PHOTO BY Nick Suarez

Model Sydney Melman is Keeping It Real: a Talk on Destiny, Reality, and Balance

Culture

Destiny has always been a rather bewildering concept, inextricable from mystery and contradiction and oh-so-fickle hope. Most of us living in the real world, of course, know it is only practical to take control of our lives and forge our own paths, yet time and time again, we find ourselves clinging onto the comforting idea of there being greater forces out there, of a plan made just for us, of everything happening for a reason.

If there is such a thing as destiny, it surely manifests itself in Sydney Melman, the model and influencer who has managed to make a name for herself by amassing followings of over 140k and 700k on Instagram and TikTok, respectively. With perfect poses, outfits that never miss, and the seemingly innate ability to pull off everything from New York glamour and Parisian chic to country living and seaside bliss, there is little exaggeration in saying that Sydney seems to have simply been born for the role.

Courtesy of Alex Evans (@alexevansphotography)

In a recent The Teen Magazine x Sydney Melman interview, however, the young fashion guru makes it clear that destiny alone is not the formula of success; rather, it is a goal in itself, because living it out takes a whole lot of hard work, passion, and determination, and it definitely isn’t easy. Read on to learn all about Sydney's journey thus far, with all its ups and downs and in-betweens, and where she's headed.

Like Pieces Falling into Place

"You could say that modelling— and acting, by extension— was ingrained in my childhood."

- Sydney Melman

If her peers were asked to look back on their childhoods, they would probably call to mind the water balloon fights and refreshing wilderness of sleepaway camps, the cool breezes of early summer nights spent digging around in backyards, or the euphoric chaos of running around with friends as adults droned on about Who Cares on the sidelines. Sydney, on the other hand, was already chasing her dreams.

“My journey began when I was in diapers,” she remarks with a hint of amusement. “No, literally: after a few ‘go sees,’ my twin brother and I landed a Pampers ad.”

That seemingly little achievement made by a certainly little girl, in hindsight, happened to not be so little after all, because it served as her much-needed push into the world of media. Before long, “endless treks through the Lincoln Tunnel into NYC for gigs as disparate as Blues Clues, Visa, Build a Bear, and even a few movie parts” were basically the norm.

@sydneymelman

Being present in life was the best decision I’ve ever made

♬ space girl - Frances Forever

There was no immediate and direct shot to stardom, however, because just like in any career path, exhaustion and rejection roughened the waves. On particularly difficult days, it was nothing but sheer tenacity that kept Sydney going. “Modelling was always a dream— [one] that, at times, felt out of reach, but remained a dream nonetheless.”

It was ultimately when Sydney joined the TikTok community and began posting makeup tutorials in 2019 that “dreams and reality [really] began to fuse.” What she had initially only hoped to be a dozen or so regular viewers soon grew to 100,000, and before she knew it, her “likes” had skyrocketed to the millions and she was receiving offers from agencies she could never have even fathomed being able to work with.

With such amazing progress, we can’t help but wonder if fate was in play. One thing, however, remains clear: the worlds of fashion and esteem are undoubtedly Sydney's perfect cup of tea. “I honestly have no clue [what my life would be like if I had never decided to model professionally and post on social media]. This is where I always wanted to be. If I wasn’t here, I’d be trying to get here.”

Courtesy of Jared Kocka (@jareds_diary)

Up and Down, Above and Beyond

“I try to keep things feeling 'in the moment' and real.”

- Sydney Melman

Upon first glance, many would claim that modelling and influencing is not only not difficult, but just plain easy. This, of course, is wholly untrue. These careers are distinctive in that they are almost impossible to fully separate from personal and private life, and as with any other path, chasing your goals in the field comes with a cost.

“Finding just the right balance [between dreams and sacrifices] can be a challenge for anyone,” Sydney admits, “let alone someone just starting out.”

From this statement alone, anyone could tell that, despite the years of experience already behind her, Sydney's just getting started, and definitely has no plans of stopping or slowing anytime soon. Her love for what she does extends beyond the mere excitement of “being able to work with brands that I love" and "express myself creatively through a medium that has always fascinated me,” because each and every post she makes comes with a genuine affection for her audience. “If I can add some positive energy to the world through my videos, that is everything for me.”

@sydneymelman ♬ original sound - edits

This passion and love for what she does and for the difference she could potentially make in the world translates to content that never fails to exude personality, panache, and poise. And despite the modelling and influencing industries already being densely packed, it is clear that Sydney definitely still has something special to add to them.

“I’d like to think that I have a unique brand,” she shares. “My taste is constantly evolving, and nothing if not eclectic.”

Sydney's Top Three Tips for Aspiring Influencers

  1. To achieve your dream, you have to be relentless in your belief that it can and will happen.
  2. Authenticity is everything.
  3. Never let anyone deter you or tell you otherwise.

Courtesy of Alex Evans (@alexevansphotography)

Quick Q’s with Sydney Melman

What is currently your biggest obsession?

The 80s— music, movies, everything!

What do you think would be your three “core memories”?

  1. The cabin in Rangeley, Maine, that my family would visit every summer and that is conjured up every time I catch the scent of burning cedar
  2. Tame Impala, third row with my dad in Philly
  3. Signing with my first big agency

What songs would never fail to make an appearance if you were handed the aux cord?

  • Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
  • Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
  • Let It Happen by Tame Impala
  • Hell N Back by Bakar
  • My Kind of Woman by Mac DeMarco

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sydney Melman (@sydney_melman)

What memory makes you cringe the most whenever you look back on it?

Anytime I might’ve overshared [with] the wrong person...

What important item of yours would you put in a time capsule with friends?

My Le Labo Lys 41. One whiff will shoot me back to a certain moment like a time machine.

What are the three “ingredients” that define you?

  • Habanero, because I’m spicy and take risks
  • Dark chocolate, because I can be bitter and sweet at once
  • Mashed potato, because I’m all about comfort

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A post shared by Sydney Melman (@sydney_melman)

What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?

My mom actually crafted the award-winning cover of our 3rd grade yearbook, not me. There, I said it.

What is something specific you are extremely excited about in the near future?

Moving to NYC!

If you could donate a million dollars to one organisation, what would it be?

The International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Keep Up with Sydney

To keep up with and learn more about Sydney, be sure to follow her Instagram page @sydney_melman and her TikTok @sydneymelman!

Meg Pio de Roda
50k+ pageviews

Meg is a high school student who loves anything to do with journalism, political science, and ecology. In the free time she doesn't spend rewatching or rereading comfort works instead of starting new ones, she enjoys daydreaming about the future and ordering takeout.