People of GTB: Natasha De Melis

Around the office she’s known as Natasha, the social publisher, but to over 15,000 others around the world, she’s known as Mustang Marie. Our very own Natasha DeMelis has had an incredibly unique journey to her position at GTB, fueled by her deep passion for mustangs. This week, I sat down with Natasha to learn more about her drive to Dearborn: the birthplace of the iconic muscle car.

Q: Your path to GTB is a unique one. Could you tell us how you got to where you are today?

My path to GTB starts with a passion — a passion for all-things automotive, specifically the Ford Mustang. About two years ago, I decided to move my personal Instagram page into an automotive direction — showcasing my love for Mustang, with a specific focus on the first-generation years (1964–1973). This was the beginning of “Mustang Marie.” As the page began to grow in followers (due to countless connections made through other automotive pages on Instagram, and heading down to countless car shows), other brands started to pick up on what I was doing. One of those brands just so happened to be Ford Motor Company. Two of my photos were featured on Ford’s Instagram page, and in December 2016, I received a DM from Ford thanking me for my contribution to Mustang. I took that opportunity to inquire about a job opportunity, and well, I think we all know how that turned out :)

Q: When did you begin to have this passion for Mustangs?

It’s funny, really. There are no mechanics in my family. There are no racing enthusiasts. There are no automotive lovers. Sometimes I joke around and say, “I’m pretty sure I was a car in a previous life” because I honestly have no explanation. It’s almost as if cars chose me. I grew up with my brother, and older cousin, Stephen, who had the typical “boy toys” — Transformers, GI Joes, Lego, Dinky cars — well, I went straight for the cars. There are pictures of me when I’m 2-years-old playing with cars, sitting in cars, taking photos beside cars (and if you look at me now, you could say that some things really don’t change). I basically lived on the Hot Wheels Car Carpet my entire childhood.

But, why the Mustang? What is it about this car that overshadows everything else? Not only is the Ford Mustang one of the greatest all-American muscle cars the world has ever seen, but the 53-year legacy this car possesses and the community of car lovers it has single-handedly brought together, is absolutely mind-blowing. Back in 1964, this car was made for the people, and we have never forgotten about that.

It was also the first vehicle that ever received a starring role in a movie (the original “Gone In 60 Seconds” as “Eleanor”), and has been in countless movies where the car has been humanized. The driver had a relationship with the car — talked to it in a way that’s never been done with another car before. For me, that was special. It reminded me of all the times I, too, would talk to my dinky cars, and hum the sound of shifting gears. That’s when I fell in love with this car.

Q: What about your account has helped you the most with your career as a social publisher?

Everyone in the agency was excited that an “influencer” was being brought to the team. It was the first time a person on the team knew the vehicle so well, and understood the Mustang community like no one else. My deep passion for this vehicle has really helped to identify what the community is looking for, and in turn, what is going to work in the social space. Mustang Marie has enabled me to make a lot of connections with a wide array of companies and individuals within Mustang, and taking those connections and utilizing them for Mustang will keep it moving in the right direction.

Q: You’re a self-starter. What is your advice to young professionals or those looking to join the advertising industry?

This is an extremely cliché statement, but I can’t stress how true it is. If you have the will, the passion to do something, that is going to be your strongest motivation. If you believe in something so strongly, never give up on it. Yes, you’ll get knocked down, but if you keep picking yourself back up, you can honestly conquer anything.