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Melinda Maria grew up in Spokane, Washington and moved to LA after a stint in New York City because she was "dying to see the world." Upon arriving on the west coast, she assisted a producer for several years before balancing jobs as a make-up artist and jewelry designer. It was her boyfriend's advice that really inspired her to go for it and focus solely on jewelry design. "He said, 'You don't want to be the jack of all trades, you want to be the master of one.'" He later became her husband.
Maria got her first big Hollywood break, by fashion standards, when actress Hayden Panettiere was photographed wearing a pair of her earrings. Now celebrities are seen wearing her work daily. Although she is known for the concave shapes in many of her designs, the designer told us that we can expect something a little different from her upcoming collection. Inspired by the time she had taken off after the births of her two young sons, she emerged with some extra edge as a designer. "When I started sketching this collection, that was a driving force," she explained of her time playing in dirt and sweatpants. "I wanted something that was a little edgier, a little tougher."
We sat down with the jewelry designer and mom to Max Magic and Levi Lucky (best names ever) at one of our favorite spots on Melrose where she told us that her cup is definitely half-full.
What are you drinking today?
"Straight-up carrot juice, not on the rocks."
What was your favorite childhood pastime?
"I would make whole houses or play-sets out of weeds and flowers. For instance, for my little doll I would make showers out of tulips. I would figure out a way to stand them up and drape them over to make the shower. I was a horrible student but I was good at creative stuff. I loved making little worlds for my dolls out of everything in my mom's yard. My mom thought it was great but she hated that I'd pick all of her flowers."
Floral or plaid?
"Floral in spring, plaid in winter."
What is one book that you've read that you'd like to see turned into a movie?
"The only books I read these days are children's books. Goodnight Gorilla."
What is your best styling trick?
"I feel like the top bun always lifts up your whole face. Maybe it is because it is actually pulling your skin up but it's kind of like a natural facelift. The top bun always makes you look a little more youthful."
Half-empty or half-full?
What's the last album you bought that you can't stop listening to?
"I just bought ten Beastie Boys songs and we've been listening to them all-day all last week."
High heels or sneakers?
"Since I'm a mom, sneakers. But really cool sneakers!"
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?
"I'm kind of a neurotic mom. I go in and make sure they're there, breathing, and I kiss them goodnight. Then I kiss my husband goodnight."
Describe the perfect Saturday night?
"I've just put both my kids down and then anything with my husband, whether we're with friends having dinner or going to a movie or going dancing. Anything with my husband, I like him a lot."
Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake?
"Oh my god. Both. That's like deciding between my children. They're both so amazing."
Any addictions we should know about?
"Every Friday night after my husband and I get home, we usually go to dinner on Friday night, it's Shark Tank. For me, as a business owner, it's so interesting to hear these stories, their struggles, what their profit margins are. It's a brilliant show."
Turquoise or ruby?
What is your most popular dinner dish?
"I make a good Chilean seabass with a miso ginger glaze. [Also] last year, my husband built me a garden, for the kids too because I think it's so fun that the kids go out and we garden. It's really them just moving dirt around from bed to bed. But every night we pick something from the garden and I'll cook it for dinner."
"Definitely Alexander McQueen, I just think he was such an innovator and so fearless. He was the end-all be-all for me. For sure."
Maria's spring collection will launch March 15 at 40 Nordstrom stores nationwide.
· Melinda Maria [Official Site]
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