Drawing of tiger with red lipstick using dating apps on her iPhone.

Mel Bender is a writer, blogger, artist, mental health advocate and self-proclaimed cougar. She has a BFA in Drawing & Painting from OCAD University in Toronto, Canada. Her work explores the themes of mental illness, creativity, spirituality and dating as a mature woman.

She is a regular contributor to the online publication The Mindful Word. She has also self-published a number of zines, including the anatomy of depression (using parts of the human body to illustrate how depression feels) and Year of the Cougar (addressing the year following her 40th birthday, when she picked up the mantle of "cougar").

Having gotten rid of most of her possessions at the end of 2021 to enable her to travel lightly, Mel is currently living as an urban nomad to pursue her writing dreams.