Tuesday, July 16, 2019

This past weekend the Miss Florida USA 2015 competition finally became real. It was the first time I spent an entire day meeting all the other contestants, being briefed on competition week etc. and it really  caused me to take a step back and put everything that has happened up until now into perspective.

I’d like to think that my approach in preparing for Miss FL has been pretty laid back and productive. I’ve performed before, been on stage, prepared for important interviews, walked the runway, been involved in TV productions… nothing entirely new. But sitting in a room with all those other girls I couldn’t help but to overhear all of the anxiety and urgency as they chatted about still needing to get this outfit, or tone up that litttleeee tiny spot of “fat” right there. I started to second guess myself- why aren’t I more stressed? I didn’t even know that part of my body could be toned..should I be working on that too? That’s when I stopped my own rambling thoughts in my tracks and had a heart to heart, Mel to Mel.

Walking in my first runway show for fashion week in Quito, Ecuador

Walking in my first runway show, at 16 years old, for fashion week in Quito, Ecuador

My road to the crown  has been invaluable and no matter what the outcome on July 12th – the personal journey I’ve made in the past months is something that has completely changed me down to my core.  I saw such an outpouring of support after winning the title of Miss West Broward USA (earning my spot into Miss Florida USA) I had never expected. I think the “bully” card is a little overplayed lately, but I will say that I did not receive much in the form of positive support from my peers while pursuing my modeling career throughout high school. That experience taught me to not rely on others for validation, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t still hurt wondering why people weren’t happy for me. I’m far removed from my high school days and thought I had moved emotionally past them until I won the crown in February. I received overwhelming support and love from a lot of the same people who had tried to crush my spirit. In that moment I realized in the chaos of growing up, I had never taken the time to forgive and let go of the things said to me by my peers in their young ignorance.


I’m not only in a better place mentally and emotionally, but also physically. Being in the modeling industry has lead, almost inevitably, to a battle over my self image. I wasn’t taking care of myself and was desperately trying to make my body into something it was never meant to be. I never went to any dangerous extremes- but the constant analyzation over what to eat or not eat put me in a constant state of mental stress and anxiety. When I was introduced to Barry’s Bootcamp (I’ll post about them later on- so much love for everyone there!) I was hooked instantly by the workout and the atmosphere. What I didn’t expect, was to get hooked on the Barry’s community. I was, and still am, surrounded by friends there that shifted my focus from the distorted reality of the fashion world to being healthy, fit, and believing that my body’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder- and I am the beholder.

I have never been happier physically, mentally or emotionally. As I get closer to the crazy week of competition I wanted to take a moment to document my completely raw and real epiphany of sorts to remind myself that this road has been more about the journey than the final destination. I’m bringing everything I have to that stage July 12th and no matter what happens, you have played a part in changing my life forever.


  1. Adrian 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm

    Your words are as beautiful as you yourself. You’re going to rock Miss FL!

  2. Kenny 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm

    Great post Mel.

    I really relate to your journey and the initial lack of support. I experienced that in my own journey as well. What I came to realize over time was that when you venture out and chase extraordinary things, it’s difficult for most people to relate. What I initially saw as lack of support, I now see as lack of understanding on their part.

    From modeling, to Miss Broward, to Miss Florida and even your other ventures, it all is out of the realm of what most see as doable. You’re going after your passions and your dreams and that’s awesome! You’re showing others what truly is possible, which I love.

    What I also enjoyed was your transparency in this post. We can all relate to the self doubt. It’s always important to share the triumph and how you overcame, but equally valuable is the fact that there is struggle. Sometimes, at least with what I do, I think people view at times that there is little to no struggle. There is always struggle though and someone reading this, who may look at you and think, she’s got it all and her life is perfect, will now be able to relate and see that we are all human.

    You live in a tough industry. We live in a tough world. As you’ve found with the boot camp, it’s key to surround yourself with the right people. The individuals and groups that are truly “pro” you. That support you not because of what you do, but who you are.

    That’s why I support you. All the best with Miss Florida. Keep inspiring others to live their dreams!

  3. Kamla-Kay 3:17 am at 3:17 am

    Love your post! This industry will certainly make you question your values, self-worth, talent…you name it. The ability to be the beholder, as you put it, is truly the key to appreciating every moment and finding joy through your own version of success. Happy for you, Mel. Xx, Kamla-Kay @modelkamlakay.

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