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Speaking on Nova's podcast Powerful Steps, the 51-year-old journalist, who left Channel Seven in 2020 after 25 years, opened up about how she dealt with being replaced by Samantha Armytage on the popular breakfast program, admitting there were a few tears in private.
"Every change has been a challenge, but I think it’s really important to not look for the negative in things that happen," she explained, adding challenges during her childhood helped her learn to come back stronger.
"Like so many people growing up, there was, you know, my parents split when I was a tiny baby and both of my parents remarried a few times," Melissa said.
"So I grew up with my motto being 's**t happens', you know? And I think it’s really important to just remember s**t happens and I’m not going to sit in the corner and woe is me."
Melissa also told host Tory Archbold she felt as though she was on autopilot after leaving Seven, where she had worked for almost half her life.
"I had to adjust in so many ways because I’d been there for so long that I felt like I was part of the furniture. So I had to, in my brain, stop talking about myself working at Seven in the present tense," she recalled.
"And then every morning I’d hop in the car to go to the gym or go somewhere and it’d say, you know, '25 minutes to Martin Place, traffic is light'. And that was like, oh, gee, thanks, you know, throwing salt in the wound. But it took a little while just to kind of, I guess, get over it."
Melissa said she tried to keep herself busy in the beginning, which included online events for charities and writing, as going from "100 to zero" wouldn't have been the best for her headspace.
But she eventually reached the point where she made sure to "take a breath".
"I’m not very good at doing nothing," she said. "So it then gave me the chance to think about what came next and to be in that position. I feel very lucky to have the moment to take a big deep breath and go, okay, well, what do I want to do?"
Melissa stressed she isn't bitter towards Seven and is simply grateful for every opportunity she received.
"I’m a glass half full person and I chose to say thank you. That was wonderful. Thanks for the ride. My gosh, I’ve just loved it," she said, adding she she didn't believe the network's decision to let her go was a personal one.
"It's just that's the way it is."
Speaking of her recent exclusive interview with Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert for Sky, who was held in an Iranian jail for over two years on a charge of espionage, Melissa said it was the confidence boost she needed.
"It felt good to know that I wasn’t washed up and over and I wasn’t going to have to find another career that I could still do what it is that I love to do the most. I felt good because Kylie was safe, that I knew that her story was going to be treated properly," Melissa said.
"I think self-doubt has probably been one of my biggest problems over the years. Questioning, 'Am I good enough for this? Should someone else be doing that?' It took me a while to realise, 'It is what it is. I'm here. So stop questioning it, just do it.'"
Melissa is currently working on a book and recording an audio documentary about women and the stigma attached to ageing.
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