'The Social' host Melissa Grelo on diversity in the media: 'No one looked like me'

'The Social' star opened up to Yahoo Canada about her career and wellness journey.

TORONTO, ON- JANUARY 4  -   Melissa Grelo, Co-Host of The Social and Your Morning, has a Doberman pinscher named Sultan.  in Toronto.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Melissa Grelo spoke to Yahoo Canada about exercise, mental health and diversity in media. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Melissa Grelo didn't know she wanted to become a journalist until she was 25, but once she found her niche, there was no stopping her.

As a child of immigrant parents, "The Social" host was encouraged to take academics seriously. Grelo made education her priority, and growing up she thought she'd be a teacher.

However, after two degrees and a couple years in the workplace, she realized it wasn't for her. Grelo had, what she described as, a "quarter-life crisis."

"At 25, I hit a wall. I wasn't loving what I was doing, and I didn't feel excited about it," Grelo told Yahoo Canada.

"I did the unthinkable and left teaching behind, dumped my loser boyfriend and figured out what makes me happy."

When choosing her next adventure, Grelo looked to her youth. She'd always been a news junkie, and after dinner, Grelo and her sister would read newspapers to their father.

Without realizing, those family moments fuelled her love for journalism.

Finding her place in media

There was one thing she felt was holding her back from jumping into the world of news — her ethnicity. Grelo is half-Filipino.

"I never saw anybody that remotely looked like me doing the news. So I thought it was not a place for me," Grelo admitted.

After some experience in the industry, and eventually seeing Asian reporters like CTV News' Pauline Chan in powerful roles, Grelo found her stride.

While she's currently known for "The Social," "CP24 Breakfast" and "CTV Your Morning," Grelo makes sure to still advocate for representation in the media industry.

To her, it's important to show the next generation they can do anything they put their minds to.

"We underestimate the power of who we see on our screens or in the news. So if I go on TV and show even one young person that it's OK to be different, then I've done by job and I'm happy," said the 46-year-old.

Minding health, physical and mental

Career aside, what makes Grelo happy is moving her body.

The mother-of-one is constantly posting inspiring workout videos and fitness motivation to her Instagram page, which receives hundred of comments from fans who love her content.

Grelo got serious about working out when she moved out of her family home. She realized she had a responsibility to look after her health, and proper nutrition and weekly exercise became a priority.

While her fitness routine has changed over the years, Grelo currently hits the gym three times a week — max. She lifts lighter weights for higher reps in a circuit-training style.

"People think you have to be slaving away in the gym seven days a week and you don't. Especially for perimenopausal women like me, a little weight training a week can help with bone health and osteoporosis," Grelo explained.

"But too much time in the gym can just be torture. Go out and enjoy your life. Getting in the sunshine and drinking enough water can be just as important as breaking a sweat sometimes."

However, Grelo is not an expert in fitness and nutrition and would advise people to consult with a physician on appropriate exercise routines.

In addition to weight training, Grelo likes to walk 10,000 to 15,000 steps per day and practice yoga or meditation for her mental health.

Like many people in the thick of the pandemic, Grelo's mental health suffered. She experienced anxiety and panic attacks, which forced her to reflect on her body and mind.

"It was a really hard time for a lot of people. But COVID, as scary as it is, made me realize that health and wellbeing is so important, so there's a silver lining. I always tell people that looking after yourself mentally and physically should be prioritized," Grelo said.

While it may take time, Grelo encouraged everyone to find a balance between diet, movement and mindfulness.

Connecting with family and friends, and finding a hobby you're passionate about, are other life tips Grelo swears by.

When it comes to advice for living your best, most healthy life, Grelo's advice is to listen to your heart.

"If the gym is too scary, try going outside for a walk or doing some exercises in your living room. Little baby steps done over time can add up to big accomplishments," she revealed.

I always tell people that looking after yourself mentally and physically should be prioritized.Melissa Grelo

While the TV host is not a physician, she advises paying attention to the things you're putting in your body — on a variety of fronts.

"If you eat well, you will feel more energized. If you surround yourself with good people, your heart will feel fuller," she noted.

"If you read or listen to inspiring concepts or news, your brain will stay sharp and happy. If you move your body, you won't have as much stiffness and pain. ... Always think about your body as a temple to be preserved and sustained."

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