A Beauty Named: Melissa de Mata

Photographer. San Francisco, California.

A&H: How would you describe your personal style?

MdM: I like to think my style is cool, comfortable, and classic with a bit of quirkiness. The older I get, I find myself investing more in quality-made pieces that will last. I’ve finally realized the value in spending more money on staple items I can see myself wearing 5, 10, 20 years from now. For the most part, solid colors make up 80% of my closet, but you’ll see a dash of bold colors and patterns thrown in.

A&H: What is your most cherished item?

MdM: My great uncle randomly gave me a gold bracelet about six years ago and I never take it off. I lost it once and I felt incomplete the whole time, imbalanced, and just plain odd without it. I’m not one to pile multiple accessories on my body, but you will always find this thin gold bracelet on my left wrist.

A&H: Where is your favorite place to dine?melissa de mata, a beauty named

MdM: Living in San Francisco is like having a culinary smorgasbord of all things amazing at your fingertips. Luckily, I’ve dined at plenty of restaurants that have sent my taste buds to another level, but I’m a simple Cali-grown girl who will always have a special spot for In-N-Out. Cheeseburgers and French fries done right—every single time—will always hit the spot for me!

A&H: What is the best advice you’ve received from your parents?

MdM: When I was younger, my mother never failed to constantly tell me to keep my back straight. I hated it then, because she would push my back in and chest back with her hands. I also felt taller than most of my friends, so I would unconsciously hunch to be a bit shorter. But now, good posture is a gift! Posture announces your presence when you walk into a room or meet someone new. It’s such a critical marker of how people will perceive and react to you upon that first hello. Moreover, clothes just fit better on a body that is straight, tall, and proud. So, thanks mom, for always yelling at me to keep my back straight.

A&H: What are you extremely passionate about?

MdM: I have a passion for people. It’s the reason why I pursued photography. I’ve always been a people-watcher, observing from afar. But photography has allowed me to get closer and approach strangers I wouldn’t have dared to talk to. Every portrait I take is as unique as the people who are in them. When you take someone’s photo, it’s not a one-side interaction. It’s collaboration between photographer and subject. It is a conversion from one person to another. It’s in these “conversations” that I experience other people, who they are, what their passion is, how they perceive the world, and the differences between their life and mine. In turn, I see myself clearly as I look at these people through the lens.

A&H: What lady do you think embodies pure elegance and style?

MdM: A modern woman whose elegance and style I truly admire is Charlize Theron. I think she exudes the perfect balance of beauty, class, and sexiness. Her style is never boisterous yet it screams for all the right attention. I love that her confidence radiates from within and it shows in her whole demeanor. Most of all, she has perfect posture!

A&H: What do you consider a staple in a lady’s wardrobe?

MdM: Fashion is fleeting, but a true, warm, and genuine smile will never go out of style. Every lady needs that in theirwardrobe.

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