All dreams are achievable . . . although the path to success is rarely, if ever, linear. There are twists and turns, but if you’re diligent, creative, stubborn and patient, while keeping your eye on the ball, your goals will be realized.
As a 14-year-old, Chicago south-sider Melanye Maclin recognized a void. Some decades ago, before the natural hair craze, Melanye was already socially conscious about the plight of black women and our hair and wanted to ultimately create products that worked just for us toward the goal of beautiful tresses.
Her declared interest in becoming a hairstylist was met with opposition. Melanye is from a prominent family of doctors, and they gave her exactly two options for her future education: she would either pursue her MD, like her mother, or her DDS, like her father. Case closed.
Upon graduation from south side private high school, Morgan Park Academy, Melanye went on to Howard University where she would complete her undergraduate studies and medical school degree with high honors. Staying true to her desire to work with hair, she pursued a concentration in dermatology to focus on the health of hair and skin.
Melanye knew that she needed to deviate from the traditional route of practicing medicine. She wanted to empower and help as many people as possible by being heard and seen in mass media. Still with her teenage goals in mind, Melanye began her parallel efforts as a research dermatologist and media personality.
During her last year of residency, newly minted Dr. Maclin was introduced to Viviscal, a company that produced a natural supplement that stimulated hair growth. They were looking for a dermatologist in the US to introduce their brand to the black community. Dr. Maclin carefully evaluated the product for one year before becoming their official Brand Ambassador. She opened several doors for them and in turn, developed her own reputation.
As she learned more about product creation, Dr. Maclin began working on her own improved formula and created a nutritional supplement that addressed anti-aging for skin and stimulated hair growth. BellaNutri was released in 2004. A few years later came the introduction of BeauNutri for men.
Concurrently Dr. Maclin – now affectionately known as Dr. Mac — had been selected as the Medical Director for Hype Hair magazine, where she contributed content from the perspective of a dermatologist. It was the inception of “Ask Dr. Mac,” where Melanye provided consultation on hair and skin issues, designed not to replace, but to be used strictly as a supplement to medical advice given by primary care physicians.
In 2007, Dr. Maclin attracted the attention of Steve Harvey, who invited her to WBLS in NY for a radio interview, which unexpectedly turned into a Q&A session with callers. It went so well that Steve decided to add her to the team, which completed her goal of being heard while providing dermatological assistance to a wide audience.
Dr. Maclin made appearances on major networks, providing expert opinions served as a television correspondent on Fox News in DC, where she regularly contributed her expert opinions, consistently for two years.
And then she got the call from HBO.
They were looking to interview dermatologists for a documentary on the importance of hair in the black community. After hearing her on Steve Harvey, producers knew that Dr. Maclin would be a necessary addition to “Good Hair,” spearheaded by Chris Rock. After several hours of interviews with the producers and Chris Rock himself, Dr. Maclin’s discussion about the damaging aspect of relaxers on children and how they’re linked to fibroid tumors and early hysterectomies was featured prominently in the 2009 release.
Combined with the creation of her own products and her participation in the film, Dr. Maclin received attention and was tapped for opportunities from other large companies to assist in the production of new, topical products and other medical supplements.
Having surpassed her teenage goals, Dr. Maclin’s story is far from over.
These days, Dr. Maclin, celebrity research dermatologist, is working on new innovations and mentoring future med school students. Along with marketing her own BellaNutri and BeauNutri, Dr. Maclin consults for other brands.
While she remains a Chicagoan at heart, Dr. Maclin now resides in Maryland with her husband of 17 years and two daughters, aged 12 and 14. She encourages them to creatively pursue their dreams, and empowers them to have great, healthy hair.
For more information on her upcoming projects and products, Dr. Maclin invites everyone to visit her website – www.drmaclin.com, or on social media at @drmelmac.
Gina B. is an executive search consultant and President/Chief Alchemist of Naturals by Gina B. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.