At the time that Melissa contacted me for her headshots, I had just decided that I was going to write a book.


Melissa was reaching out to me to get some headshots that she could use for her new book which was about to be published. I was so excited to work with yet another author, to learn about her creative and publishing processes. I also love that I can create headshots for these authors that will either go in their book or go towards the marketing of their book.
Melissa’s storyline is as interesting and unique as she is. Read on to find out more about this up and coming South African author.
Erica photographed by Abigail K Photography A Cape Town based Portrait Photographer

Meet the Client

Business Name
Missy Volker – Author
Sunrise Beauty Studio – Beautician
Social Media Links
Explain what you do

I’m a writer, recycler, anxious stand up paddler, beauty therapist and slave of cats. I write mellow love stories with strong female protagonists and environmental themes. I blog about beauty therapy, writing, the ocean, surfing, travel and stand up paddling

Who’s your target market?

With regard to writing, I think my stories are a positive spin on life. They have a touch of humor, lots of hope and a good chunk of girl power. I enjoy people and their real life stories so the clients in my salon are the core of why I love what I do over there. Many of them have been an inspiration to me in my writing.

What problem of theirs do you solve?

A writing teacher once told me that a story should give people a more intense emotional experience than real life. I try to do that. It distracts people from their day to day stuff. We all need a break from the mundane routine and stress of life. Fiction is a great space for that reality recess. In beauty therapy, besides waxing, the very nature of the job hits the pause button on people’s stress.

What makes your product/service/business different?

I love beautiful writing and a great atmosphere in books I read, so I try to achieve that in what I write. Love stories like Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall have strong female protagonists and moody settings. Daphne du Maurier’s books, particularly RebeCafinnate Academy, have haunting yet intriguing atmospheres. I’m trying to bring something of that old school, retro vibe into stories about modern environmental issues. I do think the green agenda loses fans when it is preachy so I prefer to slip some awareness in via an entertaining story and hope it’s a win for the reader and the planet.

Why do you do what you do?

I write because I am compelled to from somewhere within. I find I express myself better on the page, so the process is cathartic. I also find it fulfilling when I am able to get what I am thinking out of my head into lucid prose. Writing is a lonely job, however, and I so thrive on the interaction with people in my beauty business. Also, I love the nuts and bolts of beauty therapy. I really enjoy nails, skincare and massage. The time flies by and I am stoked at the end of the day.

What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner & how did you overcome it?

Funnily enough, it’s confidence. (and I’m not just saying that.) To overcome the problem, I review the basics of what I do, practice what I have learned, stick close to the rules of technique and then just keep trying. Eventually confidence grows with practice and improvement of your skill.

What advice would you give other business women, either starting out or already in business?

Work hard. There are no shortcuts. And if you think there are, don’t take them. Just put your head down and work solidly and systematically. Build a good support system particularly if you have a young family. In order to achieve my work/life balance it has been helpful for my business to be proportional to the age of my children. When they were small, I found I coped and parented better by keeping my business small. As my children have grown, I have had more time for my work interests to grow.

What would you do differently if you could start your business again?

Nothing. I have no regrets. Every experience, positive or negative is a learning curve and contributes to moving forward.

What’s next for you and your business? What’s your big dream/goal?

My debut novel A Fractured Land is coming out this year. I hope to find a publisher for my second novel. My beauty business is doing well, I am nurturing it along and it brings me much joy. My surfing? Not so much. It needs the most work. I have so much to learn but I would really love to master a few long board style manoeuvres on my SUP in 2017.

Why did you need a photo shoot?

I needed a headshot for my media kit for my publisher.

What was your expectation for the photo shoot?

I was a bit nervous. I stressed about bringing the right clothes. I knew I was in good hands though, I knew the photography part would be great, I just worried about my side. I loved the recommended preparation though. I felt pretty spoilt by the time I got there.

What was your expectation for your images?

I expected them to be the same high standard as the other images on the website


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