Professional dancer at Paris’ Moulin Rouge, actress, TV presenter, and a bit-time model who thrived (or survived) on a diet of champagne and canapés. On the outside, it seemed like Melissa Ambrosini had it all. On the inside, it was a slightly different story – with Melissa’s body seriously suffering from the stress she was putting it under.
Over-worked and underfed, in 2010 Melissa was admitted into hospital with a long list of health issues including serious hormonal imbalances and depression, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and a slew of viruses. It was time for her to stop and take stock of her life.
Fast forward seven years, and it’s a bit of a different story… Bestselling author. Speaker. Self-help guru. Wellness expert. To say Melissa has turned her life around is very much an understatement. Here, we speak to her about everything from her path to wellness warrior, biggest career fears, and teaming up with Cotton On Body for their latest campaign.
You’ve been doing this since 2011. Was it something you always set out to do?
No, absolutely not. I was a professional dancer, actor and presenter and it wasn’t until I ended up in hospital in 2010 that I realised how unhappy and unwell I was and that things needed to change. From there I knew I had to get healthy and happy again, and so began my journey.
Do you think that having a background in performing has helped with your current career?
Absolutely! Being a speaker you need confidence to get up on stage and hold a crowd and performing has definitely given me that. I believe everything happens for a reason and all that performing work was training or rehearsals for my career now, which is what I believe is my true calling in life.
Would you ever go back to acting?
Never say never!
What has been your career highlight?
Creating and birthing Mastering Your Mean Girl out into the world.
Why did you see a need to teach people to master their inner Mean Girl?
Because everyone has an inner mean girl; it’s that fear-based negative voice inside our head that says you’re not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. No one is exempt of this, and if you were, you would be enlightened and have transcended this body by now.
How much time does it take for you to pen a book?
It’s a hard question to answer because I wrote a massive chunk (around 40,000 words) of Mastering your Mean Girl in a few weeks, then I didn’t touch it for months, then went back to it and wrote another 30,000 words. So it’s hard to say exactly. That was over a few years.
Have you already begun work on the next book?!
Sure have! This one is all about relationships. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
What has been the biggest fear you’ve had to face in your career?
A few years ago I was about to go on a national tour around Australia with one of my events and my best friend passed away. The stress from that sent my health spiraling downward and I had to cancel the tour. I was devastated and scared because I didn’t want to let people down, but I had to listen to my body and it was crashing. Often we create such a drama in our own head before it’s even happened. And when I announced I was canceling the tour, everyone was so loving and supportive and all that stress, fear and worry was for nothing. Us humans are funny aren’t we?!
And the greatest challenge?
Mastering my own inner mean girl. 😉
You recently teamed up with Cotton On Body for their latest campaign. Is this because it aligned well with your personal brand?
I only work with brands and on campaigns that are aligned to my brand and mission. I won’t work on anything else. I run a heart-centered business and every product I create and put out into the world is done with the utmost love, attention and authenticity to serve my tribe – so I won’t work with any brands that don’t align with that.
Can you tell me about the campaign?
Cotton On BODY really are taking sleepwear to the next level with Premium Sleepwear, which promotes a good night’s sleep. It’s designed for comfort with super soft, breathable bamboo viscose material to enhance relaxation, plus it feels awesome on your skin. What’s interesting is that the brand has adopted technology from its active range and applied the same philosophy to sleepwear. Such features include moisture wicking technology, which ensures the material stays cool and dry through the night. Fascinating stuff! We spend a third of our life sleeping, yet most would have a small draw dedicated to pyjamas. It’s important to sleep in the right gear.
So why is a comfy pair of pyjamas (like Cotton On BODY’s!) so important?
Sleep affects everything and plays such a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough good quality sleep every night can help protect your mental and physical health. It can also increase your quality of life and relationships. A good night’s sleep really is as important to your overall wellbeing as eating a healthy balanced diet and being active and it’s important that we continue to educate people on how crucial sleep is. Cotton On Body also conducted a survey which revealed just how important sleep is to women across the country. In fact, 40 per cent of women said that a good night’s sleep was more important than a good workout – so you can see how beneficial quality sleep is to us and rightly so.
So how exactly does sleep affect good health practices?
Lack of sleep sets your brain to make poor food and life choices. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision making and impulse control, making it a lot easier to reach for those quick and easy junk food choices. When you are in this state it can feel like being drunk as you don’t have the sharp mental clarity you usually have to make good choices in all areas of your life.
Can you talk me through what a typical eating plan would be for you?
No day is ever the same, but I usually start my day with a big glass of filtered water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. I then have my fatty latte (recipe from my ebook The Glow Kitchen). And lunch and dinner are both loads of veggies, good quality fats like organic grass fed and grass finished butter and organic protein.
And what exercise can we find you doing each week?
Being a former dancer means I love moving my body and I love to mix things up. I do yoga, dancing, pilates, walking and F45. Each day when I wake up, I tune into my body and see what I feel like doing, then I do that.