Name: Melinda Mann Rivera
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Chanel Rene
MUA: Cassie Lyons
Hairstylist: Tasha Dorsey
When did you realize you wanted to model?
Interesting, it didn’t really hit me that it was an option until a few years ago. I used to read Mode Magazine but never considered I could actually do something like that myself. I had always been called “photogenic” and loved taking photos since I was a little girl, not to mention dress up, makeup, fashion, etc. And then one day a few years ago I just realized there wasn’t any real reason I shouldn’t be able to put all those loves together and model myself.
I miss Mode Magazine. Mode is one of those things that many of us didn’t appreciate until it was gone. Once you decided that you wanted to model, what was your first step in making that dream a reality?
I do designer nails–and have worked with a lot of photographers, MUAs, etc.–many of whom owed me favors from previous work we’d done together. So I got a group of them together–a photographer, hair stylist, and makeup artist–and set up a date to shoot. I had been doing research about other models for months–poses, outfits, facial expressions, etc.
I had a very specific idea in mind of the looks I wanted. We shot for hours, I must have done at least 5 or 6 looks–and I got enough good shots to start a model mayhem page and sign up for the Plus Model Directory. It’s so funny because now that I’ve done more professional shoots I laugh and how that photographer basically gave me a disc right on the spot of the photos, not a bit of retouching, and those were some of my favorite pics ever.
Speaking of MUA’s and Photographers. Who are some of your favorites?
Again, some of the first people I worked with gave me some of the best shots I had in my portfolio. Maybe it was beginners luck. I love Artemis–she is just great at what she does and has a great vibe about her–she puts the whole set at ease. Photographer-wise, Nadirah B and Erika Seress did a great job of capturing my “essence” as they say. For hair, her name is Tasha Dorsey and she is AMAZING. She is based out of LA and can do pretty much anything.
Speaking of hair. I noticed you recently changed your look up a bit. How important is it for a model or any woman to change up her look?
The funny thing is I’ve always been one to change my look up frequently, but I’ve been nervous about doing so because of the modeling. I’ve been wanting to cut it for awhile, and I just couldn’t hold out anymore so I went ahead and chopped it off. It turns out a lot of people in the modeling world really like the cut, so it was a good move.
I think some women tend to stay with what’s safe for them–what they know works. And that makes sense to some extent. But life is short, and there are so many choices out in there in terms of hair cuts, color, and overall style. The style mavens I respect the most are the one’s who are constantly reinventing themselves. As models, I think it’s important to set yourself apart and I noticed there were definitely already a few long haired brunettes doing plus work so I went for a kind of classic/modern bob instead.