Deanne Jean VanWinkle is an upcoming and multi-talented Native American Model; she is a full blooded Dine’ Navajo from Chinle Arizona. Deanne is the granddaughter of Ed Lee Natay, the first Native American to record/sing Native American music. Another strong passion that Deanne has is being a Makeup Artist. Deanne is also currently attending Dine’ College majoring in Computer Information Systems.
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a full blood Native American from the Navajo tribe, born in the reservation place called Fort Defiance in Apache County, Arizona. I’ve been a caregiver for 4 years taking care of my grandma, since moving to Las Vegas a year ago. I just finished beauty school and about to step into a new career. Other than that I’m a single mother to a six year old boy who I love dearly.
How and why did you get into modeling?
I started out three years ago at the Doin local Native American calendars. Before I even considered being a model my late mother Cindy NatAy would constantly mention that I should give it a shot. Well, eventually I did and now here I am doing it, yay (smiles)!
Talk to us about you featuring in a calendar as miss January.
I honestly don’t remember as I did several of them, but I must say they were all a great learning experiences. I did my own poster calendars for 2013 which was sold out, and a fun experience.
Do you still consider yourself as Makeup Artist as well?
Yes, I do when and whenever I get the opportunity I always take it. It’s so much fun! In fact, I recently got a makeup job, which I loved, but I felt the salon wasn’t the right fit at the time.
Any upcoming projects/initiatives you would like to mention?
I’m very focused on working independently. By the end of this year I would like to have my website up and running with multiple projects up for grabs, so people can order my merchandise online. Basically I would like to have posters, calendars, t-shirts and etc. Also whatever other opportunities comes my way, I am defiantly looking forward. The sky’s the limit and am ready (smiles).
Could you speak or understand Navajo?
I do understand and speak a little (laughs). I do have a Navajo accent, and I’ve been told al lot. Also at times I catch myself with that native tongue. I took a Navajo language class one semester at Dine College. And let me tell you, its one tuff cookie, no joke! I passed with a B, so yes, miracles do happen (smiles).
What’s the one big challenge you face being a women and a as Native American?
First let me say this, it’s a great blessing carrying a child for nine months and it’s huge! Literally (laughs)! As for being a Native American, well I’d have to say that when I started modeling and getting noticed, people constantly criticized saying “you should look like this or look like that”. It’s constant and I’ve come to learn you can’t always make everyone happy. I’m a proud native woman no matter what (smiles).
What are your leisure time activities?
I love to travel, when I’m on the road with good music there’s nothing more joyful to me. Other than that I’m very normal person (smiles). I work out, clean, watch movies, laundry and most of all spend time with my family. I’m a simple woman who likes simple things.
I would like to thank everyone who’s supported me throughout this journey. Please add my fan page on Facebook to get updates or just to contact. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deanne-Jean-Vanwinkles-Fan-Page/218872798130812