Actress and disability ambassador is named Alumna of the Year

  • Date

    Mon 13 May 19

Melissa Johns

East 15 graduate Melissa Johns is our Alumna of the Year 2019 thanks to her inspiring work as an actor and activist.

Melissa, who studied at the East 15 Acting School, joined British soap opera Coronation Street in 2017 and is also well known as a disability campaigner.

She said: “I was in complete shock when I was approached to be the Alumna of the year for Essex, I always thought this was awarded to people who have studied an academic subject, for doctors and scientists, so for me it has given validation on how much you can reach out and change the world through the arts. I feel so honoured.”

Her time at East 15 had a huge impact on Melissa. She said: “East 15 took everything about me, all the wonderful things my disability had given me in my life so far, and completely embraced it and allowed me to go on to magnify and glorify it.”

So what is her advice for our 2019 graduates? She said: “It’s the same for anything in life, you’ll get knocked back but you have to build up a resilience and find out what your fight is and fight for it. Things don’t come to you, you have to chase them and let the world know why it should be you.”

Find out more about Melissa's journey on the Essex Alumni Blog