Today we're featuring the amazing Melissa Chan, who's always a bright light and inspiration to all of us at Sabbatical Beauty! <3
Tell us about you!
Hello! My name is Melissa, and I’m a PhD candidate at USC’s EALC department. I research Sinophone cinema, particularly theories of the body, gender, and visuality in Hong Kong martial arts cinema. That is my official academic spiel. In the regular world, I watch a lot of movies and television. Lately, I have been really into the post-apocalyptic and supernatural genre. I also eat an exorbitant amount of food and travel once in awhile. Most of the time, I’m heading somewhere in Asia. This past winter, my family and I went to my parents’ birthplace, Burma (Myanmar), and it was one of the best trips ever because of the cultural sites, family visiting, and the food. I am obsessed with organizing things and playing with makeup and skincare. One of my favorite pastimes is going through all the things I’ve amassed over the years, sorting them out, and finding or DIYing new storage solutions. Most of all, I love my at times strange family and friends, dogs in general, and the Sabbatical Beauty community.
If you were an SB product, which product would you be, and why?
I would definitely be the Lavender Bath Butter. I start off kind of intimidating because I seem hard and difficult to work with at first. But, if someone takes the time and effort to work with me, I become soft and foamy. I bubble up and become a bigger presence in your life than you initially expected. I also make an effort to smell good everyday. Eventually, people realize that I’m really all bubbles and not hard at all.
What makes you angry?
The patriarchy, mansplaining, and generally hierarchies that seek to marginalize groups and communities that are deemed “different.” I come from an extended family that was very hierarchical, and sons were seen as more valuable than daughters. Luckily, I have a really strong and awesome mom, who I call Mama Chan, and a feminist dad, Papa Chan. Both of them tell me and my scientist sister not to take BS from anyone, to treat everyone equally, be kind and patient, and that you can do anything that you set your mind to and to not let anyone tell you otherwise.
What makes you happy?
My family, friends, and dogs really make me happy. Even though sometimes there is heartache, I know that these people will always have my back in the end. That thought really just puts a smile on my face everyday. These past few months, the community that has formed around Sabbatical Beauty and placing an importance on self case has also really made me a happier person. I really used to think of self care as simply down time every once in awhile, but the community has really expanded my mind on how we think of and practice self care regularly in the form of skin care or whatever floats that person’s boat. My life motto is, “You do you,” and having a community that helps to reinforce that idea from doing what works for you and your skin really makes me happy.
What’s your desert island SB product, and why?
It’s so hard to pick one! Since its an island, the humidity is probably ridiculous, and I am a grease ball in humidity, so I will say the Camel Milk and Yeast Mask! I could use it overnight to treat spots, as a mask, and since it foams up, I feel like it could also function as a makeshift cleanser. Also, since yeast is technically kind of alive, I think they could also function as my friends like Wilson in Castaway, and I would be the clear-skinned Tom Hanks.
What is your favorite thing about your skin?
This might sound strange, but I love that my skin is a blank canvas everyday. I’ve never had the best skin, but it is progressively getting healthier as I continue to use SB products. Putting on Five Ginseng or the Snail Serum feels like priming a blank piece of canvas. It is so satisfying to prime a new canvas for painting. I use to be really into painting and drawing, but because I haven’t had much time dedicate to an intricate piece, my skin has been serving as a place where I can let my creative side roam free with makeup and body art. I love to experiment with pigments, different styles, contouring and highlighting, shadows, lip and eyebrow shapes, and really anything that you can think of. I think that skin in general is great to work with as a place where an individual can express themselves in a unique way. Thinking of my skin this way, as something positive, has really helped me come to terms with it not being perfect every moment of every day. My skin can warp, be discolored, or simply age over time, but because it is my skin and no one else’s that I can express myself on, I love it that much more.