Interview with Melissa Humaña-Paredes

It’s time for our April interview! Today you will learn a bit about Melissa Humaña-Paredes! Mel is a beach volleyball player for Team Canada (and is my partner!!). She has represented Canada internationally for several years, and was the 2014 FIVB World Tour Rookie of the Year. She and her former partner, Taylor Pischke, won Bronze at the U21 World Championships in Poland, and she represented Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. I hope you can learn a little bit from her awesome perspective on life, and enjoy what she has to say.
 

Interview with Melissa Humaña-Paredes

 

1. How did you get started playing volleyball?

I grew up in the volleyball world because of my dad. I fell in love with the sport at a very young age and started playing beach volleyball when I was 12 years old, before playing indoor volleyball. Playing beach first was pretty uncommon since most of my friends started with indoor first.
 

2. Did you play other sports growing up, or were you always a volleyball athlete?

When I was young I dabbled in soccer and I ran track for a bit, but volleyball was definitely my dominant sport. I committed to it very early and in hindsight, I wish I played more sports.
 

3. When did you know that you wanted to pursue volleyball past high school? What steps did you take to make that happen?

I knew fairly early on that I wanted to run with volleyball. I was 15 when I played in my first international event representing Canada, and it kind of took off from there! When I was young, I was a member of my dad’s Elite Beach Volleyball Club, played in all the OVAs [Ontario Volleyball Association tournaments] in the summer. Even though I got cut from Team Ontario initially, I tried out for all the beach programs that were being offered.
 

4. Did you ever experience any setbacks on the way to achieving your dreams? If so, how did you overcome them?

Absolutely. When I was younger I was cut from the provincial team and was constantly told that my height wasn’t going to be enough internationally. So I worked harder and learned how to jump higher.

I’ve also suffered a few serious injuries. Overcoming those took a lot of patience, dedication and mental strength. I had to be consistent with my therapy and rehab. It was pretty tough being sidelined but I never sulked. It made me grow as an athlete and, oddly, I’m grateful for those injuries because they taught me a lot about myself, my body and my support system around me.
 

5. What is your fondest sports-related memory?

Just one?! I can give you 3. Winning the silver medal at U19 World Championships with Victoria [Altomare] on home soil (in Halifax, Nova Scotia) is still something unforgettable and really instilled the belief that medaling on the international stage is possible… even from a country that has snow on the ground for the majority of the year. It kickstarted it all. But also winning the NORCECA Finals with Taylor Pischke is another unforgettable experience – we had to overcome a lot to reach the top. There is something to be said to stand on top of the podium and hear your national anthem play. Not many feelings override that. And lastly, this past summer having the opportunity to be an alternate/training team for the 2016 Rio Olympics was an enormously beneficial learning experience. Of course I would have preferred been participating, but this was the next best thing and a driving motivation to be there one day. In 2020.
 

Melissa serving at the Puerto Vallarta Open


 

6. What is one of the most important lessons you have learned during your athletic career?

Don’t let other people determine your happiness.
 

7. If you could go back and do everything over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?

I’m not sure I would change anything. Everything that’s happened has taught me something and made me the athlete/person I am today. Actually, don’t drink the water in Mexico guys. Don’t do it.
 

8. If you could give one piece of advice to young athletes, what would it be?

Create a solid, balanced support system; surround yourself with people that support, love, respect and push you because that will make all the difference.
 

9. What 2 things do you do daily/weekly, etc. that make you a successful athlete?

I prioritize sleep. And I try to have a balanced lifestyle and make time for things I enjoy outside of sports; bike riding, visiting my niece, cooking, baking, reading, attending concerts/musicals, seeing friends & family.
 

10. What is your favourite place you have played?

I think Gstaad, Switzerland is the most beautiful place I’ve played in. Although my wallet may disagree, I’m excited to go back. But playing on home soil is something special – winning a silver medal in Halifax at the U19 World Champs and playing in Toronto for PanAms.
 

11. Do you have a specific health or wellness routine?

I eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m not. I listen to my body because it’ll tell me what I need when. [I love this way of thinking! It is so important for athletes to fuel their bodies. I wish more athletes, especially female athletes, took this attitude.]
 

Melissa celebrating at the Pan Am Games in Toronto


 

12. What is in your gym bag?

 

13. What are 5 things you can’t live without?

  1. Lip chap
  2. Music
  3. Lululemon leggings
  4. Chocolate-covered almonds
  5. Puppies

 

14. What do you do to unwind? What are your hobbies?

Music is my go-to for unwinding, and a nice scented candle. My siblings and I routinely schedule board games nights, I’m a concert-goer, and now that I’m about to graduate I’m pumped to read more than just school material! …Or get hooked on some TV series. If you have suggestions for books/tv series, hit me up [see how to contact Mel below].
 

You can follow Melissa on the following social media platforms:

Twitter: @melissa_hp10

Instagram: @melissahumanaparedes

Snapchat: @melissahumana

 

I hope you all enjoyed reading about Melissa. Be sure to follow her journey to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and stay tuned for our May interview!!

 

xo, Sarah

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