Interview with Melina Mercado
• Photographer •
Please explain exactly what it is you do or known for?
I am known for being a “creative genius”. I am currently the Creative Director for the company I co-own so I run anything from photo shoots, designs, videos to social media and branding.
So what is the motivation behind your whole movement?
The goal of The XIII Life is to showcase how intertwined the cultures of music, art, fashion and skateboarding are. We work on establishing the “lifestyle” for different brands. The motivation is just seeing how those we idolize as “winners” or “people to be” in our society wear brands that encompasses a whole lifestyle, not just what they wear.
Who are some people you would like to work with?
I would love to work with people like Pharrell. I think he is the epitome of a “lifestyle ambassador” from his music and art to his skateboarding and clothing brand. He best represents the bridging of the gap we want to achieve.
How is the Internet changing what you do?
The internet is the powerhouse behind industries like the one I work in. Social media is such a powerful tool. You can become instantly famous from one person seeing and re-posting your work. It is definitely important to keep my followers aware of what I do and what I am working on. You never know who is going to see it.
Are you down with the whole twitter thing?
How is this an important outlet for you and others? I’ve actually taken a hiatus from Twitter. It can be a useful tool because you can relay information quicker and to a broader audience than alot of other outlets, but you have to also be aware that any thing you say can and WILL be used against you lol. If I get back on it, Im definitely keeping it strictly business.
Do you feel like what you are doing is important and in what way beneficial to you sector?
I feel like it is beneficial because with all the modern day technology, I feel like ART is slowing dying. People are forgetting how to get back to the basics. Art is foundation of everything. As a musician you are an artist. As someone in fashion you are an artist. As a skateboarder you are an artist. You skate, listen to music, and wear your favorite brand on your t-shirt. We just want to create the movement showcasing the connection, and everybody wins.
How do you separate yourself from others?
I like to consider myself a very positive thinking person. Art is the foundation of everything but it also the hardest to succeed in because so many people want to do it, and a lot of people don’t want to pay for it. And working in an industry like this where you are constantly looking into people’s lives i.e “What is this person wearing?” “Where is this person going?” “What’s going on over here?”, you have to grow to become very sure of yourself so as not to become something you are not.
Who were some people you interacted with this year?
We’ve been working with the biggest skateboard brand out right now DGK and Gold Wheels so we have a good working relationship with them. We also just recently worked with Pink Dolphin and Mint Clothing. I live in LA now so almost everyday I meet new people significant to the work I do and I look forward to all the work that’s ahead.
Could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?
Long term goal is to have my company be the primary contact when it comes to anything having to do with branding, management, image consulting, product placement etc. Like your artist needs clothes? Call The XIII Life. You need to throw a dope event? Call the XIII Life. You need some skaters for your video? Call the XIII Life. You need a custom design outfit by 3pm tomorrow? Call the XIII Life.
Social Media Links?
Personal: @belletheQueen Business: @theXIIILife