Hi! I'm Melissa, owner and personal stylist of MH Style Consulting based out of Minneapolis. For the last 4 years I have been wanting to start a nonprofit for this exact project with multiple pillars, but it's just not ready yet. So I'm starting off small because everyone needs to start somewhere, right? So here we go...
Where it all began: I am a victim of sexual abuse. I was abused for many years starting at the age of 8 or 9. I was a trouble maker, an alcoholic, a partier, you name it. I acted out because I was dealing with something that I had no control over and was terrified about - I was alone. When I was 16 years old, I found the love for fashion because it was something that allowed me to hide, be someone else and live in a glamorous world that obviously I wasn't experiencing. Eventually as time went on and I grew up, fashion allowed me to feel powerful which is now why (and how) I am a badass multi-racial boss lady who owns 3 businesses! This is why you will see me talk about self-care, empowerment and confidence REPEATEDLY on my website and on all my social media platforms. This is ALSO why I talk about how I work with a lot of styling clients who are coming out of a traumatic experience, lifestyle change or starting a new business.
My styling business is exactly where I am supposed to be. I was put here to help people who have been in a situation similar to myself who are ready to start over and embrace who they have become. Not to mention starting a new SUCCESSFUL chapter in their life.
The project: Every year, I will be accepting 1 survivor (any gender) who is ready to start a new chapter in their life. This person will receive a complete makeover from wardrobe, to accessories, to shoes, you name it. To showcase off the 'new you', myself and a team of other kickass vendors (photographer, hair and makeup and more) will plan and produce a styled shoot every March. We will launch these photos in April which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month to showcase their bravery and truly spread the word about child sexual abuse. More importantly, the photos are for the survivor! It will allow them to know that they're beautiful, handsome, powerful and every other empowering feeling you can think of, throughout their journey of recovery. It's also to remind them of why they're here and why they're a SURVIVOR.
Unfortunately, this is a VERY COMMON type of abuse that's not talked about enough because most of the time the abuser is a close friend or a family member. We are taught to obey grown-ups, but we shouldn't be scared to say something when we know it's wrong. My goal is not only to change a persons life by granting them this styled photo shoot where they feel empowered and beautiful, but I want to spread the word about child sexual abuse so we're comfortable talking about it. In addition to, hopefully we can make a difference with legislation as well because, to be quite frank, Minnesota's laws around sex offenders is offensive and outright ridiculous! So let's make a difference!!
**Disclaimer: If the survivor doesn't want their face publicly shown and/or doesn't want their name used, that is completely fine!
What's next: This GoFundMe is to help raise money for the wardrobe, the photo shoot and all the goodies that I'm wanting to gift them such as a dinner, transportation to dinner, etc. Who doesn't want to go out after they're all done up?! ;) My 1st goal was $5,000 in which we got to $1,174. Unfortunately the chosen survivor from Jan 2021 wasn't ready to embrace their story so I'm relaunching this project in hopes to raise the remaining $3,826 for the new chosen survivor. If I can raise more than that, that would be amazing because that just means more clothes and goodies for the survivor!
In the meantime: To stay up to date with the project (it will be updated by 9/7/21) including information about becoming a sponsor, a photo shoot vendor or nominating a survivor (you can also nominate yourself) you can visit MHstyleconsultants.com/iamstrongerproject along with following me on my social media:
Also, please share by using the hashtag, #IAmStrongerProject, so we can all help an individual in need and make a difference by spreading the word about child sexual abuse.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, learning about my story and how I want to help another individual. It truly means the world to me!
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