Melissa Downes is every bit as gracious, gentle and stylish as I’ve found her to be on the few occasions I’ve been lucky enough to meet or work with her. Born in Brisbane 39 years ago this very talented Journalist/Newsreader says these days she “does more reading than reporting”.
Married with a beautiful 1 year old daughter, Dee-Dee, husband D-J (David-John) Wendt says one of the things he loves most about Melissa is her level of patience. But the very modest Melissa says “I think it’s still a work in progress, but I do strive to be patient. I think it’s one of the most important virtues, a beautiful combination of humility, faith and perseverance”. (See? I told she had true style, didn’t I?). Melissa says she loves her husband because he is a rock. “No matter what is happening in our lives he takes it in his stride. He’s also a fantastic cook …they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, that’s true for this woman as well! I am truly passionate about my husband. I feel so fortunate to have found him”.
Of Life & It’s Lessons :
To make it onto my humble Style Counsel “Person of Great Style” List the main criteria is that the person I interview has an innate sense of their own style but displays that style on many more levels other than just via their wardrobe choices. And it’s my next question which I feel best illustrates Melissa’s true callibre, natural style and integrity. When asked to finish the sentence “I dislike people who…” her simple response was beautiful and refreshingly rare:
“Life’s too precious to waste time disliking people, I have learnt to accept that some people are just very different”. Now do you see why I believe this woman really is the real deal? Truly a class act? Most of us would probably quickly think of the myriad of things others do to irritate us and move onto a good ol’ rant. But not our Melissa! Live and let live…great stuff!
- What I want my children to know is “that love really does make the world go round”.
- Mum always told me “to be a goat. It’s easier to be a sheep and follow what everyone else is doing, but if you don’t agree you have to stand on your own, so you need to be a goat”.
- “I love people who think of others before themselves. They are the ones who really make the world go around”.
- “When I leave this earth I would like to be remembered as an optimist”.
- “My favourite personal feature is that I always look for the good in everyone”.
Many of my Style Counsel clients initially struggle with the concept of Style Profiling, thinking it’s some sort of test of their taste or their ability to put an outfit together. But most admit that once they’ve completed the profile they do come to understand why this soul-searching is such an important part of the process and helps them (and me!) identify the direction they’d like to take to find or develop a signature style. Melissa embraced all of my personal interview questions with honesty, happy to share with my readers her personal style philosophies and some of her own personal story with great humility.
Melissa says “My favourite physical feature is my eyes but my least favourite would have to be my fair eyelashes – it means I have to wear mascara to show off my eyes. I would describe my signature style as classic and elegant, although I sometimes dream of a more bohemian look. My most memorable fashion moment was a jacket I owned in 1988 . I ‘personalised’ it by sewing on beads and bits of fur around the heavily padded shoulders. It was very tribal and my friends and I thought it was incredibly fashionable. But I think if I saw it today I would laugh out loud!”
When it comes to her wardrobe Melissa says the colour she has most of in her wardrobe (aside from black and white) is red. Her wardrobe favourite is her Paige Denim jeans. “They are so flattering. I bought them when my daughter was about 7 months old, and when I put them on they made me feel like I had my pre-baby body again.” Melissa says she buys from anywhere and everywhere, but she does like shopping in New Farm. “James Street and the Emporium are great “one-stop-shop” locations. I think the city is also very easy, everything’s in the one location”.
“Something not many people would know about me is my hair is naturally curly. At work, they are pedantic about hair being “neat”, so I’ve been blow drying my hair straight for years. And that means most people have never seen my natural curl”.
When asked about her very own secret beauty or styling tip she states quite simply “To smile. I think everyone is beautiful when they smile. I think what makes a person truly stylish is confidence. If you feel good in an outfit, you usually look good in it, whatever it is”.
Some random facts about Melissa…
Biggest Weakness? Australia’s Next Top Model. It’s that little bit of trashy TV that I really enjoy.
Starsign – Virgo
Rugby or AFL or League? I’m an AFL girl, we’ve been members of the Lions for about 8 years .. I love going to the game, the crowd is almost as entertaining as the game.
Black or white – black.
Royalist or republican – oh I do have a soft spot for Royalty, I blame my mother!
Beach or bush – although I’m very pale, I love the beach. There’s nothing like a swim in crystal clear water.
Morning or night person – I would have said night person, but since the birth of my daughter I am becoming a morning person.
Winter or summer – A Brisbane winter definitely, it’s not really that cold, but cool enough for you to be a bit more creative with your clothes.
Favourite Restaurant – Ortiga. Who would believe a pig snout could taste so good!
Favourite Food : When asked this question, she cheekily replies “Does Champagne count as food? No, really I eat just about everything, which is strange because I was a fussy eater as a child”.
Favourite drink : I think I already mentioned Champagne?
Exercise? I love yoga but at the moment I’m walking a few mornings a week, which I really enjoy as well. “I love getting outside. It’s very social because you get to know the people that walk at the same time as you”.
On Social Networking & Technology: “I can do what I have to do on the computer, but otherwise I’m quite useless. I have to get my sister to upload my photos on Facebook . I keep saying I’ll learn, but I always find something else to do”.
If money was no object, where would you most like to see yourself now/or in 5 years time? “I think most people would say this, but I would love to do more travelling. I have been very fortunate to do a lot of travel, but there’s still so much I haven’t seen. Seeing new places and new cultures is amazing, and it also makes you appreciate your own backyard”.
I think Alison’s next “Person of Great Style” interview should be “Andrew Lofthouse. People see him in suits every night and think that’s his style, but he’s actually a lot more rock and roll than that!”
Well, Melissa! Let me see if Channel Nine New’s “Mr Rock ‘n Roll” will agree to be next on my hit-list! Watch this space….
Al styling Melissa Downes for Channel Nine’s Station Promo “I heart Nine”