Faces in the crowd – Melody Meng | SierraSun.com

Faces in the crowd – Melody Meng

Margaret Larsen

Salon-owner Melody Meng believes that if you treat people kindly and generously, it comes back to you. These old-fashioned values are evident inside her salon, Mane Attraction, which sits in a renovated building at the edge of Truckee’s downtown area. Stepping inside, the soft yellow tones of the decor and soft fragrance of the various salon treatments are like a balm to the soul.

Then there’s Melody’s friendly face and gentle voice saying, “welcome!” Makes a person want to sit down and get beautiful right then and there.

The former Melody Wilson didn’t set out to become a salon owner, or a hairstylist for that matter. “It really happened just by chance,” she says. She was happily attending Diablo Valley Community College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., when her favorite cousin decided to attend beauty college and convinced Melody to come along. Meng, who was studying business, thought this would be a good way to earn a living and pay for college, so she attended the classes.

“I ended up liking it and sticking with it … and my cousin didn’t, so went on to become a teacher,” says Meng.

It’s paid off. She’s had the Main Attraction in Truckee for 11 years now, and it seems she has a success on her hands. Over in one corner, a woman breathes a sigh of pleasure as her foot is massaged during a pedicure. In the middle of the room, another chats happily with the stylist as she has her long hair crimped in foils and highlighter is painted on alternating strands. Yet another sits under the dryer enjoying a cup of tea and a magazine. It’s a place of pleasure, alright.

“When you look good, you feel good, and I like making people look and feel good,” says Meng. She’s proud of the fact that her salon is full service, offering complete hair styling services, along with pedicures and manicures, facials, massage therapy and tattooing.

Yes, Meng is a specialist in permanent make-up application, and is a certified cosmetic tatooist, which means she is an expert in a special procedure in which eyeliner, eyebrows, lips and the like are permanently enhanced, or even added, to the face. It is a matter of convenience for her clients, says Meng. “It is really nice to wake up in the morning and have all of your makeup already there,” she adds. But that’s not the most rewarding part of her specialty.

“I’ve done many cosmetic tattooing procedures on people who have alopecia or who have other problems,” she says, “and they look and feel so much better when they have eyebrows and their natural features are restored.” Alopecia is a disease that causes all of the body’s hair to fall out.

Meng travels to various cosmetic tattooing schools around the country to learn the latest techniques. “I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the best professionals in the business,” she says. Her most recent certification is in areola reconstruction for breast cancer patients. After mastectomy and breast reconstruction, women are often left with a bare lump of flesh for a breast. “I learned to restore the natural color of the areola (nipple) area, so that these women can regain a sense of their femininity,” she says.

Meng met her husband in Truckee when she moved here 12 years ago. They now have two children, Austin, 9, and Savannah, 6. “We really enjoy living in Truckee,” she says, “I can’t think of any other place in which I’d rather raise children.” She credits Truckee’s “wholesome, fun” lifestyle, and likes the fact that life can be enjoyed here without being “money crazy,” as she puts it. She limits her children’s television habits and doesn’t allow cable into her home. “I want my children to discover what they’d like to do naturally, without all the influences of the media,” she says. The family stays active in youth sports and spending time with friends. “I am not an extremely athletic person, but I just love being outdoors with my family,” she says. Meng also volunteers every Friday in the kindergarten class of Donner Trail Elementary. “I do a little class with the kids, just a small snack, but it is so much fun,” she says.

Whether a client, a friend, a family member or student, it seems Melody Meng wants people to feel good about themselves, and she does it with a beauty that isn’t only skin deep.