiful forever. Instead, focus on your strengths and how you can be more naturally beautiful so that your true beauty shines through.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes, I am. I am looking for magazines that want to feature me as a model and also organisations like Revlon that would like to have me as a paid Ambassador.