I wasn’t sure what to expect, that I can tell you for sure. Was there going to be entertainment? Was it going to be funny? Am I going to learn anything from these people? Before the night began, I was unsure of the answer to all of these questions, but not anymore

Melani Chong

“I really wanted people to see the beauty in simplicity”

The night began when an attractive, young woman with long black hair entered the room. My first impression of this woman was that she could be a model because she walked with such elegance and grace. One of the first things I noticed about her was that her skin was impeccable! Her name was Melani Chong and I was right, she was a model, but a former one at that. We listened to her speak about her past as a Ford model and how when she was young, she thought that she could never be a model due to her interests in sports. Little did she know that one day, her life would change all because her dad had faith in her. After tricking her to go to the mall and visit the Ford models booth,  Melani then received an unexpected phone call with the request for her modeling. That was the moment when everything changed. This to me was fascinating because she never thought she could be a model. She wasn’t one of those girls who wished to be on the runway ever since the age of three and I admire that.

Starting modeling at 17, Ontario-born girl Melani did still have some doubts that she wasn’t meant for this buissnes and this art, but soon changed that mindset once becoming the face of famous designers such as Gucci, Mac and Armanni. “It’s 80% rejection and 10% accepting” Melani once said. She often spoke of how passion relayed into drive which then turned into core actions. Later on in her life, Melani wanted more, so she worked just as hard as she did in modeling and became a chemist to complete her line of cosmetics formally known as “Soya Boutique”. This very successful boutique carries many great products that are completely organic and can give you that same glow that Melani had. Melanie is now living her dream as a mother, company and product owner and a former model and couldn’t be happier.

Take a look at the Soya Boutique page! http://www.soyaboutique.com”>natural

“Wisest is he who knows what he does not know” – Socrates

Katrina Hadden

“Making It In High Heels”, yeah, that’s one way to pu

"Be yourself, no one does it better"

t it! Living in Toronto, Katina Hadden, part author of “Making it in High Heels” struggled with harsh bullying, unkind words and mean nicknames before becoming the amazingly successful woman she is today. When Katrina walked into the room, I would have never guessed that she was a basketball player like me! I also never would have guessed that she was bullied as a child. “They used to call me “Big Bird” and “The Green Giant” because I was tall. I never really knew why they called me that” she said. I was so confused. There stood this gorgeous blonde with a personality to kill for and people made fun of her? After realizing her height could be an advantage to her, Katrina started playing basketball and she played it well, that is until her senior year came and she injured her knee. Thirteen years of basketball training and it was all ended because of an injury. Much like Melani, Katrina never thought of becoming a model because of her love for basketball and sports in general.

Katrina has over-come many obstacles in her life thus far and is very proud to have done so. Developing an eating disorder to fit into a certain category in the modeling world was probably her biggest. I personally haven’t had the misfortune of dealing with such an addiction, but I can imagine it was not easy. What bothers me the most was that she felt like she needed to “fit in” to a category.  In today’s society, you can’t be yourself. You must always fit in somewhere. Well what if I want to make my own group with people like me?

After Katrina over came her eating disorder, she changed to Ben Berry’s modeling agency and embraced diversity as they often did. The most eye-opening moment for Katrina was when she had a dress made for her and she walked the runway NOT as a stick skinny model. Once the crowd started clapping and cheering, Katrina knew she succeeded in her goal; to accept the way you are and use what you have. The fact that Katrina had enough courage to get onstage with all of those size two models and work it just as much as they did was fantastic and inspirational. To conclude her speech, Katrina ended with two very moving words that seemed to stay on my mind.  Firstly, there were a couple tips to help us through life. 1) Take care of our bodies and health. That one to me meant a lot because I believe that when you’re healthy, it leads to success and happiness. 2) Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. I personally understand that tip because water does help with clear skin and who doesn’t want that? J 3) Find a way to forget about the world. For me, that’s dance. There has never been a problem in my life that couldn’t be solved by dancing. 4) Carry an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful is very important because you didn’t get to where you are all on your own! Lastly, 5) forgiveness. I personally believe this is the most important tip that Katrina gave because forgiveness is key in almost all situations. I believe in forgive and forget and that’s how I plan on living my life.  The second piece of information that Katrina gave us was a poem by Jill Wolf called “Don’t Quit”

 Don’t Quit

Don’t quit when the tide is lowest,
For it’s just about to turn;
Don’t quit over doubts and questions,
For there’s something you may learn.

Don’t quit when the night is darkest,
For it’s just a while ’til dawn;
Don’t quit when you’ve run the farthest,
For the race is almost won.

Don’t quit when the hill is steepest,
For your goal is almost nigh;
Don’t quit, for you’re not a failure
Until you fail to try.

At the end of the day, Katrina went through numerous challenges throughout her life.  It started with bullying, then an eater disorder and then the eye of society, but no matter what happened in her past, she still ended up on top and truly did make it in high heels.

Check out Katrina’s blog to stay with her on her journey! 🙂 http://hopewellottawa.blogspot.ca/2011/12/living-in-between-by-katrina-hadden.html#!/2011/12/living-in-between-by-katrina-hadden.html

Alexander Orlando

“Don’t figure out who you are, but who you want to be” said athlete Alexander Orlando to a group of want-to-be models. When she said that, I was surprised. I had never thought of it like that, but now, I see things in a new light. For the longest time I was trying to figure out who I was and why I was who I was, but in reality, I should have been focusing on who I want to be, what I want to do and how I’m going to do it.

Being a gymnast, Alexander was constantly trainer to get better and considering Alexander’s dream was to be in the Olympics, which meant that she would have to work very hard for a very long time. Alexandra said that she didn’t know how strong she was before, but she realised how strong she had to be when it got to the point of failure on her first attempt to qualify for the Olympics. “It was heart-breaking” she said. I could tell how much it meant to her and how immense her passion was when it came to the Olympics. It turns out that Alexander missed being apart of the 20 people who went to the Olympics by 1/10th of a point.  Alexander was a cocky young lady because she was known as the “Alex the gymnast”. Once she was rejected, that all changed, so she thought.

Fine who you want to be

I believe it was a good thing for Alexander to have gotten rejected for the Olympics the first time. Everyone needs something to happen in their lives to show them that they are not the best by any means.  Alexander realized that she was so much stronger than she thought she was. Everyone hits rock bottom, its how you get back up to the shore that is up to you. She began speaking of how we all have fears that will be hard to surpass, but it’s do-able. Alexander also stressed how we should acknowledge the people who helped us get to where we are today, we didn’t do it alone.  After getting back up on her feet in 2008 after defeat and trying for the Olympics again, Alexander qualified. She admits that the road to winning wasn’t easy by any means and that it looks good on paper. By that she means that winning looked great on paper, but was it really all that it was cut out to be?Even after she won, Alexander still wanted something more. When all you do is gymnastics, I could see why you would want more! I talked with Alexander about how she got through the high school experience while still keeping a hold of her passions. Her answer was that she has to make the decision, was it boys or gymnastics and for her, the choice was obvious. Although she didn’t date much in high school, she says that as she grew older she found people who had the same interests as she did and made it work.


Alexander is still a very successful woman while now obtaining her business degree.  Alexander keeps the same philosophy of perseverance and strength while maintaining a completely different profession. Alexander wants primarily for people to take risks and find who they want to be and I think Alexander is a perfect example of how to do so.

You can Tweet her! @FreshFromAlex

Check her out! http://www.alexandraorlando.ca/

Natalie Hope

Education comes first! Doctor Natalie Hope is a very strong believer that your education is the most important aspect in one’s life and I couldn’t agree more. I understand that without education, you would be nothing. You wouldn’t go anywhere in life. Natalie was saying that the one thing that a person cannot take away from you in your education and I completely agree. She stated that all things happen for a reason. She was also talking about GreenGage Mobile which is a company run by women. I think it’s amazing what women can accomplish now and days. I can’t believe that there was a time when women couldn’t do anything productive other than cook and clean. I am so happy that women are now considered as more than just a tool to keep the house clean and food on the table. Natalie seemed to have to life that I want when I’m her age. She was successful, she was not alone and she was happy. Natalie said that you should make having children a priority before it’s too late and I agree.

Because I have a purity ring and in vision myself in her place in the future, I stopped and asked her a few questions on how she did it. I was confused as to how she managed to have two children, a loving family, a quality education, a great job and still be happy with everything. That to me is incredible and I admire her immensely for what she has done up to date. After listening to Natalie and developing a further understanding on how much you can accomplish once you set your mind to something, I was astonished. Like Kirsten, Natalie also gave us some tips. 1) Society needs women to take risks. 2) 38% of women bring in the larger income in the family. 3) Children are important in families. 4) There is low participation in club that try to stop bullying such as racism and sexism.

Check out Natalie’s website for more neat information!  http://www.rosedalefamilydentalcare.com/

Everything that Natalie said during the night truly gave me more of an understand on what I want to do with my life and what exactly I need to do to achieve my goals. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the mentor night and although I was entering that night with low expectations, I am happy to say that I learned a lot and feel more prepared for day to day life.

Written by: Kelsey Bryant Tagged with:, , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to Mentor Night

  1. Rob Campbell says:

    links tags categories? and where are the rest of the mentors?

  2. kelseybryant says:

    Sorry about that! I’m adding them as I write them! 🙂

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