An actress with a background in taekwondo who performs her own stunts and also has her own fashion label is a rare find. Creatives like that are few and far between. However, Melanie Wozniak is solidifying her place as a woman of many talents. Her inspiring work ethic allows her to pursue her passion for acting as she stars in the television series ITCH as Jack. She has also used her recent downtime to foster her other passion, fashion. With the launch of her fashion label, MW, Melanie has designed beautifully crafted leather handbags sold on her instagram page.
Melanie’s unique background as a competitive figure skater and dancer prepared her for the physicality of her role as Jack on ITCH. ITCH has been picked up for a second season by BYU tv and shooting for it starts very soon.
We caught up with Melanie to discuss everything from fashion to taekwondo as well as her thoughts on Season 2 of ITCH!
Cliché: How have you been spending your time while quarantined?
MW: My time in quarantine has made me take a step back from my busy lifestyle and focus on my yoga practice again. It’s been a nice change to refocus my energy on what’s important. Also, being able to reflect on the changing world and current events that are shaping our future. It’s become a daily habit of mine in quarantine to advocate and educate myself on the current events. Being a strong advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement to create a positive change for us all has been empowering for me.
You are a very creative person and I know fashion is one of your many interests. What about the world of fashion draws you in?
To me, the world of fashion, is a representation of how one expresses themselves and their ideas. Fashion is way more than just clothing and I’ve always been drawn into the craft and long history of this art form. I’ve always had a keen eye for the construction of clothing and the fabric choice. In particular, how the concept is formed and driven through the entire collection. The abstract ideas and moods created are so inviting. They challenge others to delve into the world and ideas being portrayed. In the world of fashion, you can be whoever you want to be.
Are there any upcoming fashion-centered projects you are working on?
This down time has allowed me to reflect on my other creative passions. It has opened the space for me to start my own fashion label; MW. I have chosen to focus on designing a modern, edgy and youthful leather bag that can be worn by anybody. These bags are designed, hand-stitched and hand crafted by myself only. The leather is locally sourced here in Western Australia. My leather bags are inspired by the modern day country man and the landscape and nostalgia from my travels through the American West. As a designer I have forever been inspired by the wilderness so it was through these leather bags that I wanted to invite everyone into my personal experiences. This bag is a representation of myself, and who I am. MW is being sold through my creative instagram page @melaniewozniakcreative
Tell us about your television series ITCH.
ITCH is a teen drama action series, based off British writer Simon Mayo’s novel, “ITCH”. It is about a young boy named Itch, who discovers a radioactive rock, and it is up to him and his friends to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. I play Itch’s cousin, JACK, who is a taekwondo champion, and Itch’s best friend. Season 1 has been aired on ABC, and the season has been picked up by BYU tv in the states, BBC in the UK, TVNZ in New Zealand and YLE in Finland. Season 2 is in the pipe-line and I’m SO excited to start filming!!!
Do you find any similarities between your character, Jack, and yourself?
I do believe there are many similarities between myself and JACK. Jack is a YES person, which I pride myself on being. I love new experiences, getting out of my comfort zone, and I have a passion for adventure. Jack is also fiercely loyal to her friends and family which I think is one of my best qualities. Jack also uses taekwondo as her rock, and I can relate to using exercise as a rock to stay grounded and practice discipline. When I first auditioned for JACK, I really felt connected to her and it was easy for me to understand her character and thoughts because of these similarities. I’m so lucky to be able to breathe life into the character of JACK.
I heard that you performed many of your own stunts on the show! What was that experience like?
I sure did! It was SO much fun! I really love to get physical, learn new skills and challenge my body! There was a private taekwondo coach on set who I met with every couple of days to perfect the fight scenes and choreography. I loved that experience because not only did it give me the confidence to perform the stunts on set with ease, but it also adds to my knowledge of the art form of taekwondo. Shows that give you the opportunity to explore fight combat and other stunts are so special. I really believe it expands the qualities that I can offer as an actor. Also, it challenges me personally to delve into a workout program I maybe otherwise wouldn’t have done on my own. So, thank you ITCH!
What are you looking forward to most for Jack in Season 2 of ITCH?
I think there is room for Jack to explore the ‘kick-ass’ side to her. In season 1 we see her fight the bad guys a couple of times, but I think it would be really fun to see her bite her teeth into more fight scenes and chase scenes. There is such a power for young viewers to see a strong and independent character, especially one who stands up for themselves and fights for what is right and defends her friends. I am most excited for Jack to be this strong and courageous girl for our viewers! I know I needed a role model like that growing up.