Melissa Hornung is so much more than the girl next door, she is a Renaissance Woman. The dictionary describes a renaissance man or woman as someone who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field. I had the opportunity to meet Melissa at the Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower this November. In addition to being a world traveled equestrian and polo player, she is an international model, published writer, an incredible artist and recently a clothes designer.
I met Melissa several times during her stay in Scottsdale while she participated in the Scottsdale Polo Championships. I haven’t previously had much exposure to polo and found myself totally enamored with this fascinating sport and the camaraderie of the players. Melissa was kind enough to introduce me to her fellow players Sunny Hale, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs and she even introduced me to the Captain of the Wales Men’s Polo Team Ricky Cooper. Melissa was very complimentary of her fellow team members and especially gracious to the leadership skills for her team captain Sunny Hale. Despite the competitive nature of professional sports there seems to be a mutual respect and elegance which drew me in to polo.
Here is a few things about Melissa in her own words…
I was born…in Westfield, New Jersey.
The most influential person in my life as a child was…God….if that counts as a person. If not, I would have to say my mother. She is really feisty and fun, always seeking adventure and dressed for the occasion. Oh, and she can cook!
I believe women can do anything that they put their mind to… even play in a predominantly male, high contact sport and be good at it while wearing her favorite lip gloss.
The biggest challenge being in a male dominated profession is… probably the high physical contact and risk of injury.
My guilty pleasure is… Guinness beer and southern fried chicken! Mmmmmmmmm!
My favorite movie of all time is… by far the God Father Trilogy! Classic
One thing no one knows about me… I am really just a farm girl at heart. My dream is to raise goats and sheep and make cheese and soap some day. Maybe even harvest my own honey. The name “Melissa” means honey bee. I am happiest when I am surrounded by nature and my menagerie of pets.
My proudest moment was… winning the World Cup of Beach Polo in 2011. I had played every year since 2009 and it’s a tough competition to win. The final was so intense and we won with sheer determination and team work. Carlos Gracida, a polo professional from a very famous polo family walked up to us after the final and said “that was the most intense final I have ever seen…and I don’t mean women’s final, I mean final;” A very proud moment indeed.
One thing I’ve learned that I want to pass on to young women is… One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t flaunt your pearls in front of swine for they will trample them in the mud” Hold yourself in the highest esteem, the greatest gift you can pass onto yourself and to the world is your very own passion and the willingness to believe.
One of my future aspirations is to write a book that will inspire people.
Melissa is a beautiful and down to earth woman with a big heart whom I consider a fabulous girlfriend and she really makes me proud of what we can do and be as women.
Wow! Thank you Smart Fem for the honor of such a lovely article. Glad to see how you honor women in general and sing our praises for all of the ways we contribute to the world. Blessings!