Make Up: Val C
Stylist: Tiffany Dean
Hey, I'm where Google Maps said the address is but I don't see an entrance. Where exactly is the studio?" Melyssa asks over the phone.
Our studio in El Segundo is unmarked and harder to find than a DEA safehouse. The Taliban, the cast of Jersey Shore, or Mel Gibson's sanity could be hiding in our building and no one would be any wiser. Of all the six models we've shot there thus far, zero have found it on their first try. A phone call five minutes before the call time is an expected occurrence.
"It's kind of complicated, there aren't any signs. Do you see a roll-up door?" As I ask the question I hear an loud screech in the background.
"Oh crap! I gotta go!" Melyssa whispers. The phone goes dead.
Concerned, I try calling her back. No answer. I wait 10 minutes and try calling again. No answer. Another 15 minutes pass when I get a text from Melyssa: "LOL. Got pulled over in my hooptie drift car while I was talking to you. The window doesn't roll down so I had to open the door to talk to him. LOL. I'll be right there."
As I finish reading the message, a tri-colored S13 coupe with a blue body, black front bumper, and one red fender pulls up. The bumper is hanging off the radiator support and its right side skirt is hanging off to the side like KITT in Super Pursuit Mode (the original Pontiac and not the crap Ford version). There's no freaking way Melyssa's rocking this bucket . . .
The Nissan parks and out walks Melyssa in all her 5'10" glory. What followed was the oddest reaction. Normally, a dude rolling in something that unkempt would draw a clowning remark or two dozen, but this driver, being a smoking hot girl, made the janky 240 unbelievably cool. And for Melyssa, it upped her stock, making her endearing, and consequently, even hotter. I don't quite understand how the logic behind that works, but I think it has something to do with the different regions of the brain that process cars and girls overlapping.
Here's a fact: you're the first model to get popped for a fix-it ticket on the way to the photoshoot. What happened?
[laughs] I'm the proud owner of a beautiful masterpiece in the making, a '91 240SX, and the brake lights were out.
Did you buy the S13 to drift?
Yes and I love it! I asked around and sought advice from people in the drift scene on building a car and most of them suggested a 240SX. I searched online and checked out a few that were on sale. After I test drove this one, I knew I had to buy it. Ever since, I've been modifying it and making it more comfy to drive, yet still drift.
What modifications have you done?
Lowered suspension, Sparco Corsa seats and harnesses, and I got rid of the back seat and added a hot pink roll cage. It's girly and fun. Oh, and I have one of those pine tree air fresheners hanging from one of the hoops of the cage.
Have you tried drifting ?
I've taken Drift 101 lessons with Taka Aono. He is the best teacher ever!
How did you get into drifting?
Holding the title of 2010 Miss FD, I got to interview the drivers right after their winning run and I could feel their adrenaline and excitement. And just from the first event at Long Beach, I was hooked. Formula Drift created a drift monster in me. [laughs]
How's the Miss Formula D thing working out?
It's been great and I feel privileged. I really enjoy the atmosphere and sense of teamwork everyone has. Formula D is a very happy place.
What's your favorite moment to-date as Miss Formula D?
The days I make it through without tripping or falling out of my high heels. I fall a lot. [laughs] Besides that, it would be the ride-alongs. It's like the ultimate roller coaster ride.
Random fact number two: is it weird that you're taller than three-quarters of the drivers?
Yes, and on top of my 5'10", I'm in heels. But I don't think it's weird-I like being tall! I have to confess when I'm interviewing the guys in the paddock, I wear my Toms. That way they look taller on camera and their faces aren't in my tatas.
Bald spots: sexy?
On a person's head, silly! Speed, Line, Angle, and Overall Impression are the judging criteria for Formula D, which do you think is the most important?
All the above, plus some rhythm.
Ah, motion of the ocean-very important. Face, height, curves, and the ability to shade a driver are the judging criteria for an umbrella girl, which do you think is the most important?
The ability to stand in those heels all day.
Do you have a favorite umbrella girl? Who's the hottest?
My favorite would have to be Janelle Ha. She's silly and talented. Hottest? I'm usually too busy checking out the drivers at work behind the wheel. [laughs]
Have you tried grip racing?
Yes. I attended an advance performance driving school in Nevada. I used a Corvette. That's a fun, top-heavy drive.
That's what, uh, she said. Between the two motorsport disciplines, which do you prefer?
Drifting. It's nice not having to fight the wheel.
Another random fact is that you've traveled. A lot. What's your favorite country and why?
I'd have to say the Philippine Islands. The culture is so rich with love and friendliness. The people there smile and are welcoming. The most beautiful beach I've ever been to is Boracay Island in the Philippines. The sand is white, the sky is clear, and the water is perfect. Everything feels HD-it's epic.
Hmm . . . I hate to say but it would probably be Tijuana, Mexico. Need I say why? No? Good. Thanks. Next question.
Here's another fact: you've purchased a plot of land in the Motherland to take care of kids. Are they yours?
Yes, but not in that way. [laughs] These kids are the children in the Eastern Samar province where my mama grew up, in the Philippines. I have plans to develop a preschool and medical clinic. At the moment, the land is being used to farm rice, but after I get the permits approved this year, I can move on to the next step: building the facilities. The village could benefit from some basic first aid, therefore an area will be dedicated to a clinic. I also want to educate the kids about what lies past the ocean. I want to show them that there are so many more opportunities available to them. I hope to inspire the youth and encourage them to think and dream big.
Very impressive. You're like the Angelina Jolie of the Philippines. How did you get into charitable work?
It started with family vacations to the Philippines. My cousin is a teacher at the high school so we decided to repaint all the walls. It was a cheerier environment instantly-it's amazing what a fresh coat of yellow paint can do for your mood. Afterward a bunch of locals and I came together and built a basketball court to encourage the kids to go to school and stay there. Now my mom's old high school from the small province of Samar has a basketball team! Next, we worked on getting new wheels for the town's only 15-year-old ambulance. It feels amazing to help others, and ever since then it's been a passion of mine.
When you're not out saving the world, what do you like to do?
I like to drive, take my dog Einstein to the beach, watch Vampire TV shows and movies, play with hypnotherapy, read books on Astral Travel, true stories by nomads, Chakra work, and read up on conspiracy theories like extra-terrestrials.
UFOs? What, like, you believe in them?
I've been known to go out to deserts or mountains and look for E.Ts. Einstein and I can spend hours out on a summer night. It's therapeutic just being out there.
What if the UFOs were less E.T. and more Independence Day? You do remember what happened to that chick standing on top of the building with the welcome sign . . .
Yeah, I also hope they bring Elvis back.
[Laughter] Who's the hottest alien from a movie?
Number 6 from Battlestar Galactica.
Ah, good choice! As for us homo-sapiens, what do you look for in a guy?
Wit, nice teeth, and sobriety.
Sobriety? [laughter] That has to be my all-time favorite answer for that question. Let's be real, if a guy reading this meets your criteria, what's his chance of getting your number?
Chances are great. My number is 555-555-5555. Better yet, you can Facebook me.
For our final factoid: you're the first model ever to, ahem, grace the cover of 2NR again, how's it feel to do us twice?
It feels fantastic! Let me know when you're ready for another round.
That's what, uh, she said. Lastly, any little-known facts about yourself that you'd like to impart?
I don't like the feeling of wet skin or hair touching my dry skin, I have a birthmark on my lower lip, and I can levitate.
Birthday: June 5
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Thank you list: Thanks to Carter, Prestigious Models, Formula Drift, and WPT.