Melanie was born on May 16, 1977 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Melanie was a good student and an avid reader. She knew she wanted to act early in her life and took parts in a lot of school plays before screenwriter Fran Walsh, the partner of the director Peter Jackson, discovered her sometime in 1993 desperately looking for the right person to play the role of Pauline Parker in the movie Heavenly Creatures. The two thought Melanie would be perfect for the role and her performance surely proved them right.
Heavenly Creatures opened in New Zealand in October 1994 following fantastic reviews and shortly after around the world, where the film was just as well received and nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay.
Melanie then continued her education at The Victoria University in Wellington. Other than a short cameo appearance in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners in 1996, she didn't work on any movie projects until she got an offer from writer/director Mark Tapio Kines (who found her through the internet) to play one of the lead roles in his feature film debut Foreign Correspondents.
While making Foreign Correspondents in summer of 1997, she got the role of Drew Barrymore's "nice" stepsister in the 1998 re-telling of Cinderella, Ever After which was shot in France. Next she was in The Cherry Orchard, a version of Anton Chekhov's play by the same name which was done in June 1996.
Melanie has now made about 10 new movies and is now on a new TV show called "two and a half men". She is in the production of making Donut Hole, her newest movie. While her last movie: Claustrophobia(a thriller) is a big change for Melanie and now she is a popular Hollywood actress.