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As a surfer, skateboarder, film producer, and all-around badass entrepreneur, Monica Medellin is a big believer in living as her boldest, most authentic self. Whether she’s taking on a wave, hitting up a skate park, or on set with her production company, The Gnar Gnar Honeys, Medellin’s belief in herself and passion for the project at hand shines through in everything she does. Here, she shares the five surefire strategies that never fail to bring her most confident self forward.
Practicing mindfulness helps her own the moment.
A surfer through and through, Medellin’s number one technique for boosting her confidence is to just focus on herself, the water, and the moment. “It’s such a freeing feeling to focus on what’s happening in the present,” she says. “Surfing has helped me to accept myself as I am—it helps me love my curls, and embrace my skin, imperfections and all. Surfing makes me feel more connected to myself, and helps me to remember why I started doing it before it became a career path for me.”
Even five minutes of self-care goes a long way.
Especially after a particularly long surf session, the sun and salt water can certainly take their toll on your hair and skin. That’s why Medellin focuses on giving her body some TLC post-surfing with Dove’s Purely Pampering Shea Butter and Vanilla Body Wash. “I love this product because it fits into my lifestyle—it’s really hydrating, so it helps my skin feel moisturized after a long day in the water,” she says. “It definitely relaxes me, soothes my skin, and helps me carry that good feeling from surfing through everything else I do.” The warm, comforting fragrance keeps Medellin coming back to the body wash again and again. “I love the vanilla scent because it smells really good, but doesn’t overpower who I am and what my vibe is,” she says.
A pep talk with those who believe in her most reminds her of her power.
There’s nothing quite as uplifting as a heart-to-heart with the people who know you best. When Medellin needs just that, she goes straight to her mother and her sister. “They both have so many gems of life experiences to share with me, and they’re such strong, independent Latina women who inspire me to channel my confidence,” she says. “My mom is one of the strongest people I know, so being around a powerful woman who I consider my role model and a leader inspires me to find that in myself.”
Medellin also keeps a few impactful words from her sister close to her heart, almost as a mantra for an instant confidence boost. “She told me, be who you are, not what you think other people want you to be,” she says. “That is something that has really stuck with me, and between my family, my production company, and my awesome surfer friends, I’m really inspired by the women around me.”
Appreciating her unique POV has helped her turn up her own volume.
“Studying journalism, moving into film production and then action sports, I was often one of the few Latina voices in the room, so finding my voice and growing into it has been a journey,” Medellin says. “I had to shift my perspective to see my differences as something that works for me instead of against me—what’s the perspective I can bring to this conversation that’s different from the norm? It’s an opportunity to speak for myself and represent.” While learning to speak up was something that came with time, Medellin feels confident and powerful when she does it, and has slowly become more comfortable voicing her opinions, being confident in the message, and delivering it as directly as possible.
Being vulnerable leads to authentic work and relationships.
As a director and producer, Medellin has to bring out the confidence in her subjects, too. Relating to the talent on a personal level, putting herself in their shoes, building them up, and speaking to them in the way she’d want to be spoken to helps them feel comfortable. While shooting The Gnar Gnar Honeys’ recent film project, Kaikaina, Medellin and her team highlighted a group of five young native Hawaiian surfer girls, all born and raised on Oahu.
“One of the girls told me she had never worked with an all-women team, and that was eye opening to me because we had a real opportunity to connect in a way that she hadn’t before,” she says. “If she ever got nervous during the interview, I would tap into my younger self and be vulnerable, letting her know I had been in that position and wasn’t super confident in my answers then, but she could do it.” By sharing her own personal stories, Medellin empowered the girls to open up on camera and tell their stories in a wholly confident and authentic way.