Age 29, Birmingham, AL
This bubbly Southern belle offers endless, filter-free commentary on what she thinks about life, and will call on her spirit guide, Julia Sugarbaker of "Designing Women," whenever she needs to put someone in their place. Melissa’s easygoing garments cater to the girl-on-the-go who favors a modern, feminine style.
Melissa grew up surrounded by plants on her family's nursery in Mobile, Alabama. Her great-grandmother was a seamstress, and Melissa's interest in fashion design was sparked by watching her work. She also watched her aunt sewing clothes, and in high school, Melissa helped design a huge antebellum gown for a local event. Though she briefly dabbled in interior design, she quickly switched her major to apparel. After graduation, she headed off to Africa with the Peace Corps, where she struggled to learn French but excelled at teaching girls to sew, resorting to charades when her language skills failed her. Back in the U.S., she started a clothing company with her two best friends and fellow fashion grads. They all work full-time jobs to support their young business, and Melissa, who just turned 29, is freaking out about being an assistant mortgage broker at age 30, wondering when she’ll be free to pursue fashion all day every day.