Shaun Melady is everything you would hope a rising star would be when you sit down to interview them. He’s personable, smart, handsome, and a total hunk. More importantly, though, his humility and kind-hearted nature make him even that much more attractive. But let’s keep it real, he’d be very auburn baby daddy material … if he were single.
Having a background in Mass Communications from his career in Marketing Communications, Public Relations, and Journalism, Melady has now set his sights on the performance stage. As more than just a pretty face, he’s been landing roles and getting booked by designers for major fashion shows at New York Fashion Week.
That’s not too shabby for the Florida native who first came out while away studying at what he describes as “small Christian college in Arkansas.” This self-awareness led Shaun to a path where he was determined to live in his truth and be open about who he is, including being a proud and out performer.
From fashion runways to stage and silver screen, Melady is poised for success, charming casting agents and interviewers with his sweet, farmboy good looks and a body that inspires far more provocative thoughts. Recent and upcoming productions to keep an eye out for that Melady stars are the award-winning short film, “Abysmo” and “The Disturbance Call.” He also recently modeled Italian-brand Elie Balleh Couture in both Fall and Spring New York Fashion Weeks in The SOCIETY Fashion Show and at the highly-esteemed Pier 59 Studios.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shaun, and it was great fun. I invite you to read the highlights of our discussion and watch our interview in its entirety below.
Allow me to introduce you to Shaun Melady:
CA: Shaun, first, I’ll just make sure I pronounce your last name correctly because I keep wanting to say it like Me-laaady, but I know it’s not Melaaady.
SM: Yes, that’s it; it’s pronounced Me-lady. So you’re one of the few that pronounced it correctly.
CA: Wow, get out of town! Okay, well, I got that right. So, Shaun Melady, you are an actor and model, currently starring in a short film on Amazon Prime short film called The Disturbance Call. Share a little bit about the project and the role you play in that movie.
Shaun Malady: Yes, absolutely. It’s now on Amazon Prime. It’s a short film -about 20 minutes. It’s quick to watch but action-packed, and it builds up with some fun thriller moments. My character is named Phil. He’s an officer on the verge of being a rookie, just outside of the rookie status.
My partner and I respond to this call from a lady, and basically, we think she’s drunk because she’s spouting off different things like seeing somebody in her yard with a candle. To appease her, we go see what she’s talking about, and it unfolds to where she’s been telling the truth. There some sinister events …And the production team loves to leave audiences with a cliffhanger.
CA: Wow, is that done intentionally because they want to leave it open to come back maybe and follow up with a part 2?
SM: Well, right now, to my knowledge, they want to let the viewer decide how it ends, but they love the positive feedback that it’s getting, and it’s now been in three festivals. So, who knows, maybe part 2 is on the horizon.
CA: I’ll be rooting for that, and I’ll make sure that our Instinct Magazine audience knows all about it. And you’re a model as well. Not just an actor, and you’ve worked for different designers. Who are some of the fashion designers you’ve worked with? Drop some names.
SM: Yes, one of them is Kevin Shahroozi designs. He does men’s and women’s apparel, but it’s very much a casual street style. Most recently, during the past 2 New York Fashion Weeks, I walked for Elie Balleh Couture – a luxury Italian menswear brand. I worked with him on my birthday last year during the Fall fashion week; then he called me back in the spring to walk for him again. It was cool to have a couture designer call you back, especially for New York Fashion Week.
It was a proud moment because I was dubbed a ‘New York City celebrity model’ with that show’s coverage. I got a strong response from the media and different designers. I was proud of that.
CA: And you’re from Florida, so yeah, to be from out of town, and in New York, making a mark like that in fashion –that’s a big deal. It’s a dream come true for so many people who don’t get to do it.
So, Shaun, in your entertainment career, are you out as an actor and model?
CA: Was that something that took you a moment to be okay with as far as professionally deciding not going to be closeted? How did you approach that decision as an out actor?
SM: Actually, to be completely transparent, I had to step back and be like, wait a minute, so how will this affect my acting career, you know? It’s because of what’s in your head based on how you grew up and all that stuff. I thought, if I’m OUT as an actor, is that how I’m going to be always cast? But then I decided, for me, it’s just normal to be out.
CA: Yes, I think you bring your most authentic self back to your work if you can live in your truth openly, right?
CA: It makes you a better performer, and I think many examples of outperformers are doing really well. That leads to my next question. How do you feel about straight actors playing gay characters? Do you think Hollywood should first offer those to LGBT performers? Or does it not matter?
SM: That’s a great question. I don’t know if it’s going to be a popular opinion or not, but I think straight actors should have the same opportunities to play a gay character because as an out actor, I want the chance to play a straight character. I think it’s only fair and makes sense to me on both sides.
CA: I’ve spoken to other actors about it, and you’re not alone in that opinion. Some actors just believe the best actor should get the role regardless of how they identify. You know, in preparing for this interview, I found out also that you have a background in journalism?
SM: Yes, I have a background in communication. I started out doing marketing, PR, and communications journalism with some really interesting jobs. I’ve written for a handful of different Publications, like Chilled writing about cocktails. It was like a dream. I’m like, wait a minute; I get to try cocktails and write about them? Okay!
I also occasionally write for upscale Living magazine and cover travel and luxury cars, and stuff like that. I love luxury cars, which is weird because I live in New York City, and I don’t have a car – my model is the 2020 MTA bus.
CA: Lol, or the subway. Shaun, there’s a piece you wrote that I wanted to talk to you about. It was from The Advocate. You know, the one I’m referring to?
SM: Oh Yeah.
CA: Okaaaay, lol. I don’t want to get all Oprah on you. But that’s what I do, you know. It’s all fun and games at first, and then I get into some real grit. Lol. I found the article accidentally, and it’s a topic that I am passionate about in general because I also come from a religious family. You wrote a letter that was published by the Advocate in 2014, regarding coming out while going to school at a small Christian college. I would love for you to share your purpose in writing it?
SM: Sure. You’re correct. I went to a very small Christian college in the middle of Arkansas dry county – especially tough if you dream of writing about cocktails. I grew up very religious, going to church my entire life, and that’s how I landed in this college –just because I had family who went there.
I started discovering myself more while there and realizing; I’m okay, I’m fine. Telling myself, I was normal for having feelings. I met people that had similar feelings or were going through similar things. I was like, for my entire life, I thought something was wrong. Then finally, I became more comfortable with myself. And it’s funny, Christianity is supposed to be about love, you know? But many people were not showing it with their negative comments.
Eventually, I just got tired of it and decided to write an op-ed piece. I sent it to The Advocate thinking, hey, this is one of the best LGBT magazines. I thought they might not even see it, but at least I’ll get it off my chest and out there. Lo and behold, that same week or a week later, somebody from The Advocate called, like, “Hey Shaun, we received your letter this month, and would you be okay if we published it?
I was like, yeah, sure, and THAT was the point of no return. When friends from home found out and saw the article, I would get messages from them like, hey, man, we saw that article, and we want you to really think about it –because we don’t want you to go to hell and stuff. I was like, um, yeah, I’m fine, thanks. I won’t be going to hell.
CA: Haha, yes, straight people love to tell gays we’re going to hell, while they themselves check off every box of “sins” in their own lives. I agree, that was definitely a point of no return for you then. I think it all resonated too because you had all American boy good looks like you could have been anyone’s neighbor. You put a face to the issue. I’m happy the Advocate published the letter.
Sean Melady, thank you so much for your time tonight. I’m going to make sure that everyone knows about the great work you’re doing, including the Amazon Prime short film The Disturbance Call.
SM: I appreciate the compliment, and you are awesome, Corey, and I’m so glad we finally got to chat. It’s been a long time coming.
CA: Yes! Thank you, Shaun. Cheers!
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH SHAUN MELADY HERE: