'I think schools should add aromatherapy to the curriculum'
Melanie Jane Nightingale, aromatherapist and founder of Masterclasses with Melanie, on her love for fragrances, fear of flying (despite once being an airhostess), and showing haters how it's done
What is your best childhood memory?
Playing in the daffodil fields on weekends with my sisters and bringing a bunch of them home for my father. They are still my favourite flower and hard to get in the UAE, so I resorted to buying artificial ones from Daiso - I bought every bunch they had!
If you could move anywhere in the world, what place would that be?
To our home in France. My husband could start work on renovating one of our outbuildings into my summer fragrance school, where I'd hold weekend classes for making natural perfumes and aromatherapy remedies. My dream is to spend winter in Dubai and summer at our home in France, so I can teach all year round.
The biggest learning point or experience in your life.
Thinking that just because I had a great idea that I was passionate about, it would be an overnight success. I have worked hard for over six years trying to build my brand in the UAE and only now have I started to get real recognition for it. It takes a certain type of determination and a little bit of crazy to keep going and make it work.
What is the one skill you'd love to learn, and why?
I'd really love to learn how to sing, I was born on the same day as Mariah Carey and, unfortunately, I don't share her talent for tunes. I love to sing anywhere and everywhere; sometimes, I just burst into song in random places but it's not pleasant for the people around me, because I'm tone deaf!
What advice would you give your younger self, if you could?
Do what makes you happy and stop trying to please people or worrying about what others think of you. My mother brought me up with the ridiculous notion that it mattered what complete strangers, that I'd never see again, thought about me. silly things like dipping my bread in my soup in a restaurant. People for the most part are too busy getting on with their own lives to care about what you're doing.
If you could go back to any era in time or witness any major event in history, which one would it be, and why?
I would have loved to have witnessed the abdication of King Edward. The love that man had for the love of his life was so profound that he gave up the throne. I think that's the most romantic gesture in the world, ever.
Your greatest fear.
Flying - even though I was a cabin crew member for a year, I still dread it and all kinds of scenarios go through my head. I always put off packing until hours before I fly so I don't think about it too much.
If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day, who would it be and why?
Mariah Carey, for sure. At least I'd be able to sing well for a day! I would want to experience that diva lifestyle too, with yacht parties, fancy dresses and diamonds on my shoes.
Favourite movie character of all time - and why.
Muriel from Muriel's Wedding - it's my favourite movie ever. Even though she did some bad things, like stealing money from her dad, she desperately wanted to get away from her mundane life where she was ridiculed by people who said she was a loser and thought they were better than her. I resonate with that feeling. Thank goodness, I moved away from people like that and proved them wrong.
If you were President of your country, what is the first thing you'd do?
I would add a course on aromatherapy to the curriculum at schools. Children are under so much pressure at school from such a young age, and something as simple as using lavender for relaxation or rosemary for studying can dramatically improve their mental and emotional health and reduce stress, in my opinion.
- Staff Reporter