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15 Inspiring Female Creatives in Toronto

Melissa D’Souza

Photographer

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Melissa D’Souza is a Toronto-born photographer working with Ripe Resolution. She has 8 years of experience, which began with capturing raw candid moments and truly bringing them to life. Her work has given her the pleasure of working with A-list celebrities and several luxury brands including The Weeknd, Meghan Markle, P. Diddy, The Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs, Four Seasons, Louis Vuitton and Stella Artois – to name a few. Most call her a work-a-holic, but she says, “it’s not work if you love what you do!” When she isn’t taking photographs, you can find her with her dog Nelly Yuki (yes, named after Gossip Girl) or enjoying a glass of wine with some friends in the city.

A piece of advice I would give to my younger creative self would be…. “Some advice I would have given my younger creative self… Let’s be honest there would be loads of it! The biggest piece would have to be – trust your gut. I may have heard it a thousand times before, but early on, I never REALLY LISTENED. As a creative, one of the things that fuels you (good or bad) is feedback. It would make me ask – what will others think? Will my work be good enough? Being self-taught, I would often let fear get the best of me too. Did I have a right to be asking for projects? Would a lack of credentials mean a lack of trust? How was I going to wow them? 

But over the years I found that when I put in the hard work, honed in on my skills, and truly trusted my gut – is when I found my biggest successes. These were the moments that put the biggest smile on my face, and I knew I was doing the right thing. My gut was VERY happy! The funny part about advice, is life ends up giving it to you! While I wish I could tell my younger creative self to trust my gut, life often showed me I didn’t have a choice. 

When I did trust my gut, I wasn’t asking permission. I boldly went after what I wanted. I showed what I could do and creatively directed the things I knew could be better. I took the initiative and brought my work to MANY doorsteps to prove it. I wish I could tell my younger self to do that MORE often than she did. The truth is hard work pays off, WHEN you trust your gut. Mistakes are just redirections, so there’s no use in worrying about them either. 

Whether you’re a vet, or just starting out – that gut is your compass. It’ll guide you creatively, and in life. You have everything you need WITHIN you to be exactly what you want. With love, a camera, and a healthy dose of a passion.” 

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