Melissa Linsa

Melissa Linsa walking in a tunnel.

Helsinki is a place where I have found myself again.

Melissa Linsa

Melissa Linsa is an artist, photographer and dancer, and is an active member of the ballroom community. Helsinki has given Linsa the freedom to realise itself.

Melissa grew up in Vaasa and Turkey. She moved to Helsinki at the age of 20 “in pursuit of new dreams”. She has not missed living in the northern Finnish city of Vaasa, as she has found what she is looking for in Helsinki: freedom and like-minded people who provide the necessary peer support.

Compared to Vaasa, Helsinki offers a lot more to do, and as a brown person, Melissa considers Helsinki's multiculturalism to be vital. Here she has discovered the BIPOC community and feels she belongs more than she did in Vaasa. She still carries memories of Vaasa, but Helsinki has enabled so much more that moving back has never occurred to her.

“I moved to Helsinki in a hurry in 2018, and suddenly I found myself in Kontula, which is the best that could have happened to me at that point of my life!”

Helsinki for Linsa means openness and an opportunity for discovery. The ballroom culture has become an important part of her life.

“The balls themselves are hard to describe. It’s practically a competition with judges and a stage, although in the end it’s all about the atmosphere. The music is loud, and it feels like being at a club. If you are interested in getting involved, then follow us on Instagram, for example @melissa_linsa or @finlandballroomscene. The balls need to be experienced in order to understand what they represent.”

Next summer, Linsa plans to realise the bucket list she has created with friends. As a person belonging to a minority, she feels it is important to be able to romanticise and enjoy life. It’s easy for her to do it here, for example in the form of Sunday brunches. Something Melissa feels is missing from Helsinki could be “somewhat unrealistically, Turkish bazaars.” Also, Melissa feels there can never be too many different representations of art in Helsinki.