Melissa Smith is a published model and a small business owner with a career background in dentistry, marketing and accounting. However, her passion is about fashion. Smith started modeling at age 13 after watching Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks on television. She was also always surrounded by her mother’s Victoria Secrets magazines that were spread all around the house. Being exposed to this profession inspired her all the more to become a model. As time progressed, Smith decided to herself that becoming a model was not only a passion but her purpose. She wanted to be just like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. Everywhere Smith would go, she was always asked if she was a model. One day, her mother signed her up for Barbizon in Tampa, Florida and that taught her a great deal about the industry and she loved it.
Modeling has helped Smith with her self esteem and confidence. But like everyone else she also faced her fair share of obstacles. Her look and body type was not identifiable with agents because she looked "exotic." Smith shares that they struggled with finding a set part in the industry for her, which became extremely frustrating. She decided to take the matter into her own hands and began to place herself everywhere in the industry. “Why limit my progression?” She said. Smith decided to start freelance modeling by networking with photographers and designers on various forums, and has so far been successful in it. She is currently working with a few agencies now. One obstacle she is still facing is that she looks so much younger than she is and most agencies want her to appeal to the older demographic. She managed to keep her focus and persistence to market her look in every category that may be the target audience. She has been successful at marketing herself well and has connected with some amazing agencies that are on the same page as her. They have helped her reach all markets such as fit, promotional, glamour, petite runway, commercials, editorial, swimwear, and many more.
Smith’s family, her fiance, and her 15 years old daughter are who motivate her to keep going. Her daughter also models as well. Oftentimes, people mistake both Smith and her daughter as siblings.
“My daughter models and sings and loves everything art and fashion. She is strong, smart, and is a beautiful ray of sunshine and I am lucky to have her as my daughter.”
Smith hopes to inspire every little girl out there to do whatever they put their minds to no matter what, and to never give up on their passion or their dream.
We asked Melissa Smith what Valiance means to her,
“Valiance to me means to lead by example in everything that you do and to do it with courage and determination. To be valiant is to have faith in your belief, commitment and passion. Choose a goal that stirs up enough passion in you that you are not going to give up when it gets difficult, because it will get difficult. Obstacles are opportunities in disguise, so always be optimistic and see the glass half full instead of half empty.”
Check out more of Melissa Smith’s work on @bellazacherese