is first and foremost one half of the famous Castaneda Twins. With her sister Elizabeth, she has studied ballet, modern, jazz, afro, and other dance styles her entire life. During that training, Melissa was inspired to create costumes and creations for the performing arts. Her realized talents in design and passions for color were fostered by her mother at an early age by her teachings and handmade ensembles. After pursuit of a BFA in Dance at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she also interned in the school's costume shop, Melissa moved to San Francisco in 2005 and spent her first year there dancing at Alonzo King's LINES Ballet Program. Since then Melissa has harnessed all of her experiences in her costume and clothing creations first through the performing arts community in the Bay Area and then beyond working on a wide range of projects including custom commissioned designs in costumery and couture.
Melissa and her solo line Maiden May is currently existing through her fabric-filled studio space in an artist collective warehouse in Oakland, CA. She continues to birth original costume designs like the many others that have been sought after by well-known Bay Area companies and schools such as ODC School, USF Theater, Loco Bloco, Beats Antique, FACT/SF, Blind Tiger Society and many others. She also has a chance to combine her skills on one entity while dancing and designing costumes for the Fosse-inspired troupe The Fossettes of which she is a founding member.
Outside of her dancing and designing, Melissa has previously lived as a caretaker for Goldmyer Hotsprings in the mountainous setting of Washington State's Cascade foothills with her husband Benjamin and beautiful dog Medea. Their little family is full of love and never grows tired of frolicking adventures in magical places. For Melissa, such joys provide inspiration and motivation to continue her dream of living and designing in a world of color.