Actress Mel Jarnson On Her Career Dreams, Personal Style & Being Inspired By Her Characters

“I find myself buying things I never normally would… and end up living in them.”

Mel Jarnson is all over the place — in the best way.

 

A true citizen of the world — living in six countries and trilingual before 18 — the rising Thai-Australian actress, best known for her roles in Mortal Kombat and Blacklight, is still on the move.

 

Her next destination? London.

 

Ahead of her relocation, we caught up with the long-time Aje Muse in Sydney, where she stepped out in the latest looks from Summer 24 ‘Abstraction’.

 

Opening up about her personal style, acting dreams and growing up globally, read on for our conversation with Mel Jarnson.

 

Mel Jarnson wears the Soundscape Maxi Dress 

Mel Jarnson wears the Trinity Crystal Oversized Knit (Coming Soon)

Mel Jarnson wears the Spirit Belted Jumpsuit (Coming Soon)

 The Aje Report: You have been a longstanding friend of Aje. How would you describe your personal style, and how does that work with Aje?

 

Mel: It’s really random, but also comfortable, and probably mostly comes from the menswear section. Someone recently described my style as if “my wardrobe was a playlist on shuffle”. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’ll take it.

 

Aje has so many statement pieces, which helped bring me out of my comfort zone and shaped my current relationship with colour. I used to be ‘all black everything’, and now the inside of my suitcase looks like a candy shop.

 

What were some of your favourite pieces from the shoot, and why?

 

My favourite piece on the shoot was the pink Soundscape dress, it was so girly and whimsical in the best way. The red Gazer Rosette Mini dress too — a little girl came right up to me while we were shooting just to feel it, and yes, I absolutely melted. It’s so textured and the colour is the perfect red. I got to — literally — frolic around in beautiful gowns and dresses for a day. So good!

“I’ve learned how, the more agency you get, the more inevitably uncomfortable it’ll make those around you — no matter how caring they are. But it's so much more meaningful and fulfilling when you do have agency.”

Mel wears the Aeriel Bib Front Dress

You will be relocating to London soon. Tell us how that decision came about.

 

I spent a lot of time in London during the four years my family and I lived in Brussels, so it feels simultaneously nostalgic and familiar. I’m also just going where work takes me for the time being — so London isn’t necessarily the final destination.

 

What are your fondest memories of Sydney?

 

Exploring the bush and nature are my fondest memories. I adore the wildlife. And visiting my mum’s side of the family in Adelaide for Christmas as a kid are core and favourite memories of Australia.

 

Before living in Sydney, you had lived around the world including India, Thailand and Belgium, and you're trilingual. How did each of those locations shape you?

 

It was a massively disorienting and privileged experience at the same time. I moved countries six times before even turning 18. I was raised trying to balance English, French, Thai and Hindi, a lot of my friends are scattered all over the world so we sometimes have to go years without seeing each other.

 

I missed out on important life events throughout — funerals, weddings, kids being born etc. — but I also saw so much from such a young age. Although I often feel the need to shrink that experience, it was, for all its faults, an absolutely incredible adventure.

 

Mel wears the Aeriel Oversized Shirt (Coming Soon)

You moved to Australia when you were 17 for university. What was that like?

Australia was so challenging to move to. An extremely cliquey city as it is so far away from much of the world. I felt very isolated, and it was so different from my other moves. I really missed my parents, my friends and, most of all, Thai culture.

I think the country still has a problem with accepting outsiders, and it definitely took me a very long time to find my people and feel settled. I’m grateful I stuck it out. I’ve been so lucky to have had a home base in two countries — my adoptive family in Australia and my folks back in Bangkok.

 

You have a sense of ease with your style. How did you come to develop it?

I love it when people say that because really, most days I’ll probably try three outfits before walking out the door, catch my reflection and go back and change another several times. On other days, I won’t have time to do all that and will just throw together the most mismatched random fit. Ironically, the latter usually looks better than the carefully curated looks.

 

What have you learnt from your time as an actress?

Such a big question! It’s still early days, I’m still learning. This, of course, isn’t exclusive to acting:

I’ve learned how, the more agency you get, the more inevitably uncomfortable it’ll make those around you — no matter how caring they are. But it's so much more meaningful and fulfilling when you do have agency. I’m really trying to get more comfortable exercising autonomy — it’s something I think, sadly, as women, we’re often vilified for. As difficult as it can be, it is worth it, that much I know.

 

Mel wears the Casabianca Mini (Coming Soon)

“… I genuinely love going out on my own and hunting for pieces as ‘her’. I find myself buying things I never normally would… and end up living in them.”

Mel wears the Charmed Mini Dress

What are you most looking forward to in your acting career in the future?

The thought of producing has been surprisingly exciting lately, particularly when going back to my most recent answer. I enjoy acting, but adore the entire medium of filmmaking and want to get as involved in it as I possibly can.

To be able to bring more Thai stories to life, and be a part of bringing the perhaps riskier topics from back home to more screens, is definitely a long-term dream of mine. I love my hometown, Bangkok, and would love to produce a love letter to it someday. And I’m a giant fantasy nerd, so doing more in that realm would be a dream come true.

 

How has your acting career influenced your approach to style?

Giant cliché — but I think you sort of take a little bit of each character with you every time. I’ve recently developed a love for exploring whoever I’m playing’s sense of style. Thinking about: What shoes she’d walk in? How functional is her wardrobe? Does she like jewellery? Does she like colour-blocking or neutrals? Is she a kitten heel or a Birkenstock girl?

It’s been a really fun way to not only embody the character but also get to know myself in the process. The costume department is so crucial, but I genuinely love going out on my own and hunting for pieces as ‘her’. I find myself buying things I never normally would… and end up living in them.

 

Shop the 'Abstraction' Edit by Mel Jarnson

Explore the latest looks from Summer 24 'Abstraction'

Aje Insider: Mel Jarnson

Photographer: Natalia Parsonson