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Meet Trailblazer Melissa Mae

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Mae.

Melissa, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was adopted when I was just a few months old from Seoul, South Korea. My parents raised me in Holden, Massachusetts. I attended the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I earned my B.S. in Sport Management and my B.A. in Psychology.

After graduation, I moved to San Diego, CA and began my journey into television. I interned at Fox 5 San Diego in their sports department and had the opportunity to work with great mentors and be involved in some really fun San Diego sports stories. My most memorable moment at Fox 5 was anchoring my first sports segment!

When my internship ended, I started working at KUSI. I started as a member of the Prep Pigskin Report (high school football show). From there, I was given the opportunity to become the Social Media Director of the PPR and a Reporter for the All Sports Report. Along with covering high school sports, I became a Reporter for KUSI’s pre-game Charger show: The Opening Drive. When the Chargers left San Diego, I made a quick transition into television and social media commercial work, spokesperson projects and modeling.

It was a grind for several years and at one point in 2018, I debated on leaving the “acting” world and even moving back home to Massachusetts. My Meme’s (grandmother) health was declining and I really missed my family. With the support of my friends and family, I continued my career in front of the camera. I worked with several notable companies including JetBlue, Qualcomm, Hyundai, Petco, Gap Inc. and the San Diego Symphony. Through the years, I have also been blessed with building relationships with several notable San Diego casting directors, marketing and production companies.

In 2019, I had two huge career breakthroughs. The San Diego Sockers’ added me to their broadcast team as their Sideline Reporter and as their game-day Arena Host. I was back working in the industry I love, sports broadcasting. Within a few months of starting with the Sockers, I was offered the Television and Radio Fundraising Host position with KPBS. I was now back on live television and started working in radio as well. One of the most exciting parts of my journey was when my parents heard me on KPBS when they were taking an Uber from the airport to my house. That was the first time either of them had heard me live on the air!

Currently, I am back with the Sockers (who are currently in season) and KPBS. I have also been hosting live events around San Diego, including the It’s All About the Kids’ Battle of the Chefs annual event and the STEAM Maker Festival. I have recently worked with notable brands like MANSCAPED and WORX Tools. I am now represented by the Shamon Freitas Modeling and Talent Agency.

My favorite part of my career is the diversity. I have the stability of working with KPBS and the San Diego Sockers, but also the chance to be a part of projects that help bring company’s and business owners’ concepts to life! It is a persistent hustle of auditions and casting submissions, but I am always honored when a client selects me to represent their company or brand. I am proud of my journey and have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today.

Along with work, I enjoy yoga, golfing, snowboarding, hiking and supporting my Boston/New England sports teams. I am RYS-200 yoga certified and volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society. I am a part of their Pet-Assisted Therapy program and take animals out to local San Diego businesses, retirement homes and schools. I am so grateful to call San Diego my home and love living close to the beach!

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. It has been a grind and I sometimes get discouraged when I am not working consistently. Also, I have dealt with directors and producers who asked really racist or sexist questions or made inappropriate comments. I have failed and been rejected a lot, but I try to focus on my successes and remain optimistic about future opportunities.

My advice for other women is to develop a thick skin. If her dream is to work in the television or acting world, one has to let things go in one ear and out the other. People are constantly going to make comments about you (on social media and maybe even to your face), but you can not lose your integrity. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you cannot let it affect you, your life and your happiness.

Also, do not let others define you. Be secure with who you are and stand up for yourself. People may try to pigeon hole you into a stereotype or typecast you because of the way you look, do not let them. You are in charge of your image. You are in charge of the type of work you do. You must be responsible for your own life.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I find it very challenging to give myself one specific job title or even call myself an actress. I work as a live event and television host, commercial actress, spokesperson and a lifestyle/fitness model. I am the Broadcast Reporter and Arena Host for the San Diego Sockers and the Television and Radio Fundraising Host at KPBS.

I specialize in live event hosting and reporting. I am most proud that I never sacrificed or compromised my morals and integrity throughout my career. I have always stayed true to who I am as a person. People who meet me in person or see me on television are seeing the real me. I never wanted to create an alternate on-air personality and wanted to remain authentic. I have stayed true to myself to this day.

What sets me apart from others is my adaptability. During live events, you never know what is going to happen: the teleprompter could break down (which is has during a live show), your interviewee could be challenging, crowds could become rowdy, etc. but I always remain calm and control the things I can: myself and my actions!

Also, my attitude and being easy to work with are two major characteristics that set me apart. I treat everyone on set or that is part of a project with respect: makeup artist, production assistant, caterer, it does not matter. I also take direction very well and am flexible. I never try to force my opinion on others. A lot of my projects are direct bookings!

Which women have inspired you in your life?
My Mother is my biggest inspiration in my life. She and my father saved my life and my brother’s life when they adopted us. When they found out that my brother was deaf, my mom learned Sign Language and taught my Dad and I how to sign. My mom has always made time for her family. Even though she worked full time, she always managed to make a home-cooked meal and fill our home with love. Growing up, she protected me when people would harass me because of my nationality. She loved me for who I was and encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be.

Through every one of my struggles, mom was always there. Her endless love and support have brought me out of a lot of difficult times. My mom is the strongest person I know. Her dedication to her students, willingness to help others and love for her family has motivated me to be the person I am today.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Greg Siller, Anjel Miguel, Eric Adams

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