We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Vlahos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, what do you love most about your work?
I support women in tapping into their self-love, acceptance & creative potential and unleashing it in an expressive way through body paint and conscious movement. It is so fulfulling to me to be witness to woman opening up and allowing themselves to be vulnerable in their thoughts, bodies and with each other. Vulnerability is strength and it takes the knowing of that and courage to be with all sides of yourself, even the ones we try to hide. To see the emotions you embody expressed in color on your body as a canvas or feeling the movement of your body take over thought is seeing someone as their most authentic self. I love to celebrate their achievements with them, encourage deeper self-love and acceptance and to hold space for their growth through the process. When a women has been empowered by another women, an alchemical reaction to inspire and empower others takes place that starts a ripple effect all around her and out into the world.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At ArtServe, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in March 2020, the first stop of a nationwide photography exhibition, I exhibited 108 photos of women ages 18-90, of all sizes, shapes, colors, diverse lives and socio-economic backgrounds. The series of photos is called The Unleashed Project, depicting various compositions of the female body expressed in self-applied body paint, to bring more awareness to self-love, acceptance and body positivity. The Unleashed Project was inspired by observing body confident women on a nude beach I visited and wanting to live that comfortable in my own skin. Once I started my healing journey I deeply desired to share a positive message to society, (that for so long in my life dictated to me how to look, act, dress, feel and so on) that showed women empowered by expressing who they are from the inside out. I am most proud of The Unleashed Project and the 108 women who participated. I am eager to continue the photography tour post-covid and I am excited that the pause from covid inspired the continuation of Unleashed in an experience women can download to receive all the support they need to get unleashed from home. I’ve also begun guiding the meditation and whole experience via zoom in small private groups.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Definitely the beach!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This shoutout is dedicated to all the women who allow themselves to be fully and unapologetically seen, Those women help us remember ourselves.