How to Live Beautifully, According to Writer and Actor Melissa Hunter
The woman behind Adult Wednesday Addams shares what living beautifully means to her and explains why the only failure is doing nothing.
At Livingly, our goal is to help women live more beautifully every day — inside and out. We know beauty is deeper than a flawless wardrobe and makeup routine, it's also about inspiring women to be healthy, well-traveled, and to nurture their careers and relationships. So we're creating fun, engaging content to motivate readers to look and feel good too.
To celebrate the Livingly launch, we asked six inspiring women a series of five questions about what living beautifully means to them. Here's what we learned from comedy writer and actor Melissa Hunter.
MELISSA HUNTER is a writer and actor and one funny lady. She's currently a finalist for NBC Playground, a program aimed at discovering new comedic voices. Her pilot will appear on NBC.com this summer and if she wins it all, her show could premiere on NBC.
You probably know Hunter from her Adult Wednesday Addams web series. Her recent 7-episode season gained over 12 million views and 250,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel. She's working on getting it back online.
When she's not wearing her Wednesday dress (and the corresponding perfect eyeliner), the LA-based comedian has no trouble pulling off the LA club girl look. Hunter created and starred in the web series Backseat Bitches, about LA party girls (the kind that drink from bedazzled flasks and try to get into Macauley Culkin's birthday party without being on the list) in the backseat of an Uber-type car. The series is listed as one of Entertainment Weekly's 6 Online Comedies that Deserve to Be On TV.
Hunter took time away from making people laugh to share with us what living beautifully means to her, how middle school bullies inspired her, and why the only failure in life is not doing anything.
What does living beautifully mean to you?
To me, living beautifully is doing the things that make you feel most energized and excited. For me that's a balance of outdoor and city life, and living in Los Angeles grants me that luxury. I love performing and watching live comedy, going to gallery openings and new bars and restaurants. And then I love hiking and going to the beach — especially trails and beaches that are a little more remote where I feel like I'm miles away from a big city. Striking that balance gives me the most energy.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
What I've learned is that I feel most beautiful when I'm surrounded by the friends and community that I've built in LA. Beauty is so subjective, and everyone has different tastes and judgements, so ultimately you can't please everyone. I admittedly spend time on my outfits, hair and makeup — but as long as I'm with the people who accept me for who I am, I tend to feel at the least, beautiful, and at best, like a goddamned smokeshow.
Also, sequins and red lipstick.
When it comes to your accomplishments, what at are you most proud of?
I am very proud of my series Adult Wednesday Addams because it kind of came full circle for me. When I was in middle school, I wasn't exactly popular, and this bully called me Wednesday Addams. It was a way to make me feel bad about the way I looked and different and hey! It worked. Middle school bullies are great at that.
Then many years later I rewatched the movies and realized what an incredible hero Wednesday is for outsiders. She is an outcast who isn't trying to fit into the norms. She is self-possessed and fearless in the face of her antagonists. After I made the series, I had a lot of fans reach out to tell me that they are bullied at school, and Wednesday is their hero. That's the best possible outcome I could get and I feel like I did 12-year-old Melissa proud.
Describe one moment that changed your life forever.
In 2010, I took my first improv class at UCB. I always avoided improv classes in college (even though I was a theater major) because I was terrified of them and I would make different rationalizations for not taking them. And then I think I saw one of those bumper stickers like "Do one thing every day that scares you." So I signed up. I don't know if I've ever felt more nervous than that first class. And then once I started, I was like, "Oh wait, this is fun and not a big deal." It was in that class where I met the people that would become first sketch group and that started me on my career path in comedy.
Give us a piece of advice you wish someone had told you earlier.
The only failure is not doing anything.
When you're an artist of any kind, it's easy to get caught up worrying about what people will think before you even make something. And often that fear of public failure can stop you from making anything in the first place. But making the thing, regardless of the reception, that is still a success. You'll learn so much by doing. You can't hit a homerun the first time you do something and that's okay. It takes practice, it takes missteps, and each time you learn something new. It took me a while to get out of my own way in that sense, but I'm glad I finally did.