The SHE’S MERCEDES Power Suit Project is a celebration of how women use their individual style to express self-confidence and empowerment. Mercedes-Benz Canada put three powerhouse personalities—model and mentor STACEY MCKENZIE, TV personality MELISSA GRELO and entrepreneur and entertainer MITSOU GÉLINAS—in the driver’s seat to collaborate with PINK TARTAN design director Kimberley Newport-Mimran on creating their interpretations of a “power suit.” Here, they discuss their complicated paths to self-confidence, what a power suit means to them and how connecting with other women is the key to true success.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO OF THE PHOTO SHOOT
HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY TO SELF-CONFIDENCE PLAYED OUT OVER THE YEARS?
STACEY McKENZIE “I wasn’t always this confident. I had a challenging journey to loving myself and owning who I am. Growing up in Jamaica, I wasn’t a typical-looking Black girl, so I was always trying to find a way to fit in. I’d try changing my looks—straightening my hair, minimizing my freckles, even hiding my lips with makeup. When I was looking to enter the modelling industry, it was the same story: No one would accept me because I looked too ‘different.’ At one point, it just hit me: No matter what I did to try to conform, I was still the same girl. So why not just be myself?”
MELISSA GRELO “I had a quarter-life crisis in my mid-20s when I decided to leave my career as a teacher. It was a big deal for a Type A personality like mine—you don’t quit; you just push through. But it was actually a way of honouring a voice inside me that I had probably ignored for far too long. By listening to it and throwing a bit of caution to the wind, I learned to trust it more. The saying ‘Jump and the net will appear’—I think that’s something we as women need to do more. Knowing I survived that, [I felt] I could do anything. Since then, I don’t think I’ve stopped developing that inner voice. To me, that’s self-confidence.”
MITSOU GÉLINAS “For me, it was a gradual process. Suddenly you’re in your field and making mistakes, and you think, ‘It isn’t as easy as I thought.’ That’s where you kind of lose your confidence because you really don’t know much. But with time, you start gaining experience, and, to me, real confidence comes from experience. At some point, you wake up and realize that with almost everything you do, you’ve lived something similar and you can use that experience to give yourself the boost you need. You have to accept that doubt is part of the creative process, but the feeling of trusting yourself is so comforting. No one can take that from you.”