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Melinda Mann Rivera: April 2010 Cover Model

Cover Models

Melinda Mann Rivera: April 2010 Cover Model

When you’re not modeling, what do you do for a living?

I’m an artist, a nail designer, and a teacher. I teach art to youth in public schools–show them how to use art as a tool of expression, of their voice, for social change. They choose topics to make their art projects about, and a lot of girls do body image/media/self esteem issues. When I come back the next day I bring them my portfolio and it blows them away that someone that looks like them could be a model. I love my job.

I also do nail art–extravagant, whimsical nails for women in LA and all over–from Erykah Badu to Cassie to Serena Williams to the girl next door. It’s just another way for me to work with women, uplift their spirits, make them feel fly and beautiful–while incorporating the arts which is my first love.  You can check out my blog at HerAndHerNails.com.

Working in L.A. with celebrities do you feel like they are affected by societies views of beauty the way non celebs are?

Of course! I would never want the pressure on me that they have. Everyone has their eyes on them at all times–every hair choice, outfit, donut–it ends up on a blog or gossip magazine. I think we hold celebrities to an unfair standard. They were just that girl behind you in English class, why now are they suddenly supposed to be so perfect? I think part of our issues, as non celebrities, are because we look at them and buy in to the same pressures that they face. But we aren’t celebrities–we are normal people-no stylists, no live-in hair and makeup artists. we have to get dressed all by ourselves everyday and it’s ridiculous for me to compare myself to J-Lo every morning. Living in LA, it’s taken me a long time to realize that fact. I’m just a regular pretty girl–and I can’ t try to be more than that, it’s unhealthy.

Very well said.  Is there anything else you want to share with the readers of Daily Venus Diva?

Just to be really excited about being yourself. I have a few of the most beautiful curvy friends I know, and they often seem so defeated. If you feel beautiful (and I know it can be hard given all the images around), and you act beautiful–people see that.   Being willing to say “You know what, I AM beautiful and I am beautiful enough to model and people will want to look at me in pictures and magazines.” took a lot of guts and self confidence. If you don’t have it for yourself, others definitely won’t give it to you. But we also need to encourage each other, i try to give compliments to women, especially curvy ones, all the time. It makes a huge difference. And that’s why I love Venus Diva–it’s a bunch of curvy women sharing their love and respect for each other on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite exist in the “real” world yet. But we’re working on it.

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