In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve dedicated our September Newsletter Spotlight to Visual Artist, Melanie Buenrostro, a multi-talented woman who has used her work to represent and champion the Latinx community. She has also worked with Poplinen as a model for our website and social content. Hope you enjoy our interview with Melanie as much as we did. Melanie filled us with wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration from her life and thoughts shared.
POPLINEN (P): Hi there! Thank you so much for accepting our invitation to highlight your story. Jumping into it, could you tell us about yourself –– where are you from, what's your background/family story?
MELANIE (M): Hi, I’m Melanie Buenrostro! I’m a Mexican-American Visual Artist based in LA, and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. I shoot video on a super 8mm camera, I just really connect with analog mediums. Same goes for music, it’s more fun for me to collect and play vinyl records.
P: Yes! Sometimes it’s the vintage way of doing things that feels so authentic and special. You’re also a model, that’s how we discovered you for the first time. Where do you take inspiration from with your modeling work?
M: Someone recently asked me what was the biggest compliment I’ve received. At the moment I didn’t even know what the answer to that question was. However, once I was able to sit with the question for a while, I realized the biggest compliment people have shared with me is that they were happy to see images of me modeling because they were able to see someone they could relate to both in looks (as a Latinx woman) and body type. That’s what inspires me because I didn’t see much of it growing up (well that, and in art & film). I love watching dancers, although I never took dance I take so much inspiration from their movements.
P: It's so true, that's what's so powerful about representation. When you see someone like you making a difference, you feel empowered to do the same. That leads to the next question, who do you see as a role model or guiding light in life?
M: There’s not one specific role model that I look up to, but I have had so many amazing, hardworking and strong women in my life. They have taught me the importance of kindness, determination, independence, and strength in vulnerability. Those are all values that keep me going when it come to pursuing my goals even when it feels difficult.
P: That is so special, and those qualities from the women in your life hold up the grit and grace needed to pursue your dreams. What is something you're proud of regarding your roots and heritage
M: This is a hard one because there is so much about where I come from I love. Being fluent in Spanish is such a gift because I can continue to learn about and maintain that part my heritage.
P: What are your thoughts on Latinx Heritage Month?
M: I feel like it’s definitely progress, and if there’s a month where there is a spotlight on the things that the Latinx community is doing then I’m all for it. Representation is important for underrepresented communities, and I would hope that even outside this month people are inspired to consider Latinx artists/creatives.
P: Speaking of other creatives...any other Latinx artists out there you'd like to mention for our audience to check out?
M: We’re in LA, there’s so many including many of my good friends. I admire the work El Cine LA (@somoselcine) do bringing film education and accessibility to the community. There’s also FEA (@f__e__a) that’s an archive of female and POC artists.
P: Thank you so much for sharing with us today. Is there an encouraging word you'd like to leave for our readers?
M: Lastly, I guess all I can say is to trust yourself. Things will not always go as you expect, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be an opportunity to grow and move closer to what it is you want to be doing. Take a chance to do the things you love. <3