We chat to the TV presenter and former model about her exciting current projects and future goals.
With Melanie Faldo. Photography Jenny Smith
Melinda Messenger is a former model and television presenter who worked on the game show Fort Boyard, presented the magazine programme Live from Studio Five and spent 10 years as co-presenter of the reality TV show Cowboy Builders.
Melinda now lives in a West Berkshire village with her three children and works as a psychotherapist and Dreams Guide.
You recently climbed Snowden, Ben Nevis, and tackled a high-altitude six-day 48-mile trek through mountainous Nepal, raising money to build a residential school for deaf children. You obviously love to challenge yourself! Could you tell us a bit about your trip to Nepal?
My 48-mile trek through Nepal was incredible! It was a fantastic experience.
I fell in love with Nepal 10 years ago when I visited my brother one Christmas. He lives there. Following the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, I have kept a close eye on the plight of the Nepalese people.
Nepal is such a beautiful place and the people who live there are so kind and generous. But after the earthquake in 2015, they needed help and funds so badly.
The aim of my trek was to raise funds to rebuild a residential school for hearing impaired children, to challenge ourselves with the trek which took us up to 4000 meters in the Himalayan mountains and experience Nepalese culture.
Midlife is such an important and powerful stage of life; the challenge is to keep on growing and developing! You shouldn’t stop when you get to a certain age. It’s good to keep challenging yourself. As I have grown older, I am much happier and more content in myself yet I want to continue to grow and develop, through new challenges and experiences.
Do you have any new challenges or exciting projects on the horizon?
Another big challenge is on the cards but again I can’t talk about it yet Other than that, I am about to do the 3 peaks challenge in Yorkshire which is 25 miles in 12 hours for the AB-Foundation which supports humanitarian projects both in the UK and abroad. We will also be doing another trek to Nepal in May of next year. Anyone who wants to join us for the adventure can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2009 you appeared in Dancing on Ice. Would you consider appearing on Strictly Come Dancing?
It slightly terrifies me as I would not have a clue what I was doing but that also appeals to me as it would be such a huge challenge for me on many levels.
I love anything that involves a journey, discovering new things about myself or overcoming challenges. I don’t know how I would deal with my nerves if I were to do Strictly, but perversely the fear also attracts me!
When did you begin training as a psychotherapist? Is that something that you have always wanted to do?
In 2010, I decided to train as a psychotherapist. It is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been working steadily for the past eight years with charities and private clients and am fully qualified after completing both my Diploma and Masters degree.
I remember being around 7 years old and thinking I wanted to be a psychiatrist or a teacher.
My mum said: ‘Oh no, you’d have to go to university, you can’t do that.’ We take in these ideas of what we can and can’t do which can cause an internal struggle even when you know that it’s just a perception and not the truth. However it can be challenging not to be held back by other people’s ideas of what you can or cannot achieve, but their ideas should not stop you.
My desire to work in a healing profession stayed with me so I retrained. It’s a calling of the heart.
We know that you are now working as a psychotherapist but can we look forward to seeing you on TV again anytime soon?
Yes I am a qualified psychotherapist now with over 10 years of training under my belt. I now work at London’s Centre for Psychotherapy but I still contribute to TV debates around mental health and take part in TV shows that appeal, they usually have to have some element of challenge in them for me.