Meet the smart, stunning Melissa Middleton, an absolute Vixely Girl Crush and inspiration. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of JENESEQUA, the iPad Style Magazine for the modern fashionista, Melissa pursued her passion of running her own business by creating a fresh, innovative media brand. JENESEQUA offers style bloggers and tastemakers a new platform on the iPad, while providing readers the best in fashion on their favorite device. Melissa’s positive spirit, commitment and forward-thinking mindset all explain how this “small town girl” is helping transform the traditional media landscape, and why she quickly became a friend to Vixely’s founding team.
Read more about Melissa’s exciting story as an entrepreneur, her inspirations, how she sees JENESEQUA evolving in the future, and learn why she is indeed a very “lucky girl.”
Vixely (V): What is the name of your company and what is your role?
JNSQ, INC., Digital Publisher for iPad. I am the Founder and Editor in Chief of JENESQUA, our first style magazine for iOS.
V: Where are you from, where did you go to college and and where do you live now?
Small town girl! Hometown: Lewiston, Idaho. College: University of Idaho. Currently residing in NYC.
V: What made you decide to pursue this path and start your own company?
It was all a serendipitous equation.
1. Met a boy who saw something in me and wanted to support my passions.
2. Worked in the corporate world in a postion I wasn’t passionate about. Boy bought me an iPad. iPad Magazines weren’t inspiring me. I wanted something different.
3. Quit said job to take time off to figure out my dream of “being the editor in chief of my own magazine.”
4. JNSQ was born out of the idea that bloggers ARE the editors.
5. A year later I am 9 issues into my own first party magazine with a team of international editors and July 1st will be launching the first of many third party magazines into our network.
6. Boy became my co-founder.
The woman we write for is the modern woman. She is interested in style, is tech savvy, and is smart in the way she lives. She invests things that are important to her and is spend thrift on the things that are not. She mixes her grandmother’s pearls with Chanel and Zara. She is healthy, but knows when and where to splurge.
V: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a female entrepreneur or changemaker?
Waking up everyday with a smile and ready to conquer the world and that “anything is possible.” There were many days where I didn’t want to get out from under the covers. Also the surprise position I have found myself in as a “role model.” Many women tell me I inspire them to pursue their dreams and ambitions. That motivates me everyday that possibly I could help someone make a positive change in their life.
V: Who are your inspirations?
My grandmother is my inspiration and role model. She has been my moral compass and life support. She is such a strong lady. She has lived through poverty, abuse, death, cancer, and several heart attacks. She is fiercely independent, has the best sense of style, and is humorous and loved by all.
V: What do you do for fun? What makes you the most happy?
Sounds crazy, but for fun I love to exercise. I strap on my Kangoojumps, hop around my neighborhood with my dog and get a great workout in. When not working, out I love me a good dinner party (in or out) and a nice glass of wine or champagne. And when I can, for fun I LOVE to travel and see new places. Get out of town and gain perspective.
V: Major turn-ons?
I love a tall, dark, handsome man with a sexy, manly voice, and a brain. Talk nerdy to me.
V: Turn-offs or dealbreakers?
I have SO many but here are just a few: drugs, excessive alcohol intake, wear track pants in public, bad breath, horrible eating habits, are mean to their mothers, cheap, emotionally unavailable and dishonest.
V: Last holiday trip you went on?
My goodness, it has been FOREVER. Being an entrepreneur, this is the area where I have had to cut back. The only trip I’ve been on that counts as a true holiday (that wasn’t for work or a wedding) was to Thailand. I went to Bangkok for a few days, then to Ko Phi Phi Island, only accessible by speedboat, where we stayed in a super romantic bungalow in the middle of nowhere with my sweetie. It was the most magical place and I cried when I left. It was where “The Beach” was filmed.
So far, the best is yet to come, but last summer I had a moment. I was at the White House, in the Kennedy Caucus room (where Jackie O had her first senators wives luncheon, the room where discussions on how to handle the Titanic emergency were held). My state senator mentioned my company and my name and thanked me for being an entrepreneur in front of hundreds of powerful politicians, celebrities, fellow fashion folk. It was surreal and a moment I will never forget and hopefully a glimpse into what is to come for my brand.
V: What are you reading?
This is very embarrassing to reveal, but I did fall victim to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I am on the second one in the series. It’s a quick read. ;) I also have Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” sitting next to the “50 Shades” on my nightstand. My goal is to have Atlas read by end of summer. I am 100 pages in. Wish me luck.
V: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a textbook introvert. I have to plan my socializing carefully as it completely exhausts me. I fuel up being at home with my dog, a good book or Netflix. I could easily not venture out into the world for days and be completely fine with it.
This is a tough question! My boyfriend and co-founder would most definitely be there at the head of the table. He is so interesting and knows how to strike up great conversation while having fun and making people laugh. I would always have my friend Jim, who enjoys himself a nice glass of wine or champagne to be our sommelier. And the rest a handful of my great friends and family. If imaginary, I would also invite Gwyneth Paltrow. People love to hate her but I adore her and think she would be fun, and throw back a few glasses of wine with me. And for token eye candy, Leonardo DiCaprio.
V: How do you see your company evolving in the future?
I see JNSQ (the publishing company) as becoming the “Conde Nast” of digital allowing content creators that otherwise wouldn’t have the tools to have their own magazine to create and easily publish magazines for iOS and create a powerful network of tastemakers.
For JENESEQUA, I see it becoming a valuable player in style magazines and carving it’s own niche for “accessible” content. I also see me developing more first party magazines under the shelter, food, men’s verticals.
V: What is something you are the most proud of?
I am proud of the healthy, happy person I am today and the lovely life I have created for myself. I am a lucky girl.
I believe that everything in your life happens for a reason, within your control. I needed to be the lost 18 year old with bad friends, bad advice, bad relationships to be the strong, independent women I feel I am today. The only advice would have given myself is to NOT get that perm and that the Jennifer Aniston hairdo only looks good on girls with thick hair. Oh and that tattoo I absolutely had to have, I wasn’t going to want in my 30s.