A unique story. Magical, unicorn-like. Melanie Chandra - Karate Champion, Mechanical Engineer, Producer, Actor, Mom, Founder of Hospital of Hope. Impossible? No. Possible. We speak to this magical woman about what she got from her mamma.
What are your memories of your mom from when you were a child?
My mom and I loved exploring nature together. I remember we'd go to the local creek and catch dragonflies and caterpillars. Every spring we would garden together, planting petunias and marigolds, and once they dried up, we would harvest the seeds for the next spring. We also had a jasmine tree, and we would string the sweet smelling flowers into necklaces and hair ornaments.
When you look back now, how do you feel your mom inspired & influenced you in your growing years?
My mom has always acted out of kindness and generosity. Even though we didn't have too many resources growing up, my mom would always set aside some of her paycheck to send money to an orphanage near her home town in Kerala, India. Gestures like that have always inspired me to align my goals with helping others in some way. But what I really value in retrospect was how very trusting she was. She trusted me that I would always figure out a way to do well in school, or music, or sports. It's counterintuitive, but by her trusting me, I fostered a lot of self-discipline, which I have carried into basically everything I've gone after in life.
What qualities & quirks of your mom do you have that you carry forward into your current life?
My mom is pure empathy and compassion. I can't recall her saying something out of judgement toward another. Empathy is a big part of everything I do. As an actress, I must empathize with my characters, even if they are antagonists. As a producer, I'm drawn to stories that bring more empathy to the world. As a wife and mother, I must ensure that my family always feels understood and safe. My mom is also super imaginative and playful, which I didn't fully embrace back then, but now that I see her play with my young daughter, I can see that she's always been a kid at heart.
If you had to tell your mom how you feel about her, what would you say to her today?
I now realize how much of you lives within me. Your resilience, your playfulness, your empathy, it's what makes me who I am today. I never appreciated how much you sacrificed for me - moving away from your family to a completely foreign environment with little in your pocket. Working night shifts as a nurse to provide the income to support all my school activities. And even though you were so tired all those years you were working, you always gave me a hundred percent when we were together. Thank you for your unconditional love and support throughout my whole life. I'm very grateful to have the upbringing I had.
Thanks Melanie. We teared up. This relationship and story is exceptional.
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