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Meet Melissa Atencia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Atencia.

Melissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all started when I was back in Brazil and I wasn’t sure what exactly what I wanted to be. I was about 15, addicted to movies and TV Shows, and back then, DVDs were our main way of getting entertained. The only “problem” was that I’d get more excited to watch the Behind the Scenes featured on those DVDs other than actually watching those movies. It was then, my mother suggested I should major in Filmmaking. And so I did.

I started college extremely excited to get into the world of movies, but as I was finishing college, I noticed I still haven’t found anything I actually loved doing in Filmmaking. It was only presented to me in classes the more “common” areas, i.e., directing, editing, producing, etc. I took a class for Production Design, Art Department in movies. It was then, I started to feel that sparkle again. Still, Production Design wasn’t my absolute favorite, I was craving something else to fulfill my life, and then I finally discovered it: Make-up for movies.

It made so much sense, I have always, in my entire life, had a passion for make-up. I would “steal” my mother’s make-up when I was four years old. I would do my friend’s make-ups to go to parties. And then, after I graduated, I decided to go to one of the best Make-up Schools in the world and learn it all the right way. I learned everything there was to learn, from beauty to digital makeup, to sculpting, to sfx. After that, I started practicing what I have learned and from there, life has been a dream. I am finally fulfilled.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In some aspects, it has been! My parents were very supportive of my decision, they helped me in every way possible. When I came to LA to study, I came with my boyfriend, who also made it a little bit easier this transition to another country. Of course there were challenges, but I believe there are people who have had it much worse.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I do everything that is related to make-up, with specialization in movies. And I would not be able to choose between beauty make-up and sfx make-up. I just love having a different task to be done every time. I can say I am proud of how far I’ve come in a short period of time. If there’s anything that sets me apart is being happy and excited, trying to be a pleasant person to have on a set. Being extremely professional is key and also, I speak three languages fluently – it’s surprising how many times this qualification has been useful.

What were you like growing up?
I was a very happy, excited kid. Always very curious and adventurous. And always looking for some of my mom’s make-up or wanting to paint my nails red! I just loved to see how transformed anyone could look after a little bit of color.

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