We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Gaines and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Angeles City, Philippines (a growing province in the Philippines) to a Filipino mother and African American father. I have been in the United States since the age of 6. I am an only child on my Mother’s side and I do have siblings on my Father’s side. I have slight memories of my early childhood up to age 6, but I do remember having a large family dynamic made up of an abundance of cousins and Aunts and Uncles and a lot of love around me. Being a blended child, times weren’t always “easy” per se. I have memories of ridicule and misunderstanding as I would like to call it. “Judging a book by its cover.” for sure. I definitely learned major lessons growing up in the Philippines, truly a humbling experience. My Daddy (who wasn’t my biological father) was in the Air Force branch of the military and he loved it. He met my mother and they married when I was 1 year old. My biological father was also in the military. Needless to say, I had a family that loved me and was determined to provide a great life for me. Now, English being my second language, I learned when coming into the United States, I truly felt the “judgment” from people, young and old, even at an early age. I learned that many people can be very closed-minded to not only change but culture not their own. Here I was, a child who looked “African American but spoke Kapampangan/Tagalog (both dialects originating in the Philippines). I learned English slowly but once I caught on…..I caught on. Starting grade school was a challenge in the beginning but I have a “star” personality that caused people to gravitate to me, whether they understood me or not. I always wanted to be like Michael Jackson when I grew up and share with the world my talents and make everyone smile. I feel like once I learned English, I haven’t looked back since in regards to speaking my native dialects. I do however understand and will one day teach my children to speak. I truly feel my upbringing had an amazing impact on my life because I’ve learned to be very compassionate and patient as well as open-minded and humbled. Being raised as an only child was very interesting, learning I had siblings during my adolescent years became a fixation for me, and that yearning to meet and learn my siblings to bond was short-lived. Family is very important to me, but I also learned early that everyone is different and so is their acceptance. I grew up alone (only child) basically being my own best friend and confidant. Whereas even as an adult you learn, you are not for everyone and that rejection in life by any person you cross paths within your life should never be a reason to feel that you are not good enough to be in their lives, you just aren’t for everyone. I am a very unique person and I learned that about myself. I thrive on creativity and my heart for those in my world is truly unmatched. I love hard. My parents always taught me to love first until someone shows you they don’t deserve your love. Becoming a Business owner, my personality shines and drives me to bring out the same positive energy from my clients, the values I’ve learned in my life are necessary for my business because the creative process takes patience, an open mind, compassion for others, and their ideas, alongside humbling yourself in the whole experience because the end result isn’t for everyone, it’s all effort and communication….and a vibe. I love what I do, I love the impact it has on my clients as well as myself, I feel the universe is guiding me in the right direction. I am truly blessed and humbled by the opportunities and experiences I have been given. I welcome a 2nd business venture as I share this with you all and look forward to coming back and sharing the success in that as well once it has been introduced.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am the CEO, creator of Naked By Nature, LLC. I enhance the beauty of my clients with individual eyelash extensions. I pride myself on vibes for sure. I love the personal one-on-one time with each client and the end result of seeing my clients seeing their lashes finished. It’s definitely the vibe we have that I love. I am very proud of every step I take to grow my business, it all matters and makes a difference. I can say the challenges that I do face are growing with the industry. There is always something new to learn and a new service that comes to the forefront, but I’m open to learning as much as I can to overcome these challenges and the growth shows to be amazing. I have learned that you can’t please everyone, but you can be a great listener to people’s wants and needs. Even during a session, sometimes people just want to be heard. It’s a moment away from their daily grind and chaos in life. I would love for people to know that this brand is not limited, it is continuously growing and expanding with services and future releases of products and apparel. A one-stop shop you would say with a feel-good vibe. In all humility, we are all human, I never deem to be perfect but I definitely progress to perfect my craft by any means necessary to endorse the best brand I can. Thank you for all your support!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If anyone knows me well, they know I am not one to get out too often. I am a true homebody, but I do love the comforts of my home to host and cater to my guests. I love a home-cooked meal and would prepare a grand meal for an army. I’ll even provide the drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic lol we would definitely make the night a beautiful one. Now, if we were to hit the town, for breakfast or brunch would be either Hash Kitchen or Brunch and Sip, great food and chill atmosphere. The food is delicious! A great spot I have learned to frequent when I can is on Wednesdays at Poetic Soul in downtown Phoenix. It’s a great open-mic style lounge and has the greatest of vibes and talent to come through and bless the stage. The band is amazing and the host is great. Tempe Town Lake is a great daytime and evening scenic spot to check out in Tempe. If you like sports, considering the stadiums are open due to the pandemic precautions, I would check out the Mercury women’s basketball games or Phoenix Suns basketball, or depending on what season it is, we can even check out the Arizona Diamondbacks for a baseball feel.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Whew, where do I begin? LOL Just kidding…I know I would not be able to even speak these words if it wasn’t for higher power energy and my beliefs, I thank God every day and my amazing parents. I have felt their support my whole life and even in the loss of my Daddy in 2010, he continues to guide me and inspire me to keep going and never give up on myself. My children are my drive, Kalina, Jai & Sherry who I swear have taught me more in life than I could ever imagine. Sometimes your children can be your greatest teachers and crazy enough, they are 3 versions of me stomping around on this earth making waves as young entrepreneurs and bosses of their own. I am super proud and honored to be their Mom! My partner in life, in crime, in business, and in love, Theo. Our journey has been a long one full of experiences and beautiful memories and the love never waivers. I’ve never met anyone as unique as him, a true being of purpose. He is amazing in all aspects and drives me to follow my dreams with no hesitation, he’s always there to make sure I don’t fall or make the pain go away, naturally, with love and understanding. I have grown with this man in a way that some paths I never saw for myself, he showed me a different perspective, sometimes you need that. Truly my best friend, my twin flame. Unconditional Love couldn’t be any greater than this. I have an abundance of friends and family that have supported my every move since the beginning of time and that is not unseen. I’m very blessed to have the support I do have and would not trade what I have for the world, I wish all the best and know that it’s to the top from here and I’m taking them all with me.
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