What She Looks Like: Melissa Trn, Designer

Here’s the next profile of an amazing artist and mom who took the time to share a few of her thoughts. (If you missed it, the first profile is definitely worth checking out too on Stage Manager Jenna Woods!) Melissa is gifted and strikes a really special cord describing the importance of including our kids in the beauty of what we do. She offers her thoughts on working in this demanding profession with a toddler full of life and what that brings.

I love how she articulates the synchronicity between the principles of motherhood and the passions of the arts. I couldn’t agree more.


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Melissa, Brett, and Sylvia, taking over LA. Family style.

Name: Melissa Trn

Profession: Scenic/Costume Designer, Los Angeles
Parent Status: Sylvia, 4 years old

What surprised you:
I did not think I would be able to continue working as much as I had been with Sylvia in tow. But it was surprisingly easy to bring her along. People were surprisingly open to her presence and she was surprisingly able to go with the flow. 
What excited you:
Getting to introduce Sylvia to a world that I love is so special. I love that costumes and makeup and the stage and performing are all so “normal” to her. The community of the theater is such a natural place for a child. Open. Free. Creative. I love experiencing that together.
What challenged you:
I have always been a “yes” designer. Say yeas first and try to make it happen. My first love was theater and for a time, it was the main focus of my life. But when Sylvia was born, she became my priority. Sometimes  now I say no when I would have been happy to say yes. No I cant stay until 2 am to paint that. No I cant spend countless hours doing that show for free. No I can’t go to NYC or Florida or wherever for weeks at a time. I get frustrated at myself because I think, “Does this split focus compromise my career? My art? My willingness to say yes?”. There is now just a limit to what I will do for my art because there is not a limit to my focus on Sylvia.
What you look forward to:
Sylvia started preschool this year and although I treasure the amount of one on one time she and I have had, I am so excited to have more and more time and freedom for myself. I have taken on more projects recently and am enjoying the frenetic business that I used to love.

What you think people should know:
A child doesn’t need much. But they need us. They need us to be whole people with loves and passions and hobbies, and desires, and dreams…how else will they be those kind of people? I think Sylvia and Brett and I have only benefited from the interconnectedness that we have between our home life and careers. We understand each other better. There isn’t a side of us that Sylvia has not witnessed firsthand, and so we know each other.

My favorite quotes:

A child doesn’t need much. But they need us. They need us to be whole people with loves and passions and hobbies, and desires, and dreams…how else will they be those kind of people?

– Melissa Trn, LA Designer

The community of the theater is such a natural place for a child. Open. Free. Creative. I love experiencing that together.

– Melissa Trn, LA Designer


How do you share your profession with your family? What’s your favorite quote?

More profiles coming soon!

If you are or you know a performing artist professional and mom who wants to share thoughts, answer these questions and shoot them to me at this contact form!

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