One of the things we most love at Husskie and makes the sweat (and yes tears… okay, we said it) that goes into creating this publication all the worthwhile is the incredible people we get to interview. People who have been delivering inspiring content far earlier than Husskie had even begun being conceptualised. One of those such people is travel influencer Mel Vandersluis.
Aside from the fact she constantly provides provoking lifestyle imagery that adds an element of excitement to each location she lands in, Mel is also one of those influencers that continually keeps it real and shares helpful Instagram advice with her community (without a hidden agenda). Side note: You have to watch her do unboxing with her Mum, it’s quite possibly the cutest thing you’ll see…
When she’s not travelling the world with her bestie (fellow travel influencer Lisa Homsy) and boyfriend (Mike Homsy), Mel can be found at home in Montreal, Canada planning the next trip, editing pics, working on her bracelet brand By Melanie Audrey, and being hounded by pesky journalists (that’s me!).
Here, she takes time out from all of the above to chat to us about everything from major repost accounts kick-starting her Instablogging career to epic meltdowns…
1. Best beauty product of all time? Coconut oil!
2. Five beauty products you can’t live without? Beautycounter cleanser, mascara, coconut oil, CocoNola Miracle skin oil, and St Tropez gradual tan for face
3. Hair “done” or messy? I love when my hair is done but often go messy
4. Favourite fragrance? Le Labo – Jasmine
5. Favourite item of clothing? My bridesmaid dress that I’m wearing to one of my best friend’s wedding – it’s from ASOS and literally makes me feel like a twirling goddess
6. Favourite fashion brand? Spell & the Gypsy Collective
7. Gym or exercising outdoors? When I do get some exercise in, I’d rather it be outdoors
8. Healthy eating or treating yourself? Treating yourself
9. Can you cook? Not the best, but I can manage. I would love to get better at it!
10. Favourite food to indulge in? Mac & Cheese!
11. First thing you pick from the mini-bar? Peanut M&M’s
12. Best place to eat out? Jukebox (for my mac and cheese) or Mandy’s Salads
13. Happiest moment? When my boyfriend told me he liked me and wanted to date me
14. Saddest moment? When my first puppy died – his name was Licorice
15. Blog or YouTube? Ahhh that’s so hard! I’d have to say YouTube
16. Iphone or camera? Camera
17. Type of camera? Nikon D750
18. Facetune or untouched? Untouched
19. Lightroom or VSCO? Lightroom
20. Favourite filter? I make my own Lightroom filters, so I would have to say one of my own
21. Favourite way to edit pics? Lots of natural light and vibrant colours
22. 9-5 job or full-time influencer? Full-time creative/influencer
23. How did you first get your start in Instablogging? 2.5 years ago I took a trip to Bali and got introduced to content creation from my cousin @tracy_komlos. My content got picked up by several big Bali repost accounts and that’s how I managed to get some growth at first. I started contacting all kinds of brands to work with and did all kinds of work for free so I could build up my portfolio. That’s how it began and it just continues to grow from there…
24. How much time goes into a normal picture found on your Instagram account? Depends! Could take 5 minutes to shoot and then 5 minutes to edit or 30 minutes to shoot and hours to edit – honestly depends more on the mood I’m in that day, lol
25. What’s your top Instagram tip? Embrace your passions and be different. I see a lot of people on Instagram trying to do the same thing. It’s important you find a way to stand out from the crowd and do things that reflect who you are
26. Who takes your pics? Whoever I’m traveling with, but usually either my best friend @lisahomsy or boyfriend @mhomsy
27. Career highlight since being an influencer? Getting my first paid travel job!
28. Career lowlight since being an influencer? Honestly, there are quite a few of these moments and they usually stemmed from me comparing myself to others
29. Best campaign you’ve ever worked on? I really liked the Parker New York campaign I did. I shot it in Cuba with my boyfriend Mike and I loved the entire story all the pictures gave off
30. Worst thing that’s happened to you on a photo shoot? When my memory card corrupted
31. The best gift you’ve ever received as an influencer? Le Labo sent me 15 samples of their perfumes and then included a gift card for me to choose a free bottle
32. Last thing you googled? Joey King and Jacob Elordi – obsessed with them since I found out they were a real couple! If you haven’t seen Kissing Booth on Netflix, do yourself a favour!
33. Favourite film? So many, but I’ve always loved ‘Remember the Titans’
34. Favourite book? ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss. Got it as a present when I graduated from high school and it has been an inspiration to me ever since
35. Favourite song? ‘Will You Be There’ by Michael Jackson. I first heard it when I watched ‘Free Willy’ – always makes me happy!!!
36. Living in the city or living by the beach? Living by the beach
37. Favourite travel destination? Maldives
38. Most Instagram-worthy spot? Maldives!!!
39. Top three essentials to pack when traveling? Pepto, head scarves, my travel angel (gift from my mother)
40. Going out clubbing or quiet dinner with friends? Quiet dinner with friends
41. Partner or single? Partner
42. Siblings? 2 step-brothers
43. What city are you currently living in? Montreal, Quebec, Canada
44. Celebrity crush? If I had to choose someone, I really like Ryan Reynolds – but more because of the way he speaks about his wife… it’s the sweetest thing! But my MCM everyday would be my man, @mhomsy
45. Pets? Yes! One dog named Clara
46. What is your best asset? I’m a big dreamer and love thinking about the future. I need big dreams to propel me forward
47. Biggest misconception about you and your job? That it’s so easy and that I’m living the life all the time. I am very grateful to be able to do what I love, but it doesn’t come without tons of hard work and sometimes some really epic meltdowns, lol
48. Top five Instagram accounts to follow? @tezzamb for never ceasing to create amazing content, @jennakutcher – she’s such a badass girl boss, @juliamateian blows me away every time with her creativity, @saltyluxe for always keeping it real, and can’t forget my babe @lisahomsy
49. Favourite quote you live by? “Comparison is the thief of joy”
50. Top career tip? Don’t compare yourself to others. This is a hard one but really valuable if you can master it!
All images: Mel Vandersluis