-- Melissa Vargas, Brand Manager at Parkwood Entertainment
"I grew up right outside of Chicago, in a small suburb called Joliet. My parents are from Mexico, so I'm first-generation Mexican. I grew up listening to Spanish music. I didn't learn English until I started school. I grew up in a minority neighborhood. My dad has 10 brothers and sisters, so we grew up together. With all my family. So to me it wasn't any different; we're a very very close family. We grew up just playing and listening to music and the only English music I knew was Michael Jackson, because my older cousins would listen to it.
"We always had to be dressed up and looking nice. My mom instilled that in us. I always wore heels growing up; I love wearing heels. I'm just more comfortable in heels. When I started working with Beyonce, I started wearing sneakers and boots because I had to keep up with her. She runs with heels and you gotta keep up!
"I went to school at Arizona State, and then I came to New York on an internship for the summer and I got the job, I worked in fashion. I worked for Jennifer Lopez, for her fashion company. After I ended up getting the job, I worked for her company for like five years. Then my friend who worked for Beyonce's father's company at the time, Music World, recommended me for a position that was opening up. I was like, 'No I don't think so. I'm OK.' And he said, 'No, you'll be great.' I applied and I met with her dad, then the president. Then I met again with her dad and then her mother and then her. Then, finally, I got the job as her personal assistant.
"I had never worked with someone so focused and committed. She's just very motivated and driven. She has this adrenaline that's very contagious. You keep up with her somehow. And I think, being her personal assistant, you have to protect her to make sure that everything is very...she kept to her personal life, she's a very private person. Being her brand manager now after working so closely with her--I know what levels she's is willing to expose and what she's not. And she's a very very private person, so she usually will be able to say what she wants to share of her personal life and what she doesn't but you learn that you don't they're just two separate things: her career and her personal life is that, just very personal.
Photo by Ricardo Nelson