60 Seconds on Earth with Quannah Chasinghorse

60 Seconds on Earth with Quannah Chasinghorse

Photograph by Evan Benally Atwood

 

Words by Yessenia Funes

Video by emma blackman and mike egan

As part of our video series with climate leaders, The Frontline talks to Indigenous activist and model Quannah Chasinghorse on land back, fashion, and self-care.

In case you forgot, Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse is an activist first. She’s focused on transforming the fashion industry to ensure it moves in line with her values as a climate advocate. But the 19-year-old is more than a model or activist. She’s a teenager full of opinions, interests, and hobbies. When she’s not walking the runway for Gucci, she likes to paint or play with makeup.

 

In our latest edition of 60 Seconds on Earth, Atmos asks Chasinghorse a series of rapid-fire questions to help you get to know her a little better. Did you know she was a Gemini? How about her love for pickles and hot chip? There’s plenty to learn about the activist-turned-model, and she does not hold back.

 

The video includes only a few of the questions, but you can read the full interview below and check out our full profile on Chasinghorse here.

YESSENIA

First off. How are you?

QUANNAH

I’m good. I’m great. I’m chilling. How are you?

YESSENIA

I’m doing good, too. What are you up to right now?

QUANNAH

Today, I am at home relaxing. I’ve been working a lot, so I’m just taking the time to rest a little bit before I get back to work.

YESSENIA

And where are you right now?

QUANNAH

I am in California. I recently did a little something, something. I moved from Alaska to a little bit outside of LA.

YESSENIA

Tell us what you’re wearing.

QUANNAH

These earrings were gifted to me by Diné earrings. They have a ton of beautiful work. And [my shirt] is B.Yellowtail. I love the words on here. It says “protected,” “empowered,” “divine,” “matriarchs,” “strong warrior,” “powerful,” and “sacred.”

YESSENIA

Do you have a favorite designer?

QUANNAH

Indigenous designers. It’s hard to choose. I love Jamie Okuma. B.Yellowtail. Red Berry Woman.

YESSENIA

Who were your greatest fashion influences?

QUANNAH

I grew up in the woods, so fashion wasn’t a part of my life that much. I loved it as a little girl. I was intrigued by it, but it wasn’t in my life. I wore boy clothes growing up, and I just kind of figured it out on my own, I guess.

YESSENIA

What’s your sign?

QUANNAH

My sun sign is Gemini. My moon is Aries, and my rising is Libra.

YESSENIA

What about your favorite book ever?

QUANNAH

Hmm, that’s a hard one. I used to read a lot as a kid. I like poetry books—like Milk and Honey. That was a really good book for me in middle school because I related to it so much, and it was a coping mechanism for me.

YESSENIA

What song is on repeat?

QUANNAH

I’m really liking The Neighbourhood right now.

YESSENIA

If there was one meal you had to eat for eternity, what would it be?

QUANNAH

Caribou soup.

YESSENIA

Who is your climate crush?

QUANNAH

Oh man. There are so many badass people in the movement. Probably Helena Gualinga. They’re my friend. And Isabella and Ayisha from Polluters Out. They’re badass. I love them.

YESSENIA

What about your climate vice?

QUANNAH

It’s definitely taking longer showers. Feeling water is a coping mechanism for me—being in the water. I don’t know what it is.

YESSENIA

Do you believe in ghosts?

QUANNAH

I believe in spirits.

YESSENIA

Now that you’re in L.A.: burritos or tacos?

QUANNAH

A good taco. A juicy, good taco.

YESSENIA

What is your favorite snack?

QUANNAH

Pickles and hot chip.

YESSENIA

Are there any sustainable hacks you can share?

QUANNAH

Just reuse everything that you can. I try to reuse as much as I can. I was always taught growing up to only take what you need and use as much as you need—but don’t overdo it and always do it in the right way. That goes for anything. Even something as simple as grocery bags—reusing those.

YESSENIA

If you could be an animal, what would you be?

QUANNAH

I don’t know if I’d be something in the ocean because the ocean is going through lots of trauma right now. It’s really sad. Maybe a bird, probably a raven or an eagle.

YESSENIA

Introvert or extrovert?

QUANNAH

It depends but probably more of an introvert. I’m such a homebody. My social battery runs low anyways, so recharging would most likely be at home alone or with one or two friends.

YESSENIA

Glass half full or half empty?

QUANNAH

Half full.

YESSENIA

How do you stay hopeful despite all the negativity?

QUANNAH

I stay hopeful by just thinking about all the youth who are working really hard right now to be heard and to be seen and being a part of the movement and them sticking up and using their voices.

YESSENIA

And how do you practice self care?

QUANNAH

When I’m home in Alaska, I will go out to fish camp or something with my family and spend a few days out there or a week to reconnect and reground myself. I need to be in nature a lot. That’s another reason why I moved to L.A. New York is too much concrete for me.

YESSENIA

Any show you’re currently binging?

QUANNAH

I always binge the show You. I remember when the first season came out, I binge-watched it. Second season, binge-watched it. And when the third season came out, I binged it in two days because I wasn’t working and had the time to rest and relax. The other show I binged was obviously Reservation Dogs. My friends are in that show, so of course, I’m going to watch all of it like that. *snaps fingers*

YESSENIA

Who is your inspiration?

QUANNAH

It would be all the matriarchs in my life: my aunties, my mom, my grandma, and even the ones that aren’t exactly in my life—like all the really badass Native women who are out there right now. They inspire me.

YESSENIA

What keeps you up at night?

QUANNAH

Climate anxiety, actually. Thinking about the world and where we’re at. I get really emotional sometimes, especially moving to L.A. I’ve been in a weird spot where I’m so homesick, and I miss the land so much. Being in the city makes me think about how much time we have left to keep our lands clean and protected in order for the future generations to thrive. That’s what gives me lots of anxiety.

YESSENIA

What’s your favorite pastime?

QUANNAH

Just listening to music and painting. And doing makeup because makeup is art, too.

YESSENIA

What does “land back” mean to you?

QUANNAH

Land back means so many things to me—from community to Indigenous sovereignty. But honestly, when I try to describe land back to people who wouldn’t understand it, I always say that we’re not asking anybody to just up and leave because we want our land back. It’s more recognizing whose land you’re on, incorporating Indigenous voices in every space, listening to Indigenous youth on the front lines. Show up, be there, be supportive, be present with us, understand that we are struggling in many different ways, and we’re trying our best to advocate for the land. And land back is about land recognition. It’s being able to acknowledge that these tribes were forced off of their lands and allowing them to be themselves.

 

When I think about land back, I want everyone to come together and recognize whose land we’re on and work on solutions. Indigenous people hold so many solutions to today’s problems when it comes to the climate crisis, when it comes to oil and gas. And I think we don’t get enough chances to express that.

 

 

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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