Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Melanie Martinez: Blogger, Mental Health Advocate, & Graphic Designer

What do you get when you mix Melanie Martinez + style and fashion + a lil’ ice cream on top? You get the lifestyle blog MEL À LA MODE.

By day, Mel is a Marketing Coordinator. But after 5pm, she switches things up by delving further into her interests of blogging, graphic design, and brand consulting. 

MEL À LA MODE is the platform where all of those interests intersect. It’s where Mel gets to be all versions of herself and it’s where she connects with the world, one story at a time.
This NYC born Cuban/Dominican has always had a desire to connect with people; and she’s been doing that since the age of 18. That’s when Mel first started sharing her personal emotions and thoughts via her first blog.
“I wanted to create a platform where I could share odes to the things, culture, and ideas that move me.”
Since then, and various blogs later, Mel started professionally blogging in 2013. A year later, she was nominated for “Top NYC Blogger” at the Latino Trendsetter Awards by LatinTRENDS Magazine.
In the interview below, Mel talks about her love of music, the importance of having a vision, her interest in mental health, and so much more.

Where did your interest in mental health come from?

My interest in mental health activism came about while on a personal journey to rebuild myself. Having suffered from depression and generalized anxiety for most of my life, I decided to break my silence last spring in a Weekly Wisdom blog post. At that point, I had been writing candidly for a few years, but that instance was the first time I really bared my soul. After experiencing waves of gratitude for my honesty on a topic that is so taboo, especially in the Latino community, I realized my voice is a conduit through which awareness could flow.
Read More: Here

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Struggle With Perfection

“Perfect: a seven letter word that shouldn’t exist, because it’s not real.”

The idea of being perfect is something I grew up with. Covering up imperfections was taught to me at a young age and has become the norm. I talked about that here in regards to covering up my imperfect, stretch marked covered calves.

But with age comes comfort and acceptance. As I’m comfortable with the skin I am in –at least I try to be– this ever present battle with acne reminds me that I am not perfect. But if I’m okay with that, why do these pimples still bother me? Why was I offended and brought to tears when the male cashier at the place where I get my eyebrows done suggested I come back for an acne facial. He claimed it would be “beneficial.”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Afro-Panamanian & Proud!

1. Do you remember when you first began using the term Afro-Latina?
I’d never heard of the term Afro-Latina until 2011. My dad sent me an email from one of his friends about a documentary featuring Afro-Latinos discussing being underrepresented in the media. After watching it, I went on to research the term and watch additional videos of the same topic on YouTube. After grasping the concept and realizing the term described me I started referring to myself as such.

2. Why are you proud of being an Afro-Latina?
I am proud of the woman I am and all that encompasses who I am. And being an Afro-Latina is a huge part of that. My Afro-Latina identity has shaped me in so many ways that there is no way I couldn’t be proud. The beauty, complexities, confidence, and strength of my African, West Indian, and Panamanian cultural mixture is what makes me proud.

3. What type of experiences did you have growing up Panamanian in the United States?

While growing up, my parents always did their part to make sure my brother and I knew about our Panamanian culture. Specifically, twice a month my mom and aunts gathered me, my brother, and all my cousins together to learn to dance Típico and learn various things about Panamá. After months of practicing we learned full dance routines and started performing at cultural events. This included wearing traditional Panamanian clothing: Polleras for the girls, Montunos for the boys.

4. What is a special memory from your visits to Panama?

I have so many special memories, but my favorite is from 2004 when we had a family reunion in Panamá. This was the only time that 90% of my mom’s side of the family was all together (even some of my dad’s family attended). This reunion stands out because we got to do so many activities which took us to different parts of Panamá, and also included a boat ride through the Panamá Canal.

Read More: Here

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sometimes I Wish...

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have this drive in me.

Sometimes I wish I could just relax without reviewing my to-do list in my mind.

Sometimes I wish I could be content with working a regular 9-5 job.

Sometimes I wish I could be a party girl.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about living up to my full potential.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t responsible.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t care.