Melissa Cheyenne was born in Paris, France and brought to America before the age of 5. She was then placed into a higher education as a gifted child, as well as speech therapy. From an early age, Melissa Cheyenne has always been an avid reader, as well as directing her real interest towards her artistic abilities. Throughout her life, she has used writing as a personal tool to help her overcome certain obstacles, thereby, enriching her great love for writing.
Melissa Cheyenne spent several years working in law firms, alongside a handful of very high profile lawyers as a paralegal. She quickly navigated her way through various practices and areas of law. Because of her restlessness and boredom with the legal system all together, she decided she wanted something more. By fate, her life had a very positive change and direction. She then spent 4 years working with her late husband, a very successful stock analyst. However, tragedy struck and life suddenly sent her into a whole new direction – A path that had always been in her mind throughout her life, which is becoming a skilled model within the commercial and high fashion modeling industry, as well as continuing to pursue her writing interest.
In addition to her modeling and writing, she is also bilingual (English and French). She is currently re-learning the piano, as she enjoys writing lyrics, as well. Her other hobbies include ballet, frequenting museums and she enjoys all aspects of Fine Arts. Interestingly, her favorite sport is Auto Racing and she is partially trained and skilled with it.
Melissa Cheyenne recently phoned in from L.A. to talk about her career, overcoming life’s obstacles and playing in her Corvette “Aja” late at night when nobody’s around.
The Entertainment Nexus– You are booked for 3 F H M Magazine in three different countries. Which countries are you booked for?
Melissa Cheyenne Montgomery– I’m booked in France, South Africa and Indonesia. I’m very happy about that and very, very excited about that.
TEN– When will the issues be released?
MCM– they will be out June, July and August.
TEN– When did you know that modeling was something that you wanted to do?
MCM– I got into modeling very late in the game. I got into it about 12 months ago. It was all due to my late husband. My husband died a very tragic death.
TEN– I’m sorry to hear that.
MCM– It was devastating. It will be 3 years in August. It took me a couple years to get my head together after he passed. He always wanted me to get into modeling, so I did. I met the right people and things quickly fell into place. Everything is going smoothly with me.
TEN– You get to shoot in exotic locations with some of the top photographers in the industry like Arthur St. John.
MCM– Yes, Arthur St. John is wonderful. He’s been my mentor and he is the one that started me in all of this. He has gently steered me toward everything and help me along and he still does today. He’s a good friend for helping me as much as he has.
TEN– Where are some of the locations that you have done photo shoots?
MCM– It has been local all around Los Angeles.
TEN– Prior to modeling you were a paralegal for high profile attorneys. Can you say who you did work for?
MCM– Gregory McClintock, Esq. – he represents the Western region of the world on environmental issues.
TEN– Did you ever get to work on any famous cases?
MCM– Actually I did some years ago. I worked with a few of the defense attorneys on the O.J. Simpson case as a contract paralegal. I worked with Kardashian. I also worked on a contractual basis for a few large Entertainment firms, Tyre Kamins Granof Menes and Howard King, who represented a handful of famous music Artists. I focused on synch licensing agreements with the UK, copyright issues and also helped litigate cases. I was then recruited from an in-house counsel corporate securities practice with Ron Stauber, Esq. – as his corporate securities paralegal. At the time he was training me and my intent was to gain enough hours for a license. However, I decided to stop working in the legal industry all together, when I met the love of my life – my late husband. I married and relocated from the Los Angeles area to the Dana Point area and assisted him with his business, which was a stock publication and analyst reports.
TEN– I bet that was interesting.
MCM– You know, I worked in many areas of Law and at first, it was exciting to learn all the different practices, but it bored me very quickly. (Laughs) It’s not the lifestyle that I want to lead ever again. I got away from it and my late husband never wanted me to look back. I worked very hard and long hours. There is no creativity to it. You have to use mostly one side of your brain, for the most part. Some attorneys would like to differ on that because of certain strategies at play, but I never saw any of it as a creative process. I always suffered with that. I always felt I needed to have something else going on with myself because I’m an artist. I’m a writer and a painter. It was hard for me to be happy just working in the legal field.
TEN– You decided to expand and branch out and explore your creative side.
MCM– Yes, and it was long overdue. For someone like me, to do that type of work for years is unsustainable. It’s almost like you’re dying inside. That’s how I felt…like something was missing and I felt as though I just become a zombie. (Laughs) I lost interest. Nothing stimulated my mind anymore. When I met my husband, fortunately I was able to stop and really focus on my writing and was very successful with that. Writing allows me to bring out my creativity, which really helps me out a great deal. It was a very wonderful life-changing experience.
TEN– It probably helped you overcome a lot of things in your life.
MCM– it has helped me overcome many, many things in my entire life. It has also helped me of course, after my husband died. I do have good material. I have three projects that I’m working on besides my modeling career. I plan on incorporating my writing into my career.
TEN– Do you write stories or lyrics or poems?
MCM– Everything. I’ve written lyrics for other musicians. The project I’m working on now are stories and ideally – movies. It’s probably going to take me another year to finish what I’m working on at this time. I have another screenplay writer helping me move forward with it. My goal is to find Tim Burton and I know he will devour it. It’s definitely a film for Tim Burton to direct.
TEN– Have the lyrics you’ve written been used by accomplished national acts?
MCM– I have written lyrics for a few musicians that have material international. The persons I’ve done this with are not in the mainstream as of today, but they are definitely accomplished Artists.
TEN– What type of music do you write lyrics for?
MCM– It’s more pop or mainstream.
TEN– You’ve also written for movies as well.
MCM– Yes, I’ve helped with the writing and some of the stories with the Harry Potter movies.
TEN– Not only are you an accomplished model and writer, but you like to race cars as well?
MCM– My late husband got me into it. He was a stock analyst, in Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur, etc. He had a very successful career and had a brilliant mind. He was actually a genius. On the flipside -one of his passions was cars. He collected them, invested in them. He loved collecting the older collector cars. He also loved the fast European exotics. He had a passion that was so alive for this. It was his Art. He was an accomplished racer/driver, i.e. went to racing school. This is how I gained my own skills by and through him. We had a few Pro Karts at the racetrack and he taught me driving skills on the track. We really had a lot of fun with the cars. He used to joke with me and asked me: “How can you drive a Ferrari in heels?” On the onset of the economy crashing – we had to start selling the cars. I have one car, my 50th anniversary Z06 Corvette. Her name is “Aja” and she is my badass car.
TEN– What color is she?
MCM– Black! She is evil and wicked looking. She’s got illegal black tinted windows. (Laughs) I’ll never let go of her. The final car I had to let go of was very hard because I wanted to keep forever. It was a 74 Jaguar E-type…a beauty. J. David had restored her to perfection. The original owner of the car was Ringo Starr. So, you can imagine what a collector she was. I have Aja left and our racing helmets in the garage.
TEN– Do you still go out at night when the traffic is low and drive fast?
MCM– I do. I certainly do. I take her out but I have to be careful and not get too many speeding tickets. (Laughs) Unfortunately I have quite a few. It’s all good. I usually take her out on the toll road where it’s very barren and just let her go. (Laughs)
TEN– The next time we make it out to LA you have to take us for a ride in her.
MCM– Oh, I would love to!
TEN– You have an 18-year-old daughter who is a writer/model as well.
MCM– Yes, I had my daughter when I was 21. She is amazing. She is also a writer. She is the writer for the Tim Burton movie – I have a beautiful daughter – I’m truly blessed in every way with her.
TEN– How did you meet Victoria Talbot?
MCM– I met Victoria through Arthur St. John. Arthur has set me up with everyone and anyone. He’s been like a manager to me.
TEN– What expectations do you have for your career working with Victoria?
MCM– A lot, I know that she is going to brand my name with features and other things that are coming out that she has mentioned to me. I love to get good, consistent work with certain companies. She has mentioned a lot of good things. I have a feeling she’s going to get me there.
TEN– If anyone can do it Victoria and Hype Inc. can.
MCM– Oh yes!
TEN– Okay, it’s time to switch gears on you now. Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you never revealed before an interview.
MCM– Disturbing about myself? After I lost my husband I went through a phase where I was suicidal. I was devastated. Disturbing about myself, I don’t know because I’ve been so confined in law firms. I didn’t have a normal life like other girls that go out and party… I’ve never done that. I never got into any trouble. (Laughs) I’m trying to think as I talk for what to come up with. I guess the most disturbing thing about me is the loss of my husband and how devastating it was for me in every sense.
TEN– That’s very understandable. Is there anything else that you would like to add or say? Perhaps the three philosophies that you like to live by?
MCM– One of the biggest is: “Never, never, never give up.” I actually have that on a card I keep it with me wherever I go. There is also a saying: “Anybody can be a nobody, everyone can be a somebody.” And the other is: “What is in the heart is what matters most.” I have always believed this all my life. I was born in Paris, France and I was adopted at an early age, brought to America by an adoptive mother who was just horrific to me. I have no contact with her and have not for years. I have always felt my whole life that no matter what I went through or felt, that I always had to keep my heart. Some people become bitter when they get through things or when things happen and it changes people. I have always made sure that never changes with me and that I still have a good heart. I always will, that’s very important to me.
I want to thank Melissa for taking the time to share and Victoria Talbot for setting up yet another great interview.