"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, October 21, 2013

84. Melissa Billington

Wellington, New Zealand · Arts and


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I am the creatrix of MYOGA--freedom to unfold, a fusion yoga practice, currently based in Powa Centre, Wellington, New Zealand. This year I published the MYOGA Basics Series in photobook/audio form and taught at an international yoga conference. 

I've been focused on these two wellness businesses for the past five years, but am now writing a play, PocaHAUNTus not your Disney princess. As 13th lineal descendant of Pocahontas, I share stories of madness, murder, mayhem, marriage and mothers. With an aim to transmute ancestral poison into potion, the relativity of truth and simultaneous time are explored. This is a solo theatrical performance of song, dance & multi-media story-telling & is part of the 2014 Wellington Fringe Festival. 

Before moving to New Zealand, I lived in India & the Caribbean. 

Next year I hope to visit family & friends in the US & conceive a child (god/dess willing!). 

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

Working in the costume shop! It set me up to design shows there, to work at the Santa Fe Opera for four seasons and then as a full-time milliner to the stars in NYC. It was like a second home where I could indulge in my love of fabrics while recreating time periods through clothing. One of the first pieces I made was a codpiece, and the male actor was not shy about enjoying his costume fitting...

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

Since I've been exploring my ancestral connection to Pocahontas from a very young age, I was stoked to meet Frederic Gleach while at Cornell and read his research on the Powhatan people. I was also pleased to be able to create a mask play while an undergrad that was informed partly by his anthropological perspective.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

I lived in Puerto Rico for a few years & was listed on the alumni grouping there. When I moved to New Zealand I connected in to see if there were any Cornellians in New Zealand & there were! I have since done business & shared meals/good times with a few of them, both in Wellington & in NYC.