Born into a family of medical professionals, Melañio Gomez, a contestant on season three of NBC’s “Making It” reality TV show, knew early on that he was destined for a different path. The son of medical professionals who came to the U.S. on medical visas, Gomez initially thought he wanted to be a doctor, but that changed as he got older and realized science wasn’t his strong suit.

From a young age, Gomez enjoyed drawing and building things out of Legos, so he decided to pursue his passion and attended art school. After graduating, he joined several packaging and graphic design firms in New York City. Over the years, he gained experience as a photo stylist, art director, stylist, and video producer, working for the likes of Martha Stewart, Old Navy and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Throughout his career, Gomez has been a big proponent of recycling and upcycling. What started out as a necessity slowly morphed into a way of life. “I have a tendency to recycle or upcycle something before I buy new,” he tells Scrap News, noting that he enjoys working on projects that have a recycling aspect.

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began ravaging the U.S., someone told Gomez he should audition for “Making It.” The show assembles some of the most talented makers from across the country and challenges them to take on a variety of handmade projects. Contestants have to impress hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, as well as expert judges Simon Doonan and Dayna Isom Johnson. Every episode revolves around a central theme that draws inspiration from popular nationwide trends in crafting and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.

Each episode of “Making It” consists of two projects that allow each maker to demonstrate specialized talent while sharing skilled insights and touching personal stories. The first-round, Faster Craft, is a timed challenge that tests contestants’ ability to not only work quickly but imaginatively. The second project, the Master Craft, is a one-of-a-kind themed challenge in which competitors have to use their expertise and creativity to assemble a winning craft that fits that week’s theme.

Gomez decided to audition for “Making It,” and was selected. He is one of several makers that regularly use recycling in their work. When it comes to the value of applying recycling in his everyday work, Gomez says it’s not only “a good thing to do,” but it provides value in the long run. “A teacher told me a long time ago that everything worthwhile takes a little bit of effort. That’s what recycling is, a little bit of effort,” he says. “On the show, we’re showing people how they can use recycling in their everyday lives. When they do, they’ll not only get a nice final product, but they’re also doing something good for the earth. It’s really a no brainer.”

Along with promoting the value of recycling, Gomez hopes his time on the show serves as inspiration. “Hopefully, viewers are open to learning something new and aren’t afraid to try projects on their own,” he says. “With everything online and with shows like this, you can practically do anything. Self-reliance is an incredible thing to have, and it’s empowering.”

The next episode of “Making It” will air at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Aug. 26 on NBC.

Photo courtesy of NBC Making It.