Women Like Us: An interview with Melissa Surman

A perspective into our friends’ minds.

Meet Melissa Surman. Melissa is a fun-spirited woman who is silly, adventurous, and loving. You’ll learn more about who she is in the interview. For work, she is a whole sale account manager for an eye-ware manufacturer where she manages all of the e-commerce websites. She is the go-to person for any client questions.

Melissa opted in for an interview because she thinks self-confidence, beauty, and makeup are all connected. She sees this as an opportunity to relate to other women and possibly help them by sharing her journey with self-love and self-care.

1) Tell us about yourself. If you had to describe your identity, what key words do you think of? 

I always try to lighten the energy.

Adventurous – I like to travel and try new foods and places.

I would say I am very empathetic. I care about how my friends and family feel and how I make others feel.
There’s Dog Mom life, as you know, I have a dog named Repo.

For fun, I like to travel, eat, go out with friends or my boyfriend whether it’s trying a new place or going to a comedy show.”

Self-Care, Self-Love & Beauty

2) What tactics have you found to be the most useful for building your self-confidence?

For me, I would say working out. Working out for me is just as much mental as it is physical. I feel like it helps me clear my head, relieve my stress, it helps me relax (if I’m doing yoga). I definitely feel off balance if I don’t workout for a week.

I also think surrounding myself with positive people.

Friends. Family. People who are not only positive but like me for who I am, don’t make me feel like I need to be somebody else or wear something else or fit into a certain mold. Surrounding myself with positive people is a huge one.” 

3) When you’re having a bad day, what helps you get out of the funk?

I think, working out definitely helps if I’m having a really bad day. Cardio or yoga can put me in a better mood.

Also, doing something to take my mind off of it helps. Whether it’s drinks with a friend, watching a movie, or taking Rep (my dog) to the park.

Something to help make me happy or laugh.”

4) What are the key areas you focus on for your beauty routine (outside of the makeup wheelhouse)?

Making sure I wash my face in the morning and at night. Probably only a few years ago I really started to focus on washing my makeup off at night. It definitely makes a difference to do that because my skin is clearer and better.

Aside from face washing, I try to do a face mask every other week. I like to try different ones. There are some that unclog pores, and ones that focus on moisture in the winter.

When I used to go to the gym, I used to enjoy sitting in the steam room and I feel like that helps with skin too. Now I just take a pretty hot shower and stand there for a bit longer for the extra steam.

I primarily like to focus on my skin.

Well. Actually, the other area I like to focus on is what I eat. When I used to eat cheese, I noticed my skin would break out. Now I try not to eat cheese and I’ve cut out a lot of sugar and that helps too.

I honestly probably get a haircut once or twice a year. I’m super low-maintenance when it comes to my hair. Eyebrows I do myself. The only other thing I do consistently is that I go to the nail salon every other week. 

healthy eating

5) Do you wear makeup? If so, what does your makeup routine consist of? 

“I do wear makeup. My daily routine is pretty basic. I use Dr. Jart+ BB cream as my foundation. It’s basically a tinted moisturizer. I like it because it’s really light, it doesn’t feel like you have anything on, and it does cover blemishes.

I do use concealer under my eyes because otherwise it looks like I don’t sleep. [laughs]

I also pencil in my eyebrows. I use Sephoras light brown mechanical pencil and I also use Anastasia’s pencil. I switch the two.

And if I’m going to work, I use mascara. I do try a lot of products. Right now I’m using a Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara. If I’m going to work, I also put a light powder on my face – it’s by Shiseido – and I like it because it helps prevent my skin from getting oily. It’s called a Finish Powder

And if I’m going out for drinks, I would add a little bit of Bronzer, I use Hoola by Benefit and then I add Highlighter, the highlighter I’m using now is called FilmStar which actually has a bronze and a highlight but I really just use the highlight.
Very rarely do I ever wear eyeshadow.

Sometimes if I’m trying to make it look like I’m wearing eyeshadow, I just use a little bit of highlighter.

I like the nude, fresh look. 

6) What is your favorite self-care activity before bedtime?

“Definitely washing my face. I always do that before I get in bed.

And I have a night cream. I don’t put it on every single night but I put it on most nights. I try to get off my phone by 10:00 or 10:30 to let my eyes reset before bed.

A lot of nights I read.

Sometimes my boyfriend and I watch a show or we play with our dog.” 

7) If you feel comfortable with this, what is your favorite feature about yourself? What’s one of your insecurities? (Intentionally vague question)

My favorite feature is probably my skin. When I was younger, I definitely, I feel like I wore too much makeup or felt like I needed to wear makeup to perfect my skin. I feel like now as I’ve gotten older, I don’t know if it’s because I work out, or drink more water, or am careful with what I eat. I feel much more comfortable going out without makeup.

I feel like I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m much more comfortable in my skin whereas in my past I was much more self conscious.

My least favorite feature, or my insecurity, is my nose. It runs in the Dad side of my family. It’s definitely my nose.

You know how when you’re little there are those kids, plastic tables with bright color? The kids and I were kicking these chairs and then for some reason the chair fell on my face and I got a bump on my nose and the bump never went away. When I was younger, it was to the point that I never wanted a side view picture.”

8) What’s helped you feel more confident in your own skin and maybe be more accepting of that?

“Oh, I don’t know. I would say my boyfriend has been a huge part of it. Before him, I was definitely a bit more self-conscious and felt like I needed to impress people when dating or going out. I feel like he makes sure I always feel beautiful and that I don’t need makeup or doing a lot.

Also, probably getting away from old acquaintances, or people who were very materialistic and social climbing type of people. Those people made me feel like I had to dress a certain way or look a certain way and it was because they were conscious about the perception of the group which then made me self-conscious.

Now I focus on what I want to do and who I want do it with. Now if I’m doing my routine or meeting with my friends now, I might dress cute but I don’t feel like I have to do anything other than being myself.

I don’t feel like I need lash extensions or lipliner.”

9) How have you learned to love yourself over time?

“I really learned to love myself… I stopped comparing myself to other people.

I would say, when I was in high school or even college, you always see a girl who’s skinnier than you, or who knew how to do her hair, or how to do her makeup and she looked amazing. But if you always do that, you’ll always feel your flaws. And you never know what’s going on in their head and their own insecurities. I feel like if you wake up every day and accept yourself for who you are, you’ll be happier.

And if there are things you’re not happy about, taking small steps to improve and do the things that make you feel better in a way that’s healthy.

Like if I feel overweight, I do something to help me make progress like working out. I focus on what I am capable of changing and doing it.

And also, I think focusing on the good things too. You know. You can wake up every day and feel “I’m tired,” “I hate my job.” 

Or you can wake up and thing “I’m breathing” “I’m waking up” “I have a job” “I’m healthy” “I’m able to work out” or walk… It’s finding the little things that are important instead of picking apart the things you can’t change or have no control over and driving yourself crazy. “

Eileen: “I’m proud of your story and I’m honored that you’re sharing this with me. I feel like each person has their story of what they’re insecure about it and if we can share those out with the world, it will help other people realize they aren’t alone. And they can learn how to build their confidence. It’s inspiring to hear your story and I love it.”

“I like that you’re doing this blog and what it stands for. I like that it’s meaningful and I really like the way you write. If I’m going to be a part of something, I want to be a part of something like that. Who’s to say if someone reads a post and they can relate and realize they aren’t the only one that feels that way. I’m really proud of you for creating that.

Eileen: Thank you! We’re on a mission and I’m glad you are part of it. Ok. Last one. It’s a big one.

Advice for Other Women

9) If you had one piece of advice for women out there fighting to overcome insecurities and building their confidence, what is that advice?

I think the main thing that I feel like helped me and I think will help others too, or put you in a good mindset, is stop comparing yourself to others because your journey is different. Your outcome will be different and maybe your ultimate goal is different than theirs, and that’s OK.

“In the end, accept yourself for who you are and be kind to yourself. You only have one life. One body. And you can choose to be happy.”

Melissa Surman
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