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

Hi Miguel, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
At the beginning of my career, I was so passionate to become an artist that I built my entire life to serve my professional development and work. I was studying performing arts half of the day and rehearsing, auditioning, working, and exercising the other half. As I started working professionally in the industry, it only worsened. I was completely focused on my career. It’s very rewarding to hustle and achieve your goals but my intentions started to pivot after some time, and soon enough I was focused on the wrong things. I was paying too much attention to how I was perceived by others or truly focused on external things that aren’t essential to the soul or the craft of telling stories. Being an artist has many layers of complexity and difficulty, it certainly demands you to sacrifice and take many risks. So it’s crucial to know what are you willing to sacrifice and what not. With time, I learned that my personal life needed to be prioritized. That’s where I started to find happiness and peace within myself and never looked back. Boundaries are really healthy for me and it reflects in the process of writing stories. Being happy in my personal life and working on relationships that nourish me allow me to be the best version of my self at my job and my profession. And I also treat myself with kindness. I spoil myself with my favorite activities, my favorite drink, a walk, journaling, whatever makes me feel joy.
My group of friends is also very diverse, in that way I ensure that I’m not living in a bubble and experience points of view that make me more aware. I think of balance as not having to feel like I’m over-sacrificing, otherwise, I’ll grow resentful. Balance brings me back to alignment and allows me to keep doing what I love the most, which is writing and telling stories.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I lived in Mexico City for 5 years and worked hard to achieve most of the goals I had in mind, but I felt as if I was missing something and couldn’t quite know what it was. I moved to L.A., 6 years ago trying to learn who I really was, what I cared about, and searching for my inner happiness mostly. It was my self-discovery time. As soon as I got to LA, reality slapped me in the face. I soon learned that getting a working visa was way more important than I thought so. A year and many thousands of dollars later, I got it and started working but still, something wasn’t fully clicking, and felt out of place with the industry’s culture and biases. Most of the castings I’d get were stereotypical and flat. It was very discouraging with time. My accent was always an issue for people in the industry. I attended the UCLA Writing Program and discover that I was meant to write my stories and create my own worlds where everybody would fit in. I finally felt in place. Writing stories empowers me. I’m not asking anybody for permission to write and writing I’m as unapologetic as I can be. I changed careers but kept doing what’s been rooted in me all along: stories. I wrote, directed, and produced my first short film, Valiente and I consider that a success because I’m creating art with a purpose, the story resonated with the right people and I had the privilege to learn and developed my craft. I value development and process more than aiming for perfection. I think perfection in the arts can be a weapon. Artists need a space to explore, fail, and learn. Ideally, we should grow with the art we made. I can now say I know who I am and what I care about. In my stories, I usually dissect family dynamics, talk about Queer issues, the immigrant experience, and explore coming-of-age stories because I like to reimagine what my life could’ve been if I was allowed to be fully myself. Moving to another country, learning English on the go, juggle random jobs to support your dreams is one of the biggest risks I’ve taken, but it’s where I’ve grown and learned the most. It’s never been easy but passion is a great force that drives people’s lives and I’m glad to be able to cultivate my passions.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Korea town is a great neighborhood full of great food and ambience as well, besides I love the Korean and Latine culture mix. The Broad and the Getty Museum are my favorite museums followed by The Hammer. Palms Thai is one of my favorite restaurants to eat at nowadays. My best friend was here last month and I took her to dance yo WeHo and also went to Cumbiaton, a very inclusive Latinx event where you can go for drinks, dance, or buy art and clothes directly from artists. Funny I say this but I’d take them outside Hollywood as much as I can. Riding a bike or walking through Santa Monica/Venice beach is a lovely ride. The Last Bookstore in Downtown used to be one of my favorite places when I moved to LA. If you’re celebrating a birthday go to Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu, their chocolate cake is huge and delicious. The San Pedro fish market is one of my favorite places to get away from the city.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am without my brother Gustavo, we’ve supported each other at our lowest times allowing each other to thrive while things get better. My best friend Franco has been my therapist and if he’d charge me for it, I’d need to get a loan to pay him back. My partner has been so supportive of my career and dreams. My instructor Zac Hug whom I met at UCLA has offered his support ever since. My writer’s group has kept me accountable to finish all my scripts. Outfest has supported and embraced me as a filmmaker. The BIPOC Queer community is an example of excellence who’s taught me to be resilient. It’s a long list!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miguelmeloq/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miguelmeloq/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiguelMeloQ

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