Spotlight on Asian American and Pacific Islander Creators: Melanie Mina, started her journey selling hand-made jewelry on Etsy and has evolved into a full lifestyle super creator and photographer.
Melanie Mina is a San Diego-based lifestyle creator and photographer. She began her career making hand-made jewelry on Etsy with her sister and has since evolved into a full lifestyle content creator. With a background in graphic design and a passion for photography, Melanie pushes her limits to learn new skills and has opened herself to new opportunities, and gained a following of over 32K on Instagram.
Her eye for design and fresh perspective on content creation makes her a powerful Social Native Super Creator™. She has partnered with some top global brands like Coca-Cola, Clinique, Fox, and more!
Q: What led you to become a Creator and why did you choose to do this with your sister?
We were always creators in some form or other. Ardent Reverie actually started off as a handmade jewelry business. But one day we decided to step a little out of our comfort zone and show the faces behind the brand, sharing more of our lifestyle and fashion. We received such positive feedback from doing so that it just snowballed into what Ardent Reverie is now today. As for why we chose to do this together, growing up it was just us two, no other siblings and we were able to form a pretty close bond, so it just made sense to do this with someone who just gets you.
Q: What is your favorite part of the content creation process?
I would say my favorite part of the content creation process is when I’m deep into a project whether I’m shooting, tinkering with layout compositions, editing, etc. and I just really get into the zone. Being in that trance-like state is always an interesting experience.
“All anyone really wants to see is something authentic, so just be you and you’ll be 100X happier.”
Q: Are you self-taught or did you study photography or marketing?
I studied graphic design and while one of the classes I had to take was photography, I honestly learned more from my husband who was already working in the marketing field. I really lucked out there! That and just pushing myself to continue to take photos and find ways to get better, constantly self-critiquing.
Q: What advice would you give to people wanting to get started in this industry?
The advice I would give people looking to get started is to just do it. Sometimes we can get so in our head and think we’re not good enough even to start, but again, just do it. Then once you do that, a good way to practice your skills is to look at what inspires you. It could be your favorite content creator, film, magazine, etc., and mimic what they do, from that you’ll find what works for you and develop your own style.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing you’ve encountered or had to overcome in your journey of being a Creator?
One of the most challenging parts of being a creator is how isolating it can feel. Being able to work from home and create my own schedule is absolutely amazing, but at the same time, it can make you feel very alone. Other than receiving feedback from an agency or brand, I don’t have a team I can turn to and bounce ideas off. I mentioned that self-critiquing helped me grow as a creator but it can also create self-doubt.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would like to give aspiring AAPI creators?
Don’t hold back or try to hide what really makes you, you. Too often I worried about whether or not what I was sharing would fit the mold of what I thought people or brands wanted to see. But at the end of the day, all anyone really wants to see is something authentic, so just be you and you’ll be 100X happier.
Q: Has there been a moment in your career as a creator when you felt you made an impact?
It’s always the little moments that can make me feel like I’ve made an impact, something as simple as a comment or message saying what I shared made them happy, or they found something relatable and are able to share their personal stories with me. It’s those moments of having this sense of community that are always great.
Q: What was your favorite campaign that you have worked on with Social Native and why?
I’ve always enjoyed the Petco campaigns, it gives me a break from having to be in front of the camera and it gives me an excuse to take more photos of my pets, because who doesn’t love taking a million photos of their pets?? 😉
Q: Can you name 3 AAPI creators who inspire you?
Marilyn Hue (@marilynhue) is a creative director, photographer, and digital artist. She also worked on the Hulu show Exposure.
Sam Ushiro (@aww.sam) is an industrial designer, stylist, and creator behind the blog Aww Sam.
Cindy Chen (@cindychendesigns) is an avant-garde makeup artist, beauty influencer, and YouTuber with over 1.8 Million followers on TikTok!