How to introduce Mel Parrish? People may know her either as a model, a body positive activist, a naval officer, a mother, or a writer. Whatever title, she's determined to not let that define her. We met Mel during the interview process for her podcast, Healthy At Any Size. From early on you know...she's a driver, a supporter, a cheerleader. She is Rose, and we want to see her go. As a new mother and on-point business women, we know Mel has a demanding schedule. We recently asked Mel as the perfect challenger to take on our 30 look challenge. Learn more about Mel and her experience with 30 looks, in 30 days!
SRG: Can you describe your career trajectory and what brings you to where you are today?
MP: I graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2007. Due to multiple back surgeries, I was medically discharged in 2008. I was working as a communications consultant to DoD clients when I was scouted and signed with TRUE Model Management in New York City. It was a lifelong dream fulfilled! I signed in 2016 and have been using my platform as a model to advocate for body positivity and wellness ever since. Along the way, I've gotten to write for Huffington Post, the Gaiam blog, and Women's Running Magazine. I've also been featured in major magazines like Shape, People, and SELF. It's been a great ride and I'm enjoying every minute of it!
SRG: Describe your earliest memory of being interested in fashion.
MP: I've always been interested in fashion, and even did some small, regional modeling bookings in Columbus, Ohio as a high school student. I put those dreams by the wayside when I got accepted to the US Naval Academy, because I figured fashion would always be there, whereas there are strict age limits on attending a service academy and becoming a Naval Officer.
SRG: Amazing! We love learning about the multi-dimensional sensibility and talent of women! On the fashion and style note - What was the 30 look challenge experience like for you? Did you learn anything new and useful going forward?
MP: I loved the 30 look challenge! It made me realize that I...basically wear the same five outfits all the time, haha! I rotate a few things in and out each season, but I'm very much a creature of habit. So it was great to take a more holistic view of my wardrobe and see how many looks I can put together with just a few staples from See Rose Go.
SRG: In your experience, what is the #1 must-have for your clothing or when buying something new?
MP: Fit. You must buy clothes that fit well, and fit the body you have now. I had my daughter a year ago and am still not back in my pre-pregnancy size, so I definitely can say from experience that even as your size fluctuates, it's best to get clothes that fit you right now, and make your investment pieces ones that will be able to tolerate some minor fluctuations in size, and things like scarves and handbags that are not size specific.
SRG: How would you describe “life balance” and how do you try to keep priorities in your actions?
MP: I think life balance means not letting one area of your life define you. If you are placing too much importance on any one thing, in terms of how you define self worth, that's when your choices and emotions fall out of alignment. If you believe on a deep level that it is your size that determines your value, you will allow yourself to expend too much time, money, and energy on things like weight loss programs and fitness classes. Then, other areas of your life suffer. You have to maintain some objectivity and see that it's not just your size, or your career, or your role as a family member that define you. You are a sum of your many parts, and each of these areas needs time and attention!
SRG: I like your definition! It's not about time management it's about being a holistic person. As you give time and attention to your whole person, we'd love to know - What’s next for you? Wildest dream scenarios encouraged!
MP: To be honest, I don't have a firm view of my next five years! I've been doing my best to take things one day, one IG post, and one modeling booking at a time since my daughter came along. We want to grow our family, and I'd like to continue modeling and blogging. I still keep a small number of hours with my old consulting firm, and dip in with my old DoD clients from time-to-time. Will I be doing all of this in five years? Who knows. I do know that I want to keep sharing my story and leveraging my own experiences with my body (good and bad) to help other women love themselves and take the best possible care of their bodies. So stay tuned to see what that ends up looking like! :-)
SRG: So happy you shared your story with us Mel, Thank you!