10 Random Facts about Melanie Downey

  •  On the same day my husband proposed and told me his company was transferring him to Australia, I was offered a job as Marketing Director of Viaweb, (founded by Y Combinator's Paul Graham). I had been doing PR for them as a freelancer in the evenings (I had to keep my day job at a PR agency for the health insurance, which Viaweb didn't offer).   I turned the job down, and spent an hour on the phone that night while Fred Egan, the COO, tried to convince me I was making a mistake.  But I was excited to get married and see Australia. A few weeks later, Yahoo aquired Viaweb for $49 million. Then my husband's company folded... We've still never been to Australia. (But I'm happily married and have two great teenagers.)
  • Courtney Love was the first person I told outside my immediate family that I was pregnant with my firstborn. It was at the Wired Magazine Awards in 2000 and after throwing up in the bathroom stall, I walked out, saw her, and blurted out, “I’m pregnant!”
  • I once piloted the Monster.com Blimp over Massachuetts. It’s pedal-powered -- Like a bike.
Melanie Downey dance photo
  • I had a partial mastectomy in my late 20s, and it was suggested that belly dancing might help with body image issues. Here I am before a performance at a Breast Cancer Fundraiser a few years ago (in my 40s). I designed and made the costume myself with fabric, trinkets, and a glue gun.
  • I have a hairless dog, Penny. I bought a sewing machine and learned to sew so I could make her clothes. Here we are in matching outfits.   She's the one in yellow.
Publicity Expert Melanie Downey and her dog
  • I only watch movies that are funny because I have Mirror Touch Synesthesia. Watching violent movies physically hurts me.  
  • I was kicked out of Catholic School in grade 8 (my one and only claim to rebellion).
  • I played Barbara Howard in the 2012 film In the Valley. 
  • If I had the money, I'd start a TV show where nonprofits can tell their stories to win grant money. There are so many great ones out there that could use the publicity!