First Look with Model and Aspiring Actress, Mellisa Castellanos – Chocolate Informed –
VIDEO COURTESY OF DIAMOND DISTRICT’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
This 24 year old stunning former Miss Belleza Carolina pageant winner and former Diamond District Official Model resides in Durham, NC. Mellisa’s journey along the winding road of modeling and acting began in 2008 when she took an interest in competitive pageants and competed in Miss Teen Raleigh. She fell in love with getting glammed up and while the spotlight was on her, she took advantage of the opportunity to shine. And shine she did! The Miss Teen Raleigh pageant had 400 contestants and Mellisa placed in the Top 10. “Looking back, it was such an amazing accomplishment for me, but that was just the beginning of my chapter. My true passion had just started to surface and my urge for this industry grew more,” said Melissa.
Excited about her accomplishment, Mellisa took advantage of the wide range of possibilities and opportunities awaiting her. She immediately sought the advice of a skilled and highly successful photographer, Sam Taylor of Diamond District. She credits, Sam Taylor for instilling more confidence and encouraging her to embrace a “Go Getter” attitude. Mellisa stated, “Because of his advice and the support from family and friends, I began promotional modeling for stores such as Caché and appeared in several events against Domestic Violence as a special guest.”
In 2013, Mellisa entered the Miss Nuestra Belleza Carolina pageant which is now known as Miss Bellaza Carolina. She shared that during that stage in her life, she really wanted to compete but she didn’t feel she was pretty enough or that she was ready to compete at a higher level of competition. After making it through the tough auditions, she quit her full time job and dedicated all her time to prepare for the competition. Her commitment and countless hours of preparation paid off. Mellisa was crowned Miss Nuestra Belleza Carolina. For the year she wore the crown, she devoted her time volunteering to work with children of Ronald McDonald and other hospitals.
Mellisa’s pageant win propelled her into a year of traveling back and forth to New York and other places. While in New York, she experienced fashion week and was introduced to incredibly talented people such as famous photographer, Nigel Barker; fashion designer, Raul Peñaranda and models from Carlos Ayala from Savoy and M+FG, and Morgan O’Connor from Ralph Lauren. Shortly afterwards, she left New York for California where she stayed for a month embarking on an acting career. Mellisa worked with a great editor and News Correspondent, Juan Mendez from Univision and amazing actors such as Darrin Henson and Clifton Powell. She recalls her experience as unforgettable and learned first-hand how “cut throat” the Hollywood industry can be. She shared some advice to anyone struggling with pursuing an acting career. “My advice to anyone who wants to do it is: Stop thinking what if because after so long of coming up with a reason to not do it, you will end up regretting that you never did it in the first place.”
Mellisa is currently focusing on completing her degree in Criminal Justice Technology/Latent Evidence and will graduate in December 2015. She plans to continue on as a Medical Examiner. As far as modeling and acting, she admits that she will always hold a sincere passion for the art. And judging from her photos and her prior success in the acting and modeling industry, Hollywood would welcome her with open arms if she ever wanted to revisit.