Alumni Profile: From the ball field to sought-after style expert
Monday, April 30, 2018
Written by: Amanda Mestdagh for Seminole State
Melanie Pace has an eye for style. The on-air style expert, fashion stylist and blogger has become a sought-after expert in fashion, having worked with celebrities like Giuliani Rancic and other notable clients including Bloomingdales. But Pace’s path to fashion was anything but ordinary.
Orlando native Melanie Pace played softball competitively since the age of 3, but she never imagined that one day she would get to play at the collegiate level. While finishing her diploma at Winter Springs High School, Pace was recruited to play for the Seminole State Raiders. It was an incredible opportunity that her family supported wholeheartedly.
And while being able to play softball made the transition to college easier, it was actually Seminole State’s proximity to home that rose to the top. “I loved the idea of being able to stay close to home. And then it was literally less than three miles away from my parent’s house,” Pace added. This allowed her to save money, and with the help of an athletic scholarship, she was able to avoid student loans to cover the cost of books.
It’s important to note that Pace always had a love for beauty and fashion. Her teammates even nicknamed her Barbie. She was always the first to encourage the other girls to get dolled up while they were on the road and last to get ready herself. She recalls introducing hair products and beauty tips to teammates who weren’t as up-to-date on the latest styles. “That was something that I always loved doing.”
And while Pace would excel in a class on socializing, regular coursework didn’t come as easily. “The smaller class environment, I think, also helped me a lot. I wasn’t someone that would ace every test. And it really did take a lot more studying from me.” Plus, having a support system and being close to home pushed Pace to succeed. “Being able to play sports while you’re in college, it did have a huge impact on my life, because I had a whole group of friends automatically, no matter what.”
When asked who her greatest influence was at Seminole State, Pace recalled such fond memories of Head Coach Courtney Miller. “She was such a mentor to all of us. I think that brought her more joy than actually being a coach is that she created such great relationships with all the women on the team. She really took the time out to mentor us.” During her two years at Seminole State, Pace shared that she wanted to go to fashion school upon graduation; Coach Miller didn’t bat an eye, never laughed at the idea and offered to help. She encouraged Pace to make a list of schools that offered the fashion program she was interested in and to think more about where she wanted to finish her degree.
“Seminole State really kind of molded me, and helped me, before I just put myself into a four-year college situation...I would do it over again in a heartbeat, because it taught me so much.”
- Melanie Pace
Ultimately Pace chose and was accepted into the fashion merchandising program at Florida State University. “I transferred right over. It was a very seamless process, and I honestly would recommend doing it to anyone. Because the two years at Seminole State really kind of molded me, and helped me, before I just put myself into a four-year college situation, living away from home and being clueless at life and what to do. I would do it over again in a heartbeat, because it taught me so much.”
Pace was able to mature while attending Seminole State, which led her to fully focus on her career when she transferred to FSU. As Pace shared, “Going from sports is definitely a huge transition into fashion, but I think that’s what’s sculpted me into a hard worker.” Through that hard work and dedication, she went from collegiate athlete to sought-after on-air style expert, fashion stylist and blogger. And when she’s not styling a photo shoot, or sharing her fashion expertise on TV, her favorite thing to do is to simply relax at home watching Netflix while eating pizza.
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.