At Home With Cheyenne Gordon | V26.
AS A MEMBER OF THE HUALAPAI TRIBE, YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF SETTING UP A SUSTAINABLE FARM AS A FOOD SOURCE FOR THE TRIBE. WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?
This farm is extremely important to me because I come from a really impoverished background. Living on The Hualapai Reservation in the middle of nowhere is not easy, especially when it comes to food availability. My parents struggled to have enough food in our house to feed eight kids and I remember being hungry a lot. The nearest grocery store was 50 miles away, so the only place we could go to buy food was at this tiny convenience store that only offered processed and canned food items. In present time, The Tribe has remodeled the store to be bigger and they now offer a produce section (although it is very small and shipped in from out of town).
I want to create this farm to offer a fresh food supply that is grown locally on our land. I want to help families have food in their homes and help encourage healthier diets so we can sustain life on The Reservation. I want the community to be able to grow their own food and live off the land and not rely on government commodities anymore.
YOU GREW UP ON THE RESERVATION. WHEN DID YOU LEAVE AND HOW DID YOU END UP IN LOS ANGELES?
On The Reservation, almost all the homes are government housing. When I was 10 years old, our house burned down from a fire that started from our furnace. The Tribe relocated us to a temporary house that was too small for our family. After a few months, we eventually moved to a house in the neighboring town of Kingman, AZ. A year later we moved to Mesa, AZ, and from then on, I have moved just about every year of my life. A few of the places I lived in are Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, London, North Carolina, Berlin, and Virginia.
I had always wanted to move to LA to pursue acting and modeling, but I was always warned it was a crazy place, a soul-sucking city... and to be honest, that did play into my hesitation to move here. However, in 2016 I finally made the leap and it’s been the first city to ever feel like home without having all my family with me. I love the friends I have made and all the creativity that ignites this place. There is so much passion, uniqueness, and creative freedom buzzing around that it keeps things interesting and fun.
WE KNOW YOU ALSO LIKE TO GET BEHIND THE CAMERA. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT TO PHOTOGRAPH?
I am really inspired by fashion, movies, and music. I love creating imagery that makes you feel the elements, expressions, and moods. I love photographing people and getting their soul to shine through. I love adding an artistic element through their hair, makeup, clothes, and the location they are in. I want the image to seem like a still from a film, that intrigues the viewer to want to see the rest of the story.
YOU'RE FROM A HUGE FAMILY. ARE YOU ONE OF THE OLDEST, SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE, OR ONE OF THE YOUNGEST? DO YOU THINK BIRTH ORDER HAS ANY DETERMINATION ON PERSONALITY?
Out of the eight kids, I am the fifth child. So you could say the ultimate middle child... I 100% had “middle child syndrome” where no one notices anything you do. My siblings were always wreaking havoc on our house, and I usually sought out nature or isolated myself in my messy room (that I shared with two sisters) to get away from the chaos and find peace to meditate and to do my own thing. I am more of an introverted and private person. The only time the house was usually quiet was when the TV was on, so I found myself really immersing myself into TV shows and movies. Which plays a big role in why I am so passionate about storytelling and the arts.
I started to really enjoy high fashion clothing because you can wear a giant avant-garde piece, and just sit there quietly... because the outfit speaks for you.
I believe birth order can affect someone’s personality. I grew up with many other families that had a lot of kids, and I would observe and compare the kid’s behavior with the order they were born. I concluded that for the most part, depending on their birth order, their personalities were similar. I would also like to mention, that as a hobby I really enjoy psychoanalyzing individuals and their siblings and go even further to knowing their zodiac signs and see how it all fits in to personality traits. I am a Cancer on the cusp of Leo, and usually the mama bird of the group.
IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY. WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
First off, Parks and Rec. Secondly, The Office. If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll turn these shows on and I find myself laughing and feeling better. I love dry, sarcastic humor - those coy, witty remarks that people make under their breath expecting no one to hear them. But I do. I hear them, and they always make me laugh.
WE NOTICED THE PLANTS AROUND YOUR HOUSE ARE FLOURISHING. ANY TIPS FOR THOSE OF US STRUGGLING IN THAT DEPARTMENT?
All plants are different and require different things. I would suggest researching your plant babies and finding the right placement for them in your home. I personally like to get up in the morning and spend time watering all my plants. I like to sing and talk to them and put good energy into their growth. They are living organisms and they will put out the love you put into them.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I am most proud of all the hard work I have put into molding my crafts. I am proud that I never gave up on myself or my ambitions. When I first started modeling in 2006, it was not easy being a short, petite, brown skinned model in a sea of tall, blonde, white models. I was definitely not “the look” brands were going for. I am glad the tides have slowly started to change and are accepting people of color, all body types, and people older than 25.
I am also really proud to lead by example to the younger generations of my Tribe. I want them to know that even though society and the government have put us in a box for so long, that it’s time to come out. It’s time to pursue our dreams and get back to our roots.
WHAT DOES PERFECTLY UNDONE MEAN TO YOU?
To me, “perfectly undone” means you don’t have to put in a lot of effort or time when getting ready. You can throw on something casual and chic, do a quick comb through your hair with your fingers, brush up your brows, and everything still looks fabulous. I always find that I get the most compliments when I’ve just thrown a look together without caring so much about the end result.
|MARIAH ROMPER||POSEY TANK||PRISCILLA SKIRT|
Cheyenne is currently in the process of building her non-profit, Walapai Roots. It's primary focus will be restoring The Hualapai Tribe's food sovereignty through farming and collecting non GMO heirloom seeds.