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Conversations with the Inspiring Mary Melnikov

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Melnikov.

Mary, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was attending DePaul University, I got an opportunity to be the new host of a podcast called Fast Fashion. I had no idea what hosting a podcast entailed of, nor have I ever really listened to podcasts. Originally, the podcast consisted of guests who were in the fashion industry, such as designers, stylists, and fashion bloggers. I remember being so nervous, yet so excited the first time that I got on the mic. As soon as I got done with my first interview, I fell in love with my job, and had found my passion right there and then. I could wear whatever I want, I could curse however many times I wanted, and I have all the creative freedom that a boss can give their employee. As much as I love the fashion industry, I wanted to evolve the podcast into something bigger. I found myself wanting to interview creatives in the music, arts, photography, dance, and many more industries. My vision was to have conversations with as many upcoming Chicago creatives and shine a light on their journey. My boss and I set up a plan to rebrand the entire podcast in the summer of 2018, where we changed the name, the logo, and the overall brand feel. Come September, Candid Creator Podcast was born.

There’s no greater feeling than finishing an interview with a guest, and them leaving the studio knowing that what they’re doing is making an impact on people’s lives and that their creativity is so important. I feel as though it’s my duty to give people a platform where they can talk about why they love to do what they do, and how they stay so focused regardless of the odds against them.

Being a Russian-Israeli immigrant has helped me a lot with my communication skills and being able to relate to people who haven’t had it so easy in life or that have started from scratch, not having advantages such as money or connections. I find it easy to relate to all the creatives on my show in some way, shape or form because of how much we appreciate things, and really value humbleness.

This podcast brought me more opportunities than I would have ever imagined. I wake up every day feeling so lucky that I could say this is my job. And who knows what this could lead to?

Nothing is off limits and absolutely anything can happen in the creative realm.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It wasn’t always a smooth road. Granted, I got the opportunity presented to me, and I took full advantage of it. But building your credentials up, and learning how to send a message to a whole audience using your voice, and ONLY your voice was fairly tough (since we live in an age where visual art is everything). Us women know our struggles, and how much harder we have to work in order for our voice to be heard and taken seriously, especially in the entertainment and media industry. Proving my talent is always something that I have to work on every day. You never stop working on your craft in this industry.

For young women who are looking to get into the entertainment or media industries, one piece of advice that I want to stick with women is to know your worth. Women have to deal with the power that men have in this industry every day, and sometimes that really makes or breaks a project, campaign or any sort of deal that would further your career. Knowing your worth, staying true to what you want to accomplish as a creative and the message and energy you want to put out into the world will be worth it in the end.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I work for a media company called WhatRUWearing. It is a digital content destination that delivers daily editorial, a weekly podcast and a variety of original web series, for example, PR Girl, for our fashion, beauty, life(style) and anything creative-obsessed audience of young women.

I am the host of our podcast called Candid Creator. This podcast gives people the opportunity to get their creative fix for the day. It is the go-to podcast for 20-somethings who want to be inspired, discover creatives, and keep up with the latest trends across the fashion, music, and artistic industries. It’s extremely unfiltered, and nothing is off-limits. We skip the bullshit and get right down to it on why certain creative love to do what they do, and what their motivation is.

Overall, I’m really proud of the fact that WhatRUWearing’s mission is to highlight diversity in all categories of life. Many brands lack inclusion, or act like they are for diversity, but market it in a way where it’s forced and unnatural… almost because it’s “trendy” now for brands. The WhatRUWearing team is made up of women of all backgrounds, sizes, and color.

You can’t beat going to work every day with your job consisting of putting out good energy and inclusion in the world.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Know your worth and don’t give in to the bullshit.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@kimkovacik, @kodycasey

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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