Inspiring Latina: Meet MelRo, the Model Fighting for Foster Care Reform

Inspiring Latina: Meet MelRo, the Model Fighting for Foster Care Reform

You even became suicidal because, while parts of your life had become more glamorous, you still hadn’t dealt with that childhood trauma or healed from it. Is that right?

Yes. I learned early on in foster-care that you cover up your issues so that a foster-family would consider adopting you, and that became my reality as an adult: Cover up with make-up, weaves and expensive clothes in hopes that the world would accept me, and never know I was hurting. It was very hard looking in the mirror and not knowing who I was looking at as well as being sad by what I saw. Even worse, I felt like my pictures were valuable but my life wasn’t.

Unfortunately, I believe that many women can relate to this. We spend so much money on looking great, but no amount of lip-liner, contour palettes or perfect matte lipsticks can cover up unhealed pain. No state-of-the-art Instagram filter can take away the constant feeling of ugliness. Pretty is an inside job first.

Why and when did you decide to get help, to try to overcome this pain and trauma?

I look at myself as a house, and everything inside of me is the furniture. I have to LIVE in my house until I leave this earth, and I want to love where I'm living. With all of the unforgiveness, anger, resentment, rejection, abandonment and painful memories I was carrying, it was like my "furniture" was out of place or run down, making the house a miserable place to be. Attempting to take my life was my major eye-opener.  I realized that I couldn't heal what I didn't face, and that if I had any hope of living a good life, I'd have to embark on a journey (though long, and not easy) of healing.

Today, you use the celebrity you receive as a model to discuss issues important to you, topics like teen dating violence, foster care, trauma, healing and more. Why is this important for you?

Modeling is a gift, but my purpose is to inspire and ignite change. I am very thankful that my gift and purpose have merged together for the benefit of others. People are hurting, and they need real messages of hope. They need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they also need to know HOW to get there. That is important to me.

What has been your inspiration throughout this long and painful journey?

I'm inspired by the pain that I see others go through. It inspires me to keep going, and it lets me know that the work I am doing is needed. Instead of saying, "someone should do something about that," I believe in being that person. I recently jumped at the opportunity to join with a phenomenal organization called Children's Rights, a national advocacy group that uses the law to protect abused and neglected children.

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