Natalie and Joe, @nattycontreraartistry and @joemaccreative

I cannot believe I never posted about my first photoshoot, now shot years ago. It’s been in my drafts all this time. I don’t know how that happened, but I want to release it despite the lateness because I fought through a lot of self-doubt to finally do some modeling. Plus Natalie and Joe are fantastic people and I’m so happy I met them. The cafe I used to work where I met Natalie isn’t even open anymore, but it’s nice to look back at all the connections I made and opportunities that came my way from just serving people coffee all day.

To stop myself from letting this drown in my drafts again, I’m not going to try to update and edit it. So it’s written in the present, when the present was like three years ago. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Sure I love coffee and making pretty latte art,
But my favorite thing about working at a cafe is meeting and connecting with all of the creative folks in town.

I don’t know what it is about coffee shops that draw in artists, but I’m certainly not complaining about the connection between the two.

 

My cafe has not only coffee but the added benefit of a full bar as well. So we even get the night owl, alcohol-inclined artists in addition to the caffeine-addicted creatives.

My shop brings all the art to the…counter…forgive me, I’m gonna stop.

One night when I was working behind the bar, two people met up with each other for drinks and some food in our upstairs loft seating. After their meal, they came downstairs to pay. The guy paid his half and left, and the girl stayed behind to use the restroom. When she came out, she gave me the disclaimer that she was not just on a Tinder date. She’s a makeup artist, and she was meeting with her photographer friend to plan some shoots.

She told me that I would make a good model, and asked if I had ever considered it. Sure I had, but I didn’t know where to start and it fell by the wayside as I developed other focuses. So we followed each other on Instagram, said she’d be in touch, and gave me a couple photographers to follow.

And in touch she was! Natalie planned a shoot with photographer, Joe Mac Creative, and jewelry designer, Honey Accessories.

We walked around South Street and found nice backdrops to shoot, and the photos came out great! I’m a hard critic on myself, but even I have to say it wasn’t half bad for my first photoshoot. Natalie made up my face beautifully, and she and Joe pieced together my look. They both gave great direction, which helped ease my nerves.

It was a blast shooting with such talented artists, and you should definitely check out their work. Natalie posts on her site regularly with beauty and skincare tips and reviews. Joe is always shooting somewhere, and has a beautiful couple portrait photo series that I love. Helena has some beautiful pieces in her Honey collection. Check them out!

 

 

MelRo’s Foundation

As much as I love drinking and making coffee, by far the best part of my job as a barista is the people I meet every morning.

And among all the great interactions I’ve had, I would say the most notable person I’ve met is MelRo.

Miss MelissaRoshan Potter started coming to the cafe where I used to work whenever she was in town for business or visiting friends. Aside from being absolutely gorgeous, she was always light and cheery, and never without something positive to contribute to any conversation. Maybe it was because I always remembered to make her iced chai lattes with almond milk, maybe she noticed a similar light within me, but we clicked immediately and exchanged information to become friends outside of the server-custie narrative.

As we got to know each other, she always encouraged me to do great in what I was pursuing and never to let anyone look down on me for the journey that led me there. It wasn’t until we connected on Instagram and Facebook that I saw how her story was a testament to every word of encouragement that she gave me.

I will let you read about her life on her website and social media profiles, but a brief summary, MelRo grew up in twenty-three different foster homes, suffered abuse, and was a teen mom at risk of homelessness. She was discovered for modeling, giving her the power to take control of her life and a platform to reach out to kids in similar situations.

She has dedicated her life to advocating for fostered youth, from speaking at schools and organizations across the country to now, building a school in Ghana for homeless children.

After a trip to Ghana, she returned feeling compelled to make a real change in the lives of the children she met there, seeing herself in them. She’s spent this year launching MelRo’s Foundation, a Ghanaian based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), purchasing land to build a school and housing for over 100 orphaned youth, and building the facility with an aggressive goal of an August 2018 completion, because the need for shelter is so great. Classes will begin September 7th, and the upcoming students are already excited and preparing for the opening ceremonies.

 

 

 

 

 

I have not seen this woman sit down since the launching of this project. Every time I check in with her, she’s in a different town, either speaking to kids or training future foster parents, or she’s working in cosmetics as a freelance makeup artist, or she’s running shoe and clothing drives for the approaching school year. She is picking up work as necessary to see this dream into fruition on her own if she has to. I am ever inspired by her tenacity. And on top of donating myself, I wanted to spread the word with this post. MelRo has a gofundme fundraiser for the Foundation, and the goal to raise $11,100 is close to being reached. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the building and development of the school. MelRo has been diligent in posting constant status updates on the gofundme page, as well as her Instagram and Facebook profiles. Please contribute to the cause if you feel led to. Of course give what you can, but as a meaningful statement of support, MelRo asks for just $23, one dollar for each foster home she lived in growing up.

If you can’t help monetarily, the Foundation is in need of supplies for the students and workers. Below is the last update she shared regarding the needs for the project.

Even sharing this post or any of her statuses on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, is a huge help. I look forward to seeing MelRo change the lives of these children in Ghana. I hope to travel with her on one of her trips in the next year to see the school, meet the students, and help out. Thanks for reading and helping contribute to the project!

Here’s the Gofundme page one more time: MelRo’s Foundation