50 Questions: An emotive conversation with Mel Tan

I have to admit, Mel_joyhysteric influencer Mel Tan has managed to deliver a first for me from an interview – and that is make me close to tears (*although truth disclaimer, I may have also had to keep myself together in a previous interview with Jodie Fox).

Over the next following 50 questions, Mel demonstrates a level of passion and drive that is truly inspirational – and just wait until you get to the part about her mum. But let’s not ruin it… read on to find out just why Mel’s story is a heart string-puller.

Missed the last articles in the 50 Questions series? Click the links to read interviews with Life With Three’s Rachel Barwick, Helen Chik, and Fakander blogger Fredrika Akander.

1. Best beauty product of all time? ATM – OLAPLEX or I wouldn’t have the hair I have right now!
2. Five beauty products you can’t live without? Paw Paw ointment, Bare Minerals concealer, Stila BB Cream tinted moisturiser, Kevin Aucoin eyebrow pencil, and Mario Badescu rose water spray
3. Hair “done” or messy? Messy – even when it’s been “done”
4. Makeup or no makeup? No makeup or makeup that looks fairly natural other than my signature eyeliner flicks
5. Favourite fragrance? Serge Lutens L’eau
6. Favourite item of clothing? Whatever the newest item of clothing in my wardrobe is
7. Favourite fashion brand? ATM I’m loving The Kooples and Nice Martin
8. Sneakers or heels? I prefer to be barefoot whenever possible, or at least with just a pair of slippers thrown on, however, I have a huge fetish for designer heels and tend to collect them
9. Gym or exercising outdoors? Neither
10. Yoga or running? Neither but I have started a little bit of both, sort of…

11. Healthy eating or treating yourself? I treat myself all the time! I tend to cook vegetarian mostly these days but don’t hold back when I’m dining out. I also have an unhealthy addiction to McDonald’s when I’m on the go
12. Can you cook? YES!
13. Favourite food? Pasta
14. Favourite drink? I love a frozen Coke on a hot summer’s day
15. Best place to eat out? Fratelli Paradiso or somewhere in Chinatown
16. Happiest moment? I’ve had many: When both my nieces were born, when I first opened Joy 17. Hysteric back in 2004, when I finally went blonde after years and years of hairdressers telling me “no”… But the happiest stage of my life is right now. I couldn’t be happier with how everything has naturally fallen into place and this is just the start of the next phase of my life – with a new business, new home in Sydney, new friends, family and relationship. It’s all good right now
17. Saddest moment? My mum passed away almost two years ago – absolutely the saddest day of my life. She passed away on the 16th of April, the day before my birthday – I think it was her unique way of making sure I never forgot her anniversary as we were very close after working together everyday for more than 10 years in my retail business.
18. Instagram or Snapchat? Instagram, but I wish they’d introduce Snapchat style filters then I can drop Snapchat altogether
19. Blog or YouTube? Blog – I am about to launch my first blog via JoyHysteric.com.au
20. Iphone or camera? Iphone for convenience, although I have just invested in a Canon 5D

21. Type of camera? As above
22. VSCO cam or Snapseed? VSCO
23. Facetune or untouched? Mainly untouched but I will edit certain things out of a pic such as a big pimple, visible tags or if the straps of my dress are looking twisted. Easier than reshooting!
24. Favourite filter? P5 Instant filter on VSCO
25. Shooting on-the-go or location scouting? Bit of both. I shoot a lot around my home/regular surroundings for Insta but love to scout locations for bigger projects
26. 9-5 job or full-time influencer? I’ve never really had a 9-5 as I’ve been self-employed for years, so sometimes feel like I work 24/7 juggling several businesses. My influencer work being one of them, but I also freelance as a fashion stylist/creative consultant and have recently launched my digital marketing agency, MELT MEDIA, which is currently taking up most of my time (fun fact: I love building websites)
27. How did you get into blogging? I guess I fell into it… I was a traditional retailer trying to promote/sell my stock whichever way I could – and that started back in MySpace days then progressed to Facebook and of course Instagram. I would take a quick snap of myself wearing or styling our new arrivals everyday to show our customers, and from there my social media profile grew and grew. It got to the point where I was being contacted by agencies and other brands, and although at first I declined all offers as my interests were only to promote my own small business, in the end I decided why not capitalise on something that comes very naturally for me. I’ve always been about high visual impact so I’m mainly an Instagrammer as opposed to blogger, however, after all these years I am about to launch my own blog so I can now showcase more of my other passions and skills such as writing and photography and combine them all into one platform.
28. How much time goes into a normal picture found on your Instagram account? Depends, if it’s a good day then 30 minutes… Sometimes a lot more if I’m just not feeling it!
29. Who takes your pics? Myself or my boyfriend Adam
30. Most exciting moment since being an influencer? Every day is pretty exciting – to receive emails from brands and companies I admire, contacting me to express their interest in working with me, that is great

31. Most terrifying moment since being an influencer? Attempting to navigate the streets of Sydney (a few weeks after I moved here) driving a brand new MINI Ray ( that was loaned to me) whilst having to talk into a number of cameras about myself ad hoc, ALL WHILST keeping my eyes on the road, two hands on the wheel, obeying all road rules and acting natural and confident in what I was saying! That was terrifying yet such a great first experience producing video content for my campaign with MINI
32. Best campaign you’ve ever worked on? MINI Bright Rays campaign was extremely rewarding and inspiring as I was recognised for my industry experience and knowledge as a fashion retailer/entrepreneur as well as my influencer status. I was asked to come on board as a mentor to support up-and-coming young creatives nation-wide.
Also MAC cosmetics – having been a fan for so long (since I was a tween), it was amazing to actually get to work with them and I’m excited for future projects with MAC to come.
33. The best gift you’ve ever received as an influencer? The Kooples giftbag cos I’m a diehard Kooples fan and everything in the giftbag had their branding on it, including a takeaway Kooples Espresso Martini in a perfume bottle. I love novelty things like that!
34. Last thing you googled? Apartments in Sydney as my boyfriend and I are looking to move out together soon
35. Favourite film? Not quite a film but a standup comedy special on Netflix – Ali Wong ‘Baby Cobra’
36. Favourite book? ‘How to be Parisian’
37. Favourite song? Too many – ATM I love ‘Come Down’ and everything else by Anderson Paak but an oldie but goodie that always gets me going is ‘Still D.R.E.’
38. Favourite band? Any 90s hip hop bands
39. Living in the city or living by the beach? BEACH. I’ve moved to Sydney from Byron and originally from the Gold Coast so beach is life. Living in Alexandria ATM which I really love but need to get closer to the beach before next summer

40. Summer or winter? Summer. Although winter fashion is always more fun
41. Favourite travel destination? Mexico was probably one of my most unforgettable trips, but I still love going to Bali on a regular basis for a nice break. And I want to go back to Tokyo soon too
42. Going out clubbing or quiet dinner with friends? Quiet dinner or drinks, or party at home
43. Partner or single? Partner
44. Siblings? Two, and we are all very close although live afar. My older sister Melissa lives on the Gold Coast with her husband Scott and their baby daughter Darcy, and I have a younger brother Brendon who lives in Texas with his wife Jacinta and their daughter Alaia
45. What city are you currently living in? Sydney
46. Celebrity girl crush? GypsyOne / Jenah Yamamoto
47. Celebrity boy crush? Pharrell Williams
48. Pets? Two French bulldogs Bruno and Pablo and a third acquired pet, a Pomeranian named Lion
49. Top five Instagram accounts to follow? @gypsyone, @last_daze, @billionvibes, @thekooplesofficial, @sydneymensstyle
50. Favourite quote you live by? My mum drilled into my sister and I from a young age, “it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed!”. I’ve taken her advice and use it across all aspects of my life, not just about how I look/dress. It’s about doing more than less, ie giving my all to everything as I’d rather be over the top than lack lustre and that’s just me I guess – over the top in every sense…

All images: @mel_joyhysteric

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Frankie Hildebrand

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