Meet Melissa Flashman
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
If I don't go to yoga or barre in the morning, I usually skim The New York Times on my phone for a half hour or so in bed (haven't managed to exile the phone from the bedroom yet) and then get dressed and maybe try to read a bit of a manuscript. If weather permits, I walk the mile or so through Fort Greene Park to the subway listening to podcasts. I've been listening to Slate's Double X, and the culture and political gabfests for over ten years. I also love Why Oh Why, Pod Save America, Invisibilia, Call Your Girlfriend, Planet Money and Still Processing. I usually grab some sort of egg sandwich or oatmeal on the way into the office near Bryant Park. I need a lot of breakfast.
ON One of her favorite books
Take Care of Yourself by Sophie Calle was my birthday present to myself a couple years ago. Her work, which has gained more recognition in the States in recent years, is playfully intellectual and not scared to make the personal or the social art. The book famously grew out of a project to subject a break up letter she received to intense scrutiny and interpretation by dozens of professionals including a lawyer and a clairvoyant. It’s a great book to dip in and out of, regardless of your feelings about literary romantic exegesis.
On her favorite part of her daily routine
I'd be lying if I didn't say it was drinks with whoever is in the office for late afternoon/early evening meetings. We have a wraparound stone terrace that overlooks half of midtown and when the weather is nice we sit outside, preferably with a glass of wine and talk books. It's basically my fantasy of grown up life come true and the sunsets are not to be missed.
On her Favorite Beauty Products
I like Amarte’s Aqua Veil and sunscreen and Kevin Murphy Powder Puff (hair volumizer) and the Weleda Skin Food everyone else loves (there is a reason, plus the packaging is my favorite shade of pea green).
On Getting Her Start As a Literary Agent
After college I spent a couple years in a motley assortment of gigs and jobs: general manager of a hip hop/R&B station in central Kentucky where I grew up, a year in an English PhD program at Johns Hopkins, cool hunter in NYC at the agency Malcolm Gladwell wrote about, advertising copywriter at a dot com company satirized in The New Yorker piece My Fake Job. Once the dot com bubble burst, I thought maybe I would try my hand at journalism or work in fashion, so I started freelance writing and also interned at Nylon. One week I applied for two jobs in media: one as a junior editor at a glossy magazine and the other to be an assistant at a literary agency. I talked to a couple people in book publishing about the role of agents, and I knew I had found my calling. I was an assistant for two talented agents before I started representing my own writers. Book publishing is a field that runs on a lot of institutional knowledge so being an apprentice for a few years is essential training and I learned from some great mentors.
On her favorite places to shop
I love No. 6 for shoes, Totokaelo (more shoes), Rachel Comey (shoes again), COS and Everlane for basics (I live in Everlane white silk blouses), Clare V for bags, wallets. I grew up scouring thrift stores and dollar a pound outlets and still love to hunt for the odd find Century 21. Their new store in downtown Brooklyn has big dressing rooms and no lines.
On her nightly routine
I’m out a lot after work so I don’t have a ton of fire when I finally make it back to my doorstep. Basically I make a drink (lately it's an aperitif called Red made by Fourthave) and cook dinner with my boyfriend. He’s the much better cook, so basically I’m the sous chef, which is how God intended things.
Mel's FAVORITE BOOKS
Mel's FAVORITE RECORD
Mel's FAVORITE MOVIES
Mel's FAVORITE PLACES
I love eating at the bar or getting a drink at Bar Bolinas
The rose garden on nearby Pratt's campus is a peaceful reading spot to lollygag away a Sunday afternoon
The quiet Myrtle Ave side of Fort Greene Park is vastly underrated
The fried bodega chicken at Yafa Deli is one of the best in the city and definitely the cheapest.
Tasting menu dinner at Locanda