From an early age, CNN entertainment correspondent Chloe Melas knew that she loved being in front of the camera. “My friend and I used to film ourselves doing comedy sketches in my bedroom,” she laughs.
That was back in Atlanta, before Melas, 34, moved to Pelham and before she made a name for herself in journalism by breaking the news that actor Kevin Spacey had allegedly sexually assaulted a production assistant on the set of Netflix’s House of Cards.
It was also before embarking on a public crusade to raise funds and awareness for infertility and before her young family narrowly escaped a fire that gutted their home just weeks before the world was shuttered by COVID-19.
“I’m just looking for some calm,” says Melas. “It’s been a long haul.”
Like most big names in her industry, Melas started out at the bottom of the totem pole, as a news assistant in CNN’s New York bureau. Quickly “burned out on headline and business news,” Melas jumped at an opportunity to team up with entertainment/women’s-magazine editor Bonnie Fuller to launch celebrity news site Hollywoodlife.com.
“There were many tears,” says Melas. “It was very intense, very cutthroat, very Devil Wears Prada.” Still, her years with Fuller taught her how to break news, afforded exclusive access to her Hollywood heroes and heart throbs, and, most importantly: “I got really strong on camera.”
In 2016, as CNN was beginning to feature more entertainment-related news, Melas was brought back on board as a New York-based entertainment writer. She had recently married NYC restaurateur and fitness guru Brian Mazza of Mamaroneck, was in the process of renovating a 100-year-old Tudor in Pelham, and desperately trying to have a child despite her low ovarian reserve and her husband’s diagnosed poor sperm quality.
“I’m just looking for some calm. It’s been a long haul.”
Just as all eyes were turning toward Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement was growing legs, Kevin Spacey apologized on Twitter for alleged inappropriate conduct with a teenage Anthony Rapp (Rent), simultaneously announcing that he is gay. “That sounded suspicious to me,” says Melas, who spent the next two days “pretty much locked in a closet,” cold-calling the cast and crew of House of Cards.
Not one week earlier, she had returned from maternity leave — in vitro fertilization had resulted in a baby boy — and less than four days after Spacey tweeted his response to the initial allegations against him, Melas broke the story of Spacey’s alleged sexual harassment of numerous other people connected with the show, as well as an assault. He was fired by Netflix hours later, and Melas says she, at 31, was instantly “all over CNN.”
“Suddenly, all my insecurities about whether I could make it in journalism melted away,” Melas recalls. “And I wondered why I’d ever been so hard on myself and why I’d allowed myself to feel like an imposter around my peers.”
Melas continued to move on with her personal life as her career was taking flight, becoming pregnant with a second son via IVF and going public with her battle with infertility.
In December of last year, Melas’ husband, a big name in his own right in the world of hospitality and fitness, ran 50 miles to raise money for Weill Cornell Medical College, where the couple’s two young boys were conceived. As a result, IVF treatment was made free to three couples in need.
At the start of 2020, as Melas and Mazza were settling into life as a young family in their newly renovated home, a fire from a rarely used fireplace started behind a wall in their son’s bedroom as he slept. “We got out with no shoes, no jackets, and it was hard to believe that we were at the center of a story about a family that lost its home in a fire,” says Melas.
“I’m a simple person. I love going out to eat; I love going on drives and looking at houses in Westchester, and I love getting together with other preschool moms around a glass of wine.”
Two months later, the pandemic hit.
“I’m a simple person,” says Melas. “I love going out to eat; I love going on drives and looking at houses in Westchester, and I love getting together with other preschool moms around a glass of wine. I’m just looking for some calm.”
But with two little kids, two cats, and a dog, “it’s total chaos sometimes,” she admits, noting that the worst of it tends to occur just as she goes live on CNN every Saturday and Sunday morning from her home studio.
Although Melas momentarily considered life in a warmer climate at the height of the pandemic, she says her roots are firmly planted in Westchester. “I think New York will be back,” predicts the young reporter with a nose for news, “and I want to be here when that happens.”