We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Mercedes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
A few years ago after my mother’s passing, I was in a very dark place. I was healing myself after one of the greatest tragedies in my life. I began listening and studying Brene Brown. I was in my bedroom watching Oprah’s super soul Sunday when I heard her quote Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech…

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
I remember exactly how I felt when I heard the speech for the first time.  It jolted me like a lightning bolt.  My eyes wallowed up with tears because it was exactly what I didn’t know I needed to hear.  It set me free.  I think at times as humans we can get in our head, we sometimes allow the negative words and opinions of others to get to us.  This quote felt like a lucky totem, a gift from God to help me navigate through life reminding me:
  • Victory and failure are inseparable.
  • A winner has to be able to endure hardship and tribulations.
  • To win you must fail several times.
  • Once you have failure, you will no longer fear it.
  • Failures and your humbleness will keep you from becoming the critic.
  • No matter how hard the loss, Victory will come again.
  • People will talk about you and criticize you without knowing how/why you have made the choices you have. But it doesn’t matter.
The man in the arena is for everyone who has chosen to live their own lives on their own terms, anyone who has overcome struggle, and anyone who has had to shut out the critics.
Because of this speech, Melissa Mercedes was born.
Cheers to the blood sweat and tears, and to everyone who is living as the “Man in the Arena.”

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What sets MM apart from other brands is our desire to make sure women feel beautiful and sexy inside and out no matter your size.  We typically dress women any where from a size 8-28.  I cant stress enough how many times women have come to me to thank me since other designers simply don’t cater to the plus size/curvy demographic.  As a curvy woman myself, I understand the struggle of not finding a stylish, sexy, well made gown for important events.  This brand was a made for women who are curvy, plus size, and I intend on making sure I have at least one garment that would cater to each body type.  I also use my platform on social media to inspire women with quotes I find that might speak to me or I think women need to hear.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s such a tough question because California is filled with so many gems! I’ve had such a wonderful time exploring since I’ve moved from NYC!  Some of my favorite spots include Runyon for the views and adrenaline, Malibu Farms for food, Malibu Wine Safari for the drinks, and Matador Beach for incredible pictures in a cave!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Shoutout is dedicated to my biggest inspiration in my life.  My mother.  A woman who fought so hard for her happiness.  A woman who was optimistic no matter the struggle,  She was a woman of faith. Kind, humble, and noble.  She escaped the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001. In the building when the plane hit on the 78th floor, she ran down the stairs, crossing the Brooklyn bridge barefoot while reciting the Bible verse Psalm 23.  Mom, thank you for being the kind of mother who tucked us in every night with a kiss.  Thank you for giving us the kind of tough love we needed and the sweet love that warmed our soul.  I miss you every second.

Website: www.melissa-mercedes.com
Instagram: @melissamercedesofficial
Linkedin: Melissa Mercedes
Twitter: themmercedes
Facebook: Melissa Mercedes

Image Credits
Photo for First picture: taken by @maximillivn Second Photo: Left to right- @therealkelseyrose, @melissamercedesofficial, @arissa_le_brock

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