2021 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Melanie
“We need to love the skin we’re in and be kinder to ourselves.”
Tell us about yourself, Melanie!
I wear many hats: I am a proud military wife, a singer and performer, a teacher, a cat mom, and a pageant queen! I’ve been married to the love of my life, Clark, for almost 12 years, and together we have lived around the world at bases in Germany, Guam, California, and now in Mississippi. Teaching and performing has been a huge part of my life, as I’ve taught theater and speech communications to students from age 7 to college age. Volunteering my time and talents is also important to me, as I believe it’s important to give back as much as you’re given in life.
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
Growing up, I was never concerned about my appearance. I have always been a friend to anyone and everyone I met. I had many friends and was never drawn to one particular person or group of people. I was recently told that I am very approachable, that my genuine caring disposition to listen and understand makes it easy for people to open up and say what is on their mind.
The inner beauty of a woman is reflected in who that woman is and how that woman acts. It’s not about what the woman looks like, rather the passion and kindness that she exudes. Going through the last several months after meeting a new friend, I’ve reached another peak of my life where happiness, love and gratitude pours from my heart into my daily life. If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself.
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
This has been a lifelong journey. Early in my professional performing career, I dealt with an eating disorder where I constantly felt I had to watch every bite I ate and that I had to excessively exercise to be “acceptable” to the entertainment industry. Even at a size 4, I felt like I wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t until after I had a back injury and went to the other side of the weight spectrum and was 233 lbs. that I began to realize that being a certain size does not fix my problems or guarantee instant happiness. I had to work on the inner me first because I knew that the dieting was superficial and not a solution. I began a blog that celebrated being plus size and happy being where I was. Once I truly felt like I loved myself, I knew getting in better shape would make my body stronger and I would feel better, overall.
At age 50, I began a fitness journey that has been about simply that- getting stronger. I’ve learned to eat the goodies in moderation and feed myself better. As a result, I have dropped 36 lbs during 2021 and even though I’m still considered plus size, I was confident enough to enter a beauty pageant – and won! Then, I won a state title as Elite Mrs. Mississippi. Beauty is NOT a size, it is who we are. We need to love the skin we’re in and be kinder to ourselves.
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
I had SO much fun with Brandi and Brittney! From the moment I walked in, I felt like I could “let go” and just enjoy myself. Brandi is a great collaborator and she had wonderful ideas for poses and outfits. We laughed a lot, too! I left feeling like I made new friends.
It’s such a huge honor to be selected for this project. As an advocate for body positivity and a healthy self image, this project’s mission is dear to my heart. I also am so happy that a variety of women are being represented because we all need to feel seen, no matter the age or size.
Anything else you would like to share?
For anyone who might be on the fence about applying for the Bold Beautiful Perfect project, just go for it!
You are more beautiful than you know!
To book your own fabulous Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.
International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.