Los Gatos, California.
Deep in the heart of Silicon Valley, this tiny and wealthy enclave 30,000-plus south of San Francisco and deep in the heart of Santa Clara County is a hub of tech and entertainment.
Home to streaming and content creator, Netflix and notable tech start-ups and venture capitalist firms, Los Gatos is in the heart of one of the most vibrant and robust areas in the country.
With various TV shows and movies such as HBO’s Silicon Valley, The Social Network, Jobs and The Internship set in and around the area, Los Gatos is no stranger to the Hollywood limelight.
While known for it’s tech might, Los Gatos is also the home of notable tech, sports and entertainment celebrities such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, hard-rock band Trapt, The Dark Knight star Aaron Eckhart, NHL stars such as Jeremy Roenick, Joe Blake, Dana Heatley and NFL standouts such as Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso and former 2011 Defensive Player Of The Year in Jared Allen, Los Gatos is at the forefront of what’s hip and cool.
Could fellow Los Gatos native in fashion and swimsuit model, Melissa Rae be the next local to make it big?
Despite being just 19 years old, the 5’9 Rae has already accumulated an impressive modeling portfolio in modeling for designer brands such as Robb and Lulu, Tygerian Lace, Baes & Bikini’s and Julian Chang.
Blessed with West Coast beauty, a lither and slender figure and All-American looks straight out of a Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, Rae has walked down the catwalk in fashion shows such as Miami Swim Week, it’s no wonder that her modeling idol is Candace Swanepoel and that he dream is to earn her wings as a Victoria Secret’s Angel.
Currently based in North Carolina, the California-bred Rae loves her new home in the Carolinas, but no doubtedly reps the Left Coast as much as possible.
Below is my Q and A with Melissa as we talk modeling, fashion, how to look great for the beach this spring and summer and her newly adopted home’s sports teams and how the Carolina’s became the epicenter of the college sports world in men’s and women’s basketball and college football.
Name: Melissa Rae
Birthplace: Los Gatos, California
Modeling Agency: 3 Blackbird Management and Deco Models.
Robert D. Cobb: What kind of model do you consider yourself?
Melissa Rae: “I consider myself a high fashion and catalog model. I mostly do runway and print work. Although I do have an Instagram where I post a lot of my work and network with new clients, @themelissarae.”
Robert D. Cobb: What brands have you modeled for?
Melissa Rae: “Some of the brands I have recently modeled for have been Robb & Lulu, Tygerian Lace, Baes & Bikinis, The Art of Style Boutique, Hale Bob, Elly Maid, Wicked Things Boutique, Julian Chang, Yolan Cris, House of Elliot, Maria Elena Headpieces, Apple Branches Vintage, Moon and Lola, Humbly Made, Silvia Ulson and more.”
Robert D. Cobb: Which one do you enjoy modeling for the most?
Melissa Rae: “I love and cherish every brand that has given me the opportunity to work for them. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite because every brand is unique and modeled in a different way.
Although, my favorite show I’ve walked would have to be Miami Swim Week 2016, where I modeled Robb & Lulu, Baes & Bikinis, and Silvia Ulson.
It was an amazing experience to walk on the runway again after so many years. Fast paced and high energy, I was absolutely in love.”
Robert D. Cobb: Where has been your favorite place to shoot?
Melissa Rae: “My favorite place to shoot so far I would have to say, was a shoot I did with Celso Diniz, wearing Montce Swimwear, in Key Biscayne, Florida. It was a perfect day, we had the perfect location where the water wasn’t too deep and super clear, and there wasn’t many people around.
A couple that was sitting out sunbathing had the perfect music on, and it totally set a great mood for the shoot!”
Robert D. Cobb: What is the most exciting aspect of modeling?
Melissa Rae: “I would have to say the most exciting aspect in modeling is the places you get to travel and the people you get to meet. Starting from ground zero and working my way up, I have met so many amazing people along the way that have introduced me to new ways of thinking and given me advice and opportunities that can’t be forgotten or replaced.
I don’t think I would ever be able to forget anyone that helped me in my journey to the top.”
Robert D. Cobb: Any new projects coming up?
Melissa Rae: “I have a lot of small projects coming up but ultimately the next 2 months are spent training for Swim Week in Miami.”
Robert D. Cobb: You have a real All-American Abercrombie cover girl look, is there any clothing line that you’d ever dream of modeling for?
Melissa Rae: “I love American Apparel, it’s always been my dream to model for them. I would say Aerie, American Eagle, and Forever 21 as well. There’s a lot of brands I would love to work for although some may not be as recognized as what you see in your local mall.”
Robert D. Cobb: With spring now here and summer right around the corner, what fashion and style tips and trends do you have for looking good when the temperature drops?
Melissa Rae: “My favorite spring trend is a light cardigan. I love blazers as well. They give you that little warmth you need while adding an element to any outfit. For summer I love high-waisted shorts.
I have a pair in every color.
The perfect fitting pair of shorts is my favorite with a cute crop top and some sandals or tennis shoes. Other than that I would have to say don’t forget to wear sunscreen!”
Robert D. Cobb: Any plans for spring break?
Melissa Rae: “And no, no plans for spring break I have a full time job! Haha!”
Robert D. Cobb: Within the industry, who is your inspiration?
Melissa Rae: “My inspiration ever since I was 14, has definitely been Candice Swanepoel. Not only is she a Victoria’s Secret Angel which I inspire to be, she has an amazing humble view on life. She has a very loving and old-fashioned mentality.
She loves helping any cause to help save our planet, which I’m totally for!
She seems very down to earth and easy to get along with, which is what every model should strive to be. I believe she is very versatile when it comes to modeling, and can be used in many markets, as any good model can.
Not only that, but have you seen that walk of hers!”
Robert D. Cobb: What is your secret to staying in shape?
Melissa Rae: “My secret to staying in shape is not only working out, but drinking lots of water and eating right. I tend to work out for an hour 4-5 times a week. Sometimes if I’m very stressed I will up it, to 2 hours.
When it comes to eating right, I do my best not to eat fast food.
I also do not eat red meat. I tend to stay towards eating chicken or sometimes turkey for my protein.
Nuts are a great snack to fill you up, give you some protein, and energy as well. I always keep a can in my purse, just in case I get hungry.
My favorite are the honey roasted! Drinking water is absolutely key when it comes to great shape, hydration, and healthy skin. I don’t drink soda, juice, or drinks with sugar in it. Water tends to be the only thing I drink unless it’s a special occasion.”
Robert D. Cobb: Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies?
Melissa Rae: “My hobbies include jewelry making, sewing, skating, writing, hanging out with friends and family, swimming, traveling, doing make-up, dance, painting, and anything drawing or crafts. I also love my job being an administrative assistant at a retirement community where I currently reside.”
Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs?
Melissa Rae: “When it comes to sports my favorite thing to watch is the Olympics.
However, my favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers and my favorite baseball teams are the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. Football is definitely my favorite sport to watch.
You will always catch me Sunday night this time of year relaxing with my friends and the game on.”
Robert D. Cobb: Since you’re a West Coast girl living in the Carolinas, who do you like down there, Duke, UNC, State?
Melissa Rae: “UNC!”
Robert D. Cobb: Thoughts on UNC winning the men’s basketball title, South Carolina winning the women’s basketball title and Clemson winning the football national title?
Melissa Rae: “I think the UNC game was really good, for a while I didn’t know if they were gonna win, I was on the edge of my seat all night but let’s just say all of North Carolina was celebrating that night! I think SC women’s basketball have worked really hard and they deserved to win, they’re a great team!
Clemson I could care less for. Sorry Tigers fans!”
Robert D. Cobb: What are your favorite cities to travel to?
Melissa Rae: “My favorite cities to travel to would have to be Miami Beach, Florida; Laguna Beach, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Hollywood, California; Wilmington, North Carolina; and New York, New York.
Each brings a completely different experience when it comes to people, environment, and things to do.”
Robert D. Cobb: Differences between the West Coast and the East/South?
Melissa Rae: “Personally, I’ll always be a California girl. I love the West Coast and I visit whenever I get the chance. For me I think that the food there is to die for. The air is so crisp and fresh and her in the south, I have allergies year round!”
Robert D. Cobb: What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling?
Melissa Rae: “The best advice I could give to anyone aspiring in modeling would be to never give up. It takes a while to work your way into the industry and get your name out. You might not get those first 10, 50, or even 100 castings; But that 101th casting that you book might just be the one that puts your name on the map for good.
There’s going to be a lot of models that are similar to you, but don’t let that discourage you.
Just because they are similar does not mean that they are the same. Finding an agency that will help support you when you first get started, teach you the ways of the industry, and book you good jobs, I believe is definitely very important.
If you don’t believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities then it’s hard for other people to believe in you and have confidence in your abilities. The best advice I could give is to believe that you already have the job when you walk into the casting or audition.
I’ve learned if you do that, you are always more confident and comfortable, less nervous, and more likely to book it!”
Special thanks to Melissa Rae for her time during the Q and A interview process. Images used are the rightful property of their owners and are used with permission.