Deeply beautiful

Video explores style as a reflection of history

WINDOW ROCK

Submitted
In this still from “100 Years of Beauty,” model Sage Honga sports Sioux-style braids and a fist raised in solidarity with the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to characterize the 2010s.

In a video less than two-minutes long, Navajo model Sage Honga depicts the ever-evolving style of Navajo women in the last 100 years – with a political twist.

The video “100 Years of Beauty” was produced by a small Seattle-based video company that describes its work as bringing “complicated and challenging ideas” to its audience, and their series “100 Years of Beauty” does that as it showcases evolving beauty of ethnically diverse women.

“100 Years of Beauty is one of our most popular series,” said Christopher Chan of Cut in an email to the Times. “Through hair and makeup-time lapse photography, we explore how identity, political subjectivity, race, and gender are constructed and deconstructed around the world.”

After completing a couple of other videos Chan said he and his colleagues always had the intent to present Indigenous histories in their videos, as well as presenting Indigenous women in a culturally appropriate way, not grouping all tribes into one.

“We knew that we didn’t want to amalgamate all Native women into one video, and we wanted to make sure that people in local communities were collaborating and sharing their knowledge,” said Chan. With that mindset, they ended up auditioning and casting Honga.

Last year Honga showcased her Hualapai heritage in Marie Claire, and in this new video she was able to represent her Navajo side, which was posted on Cosmopolitan’s website.

“I’m very fortunate that my parents raised me in both the Hualapai way and Navajo way,” said Honga. “I am very grateful for these opportunities. It’s a true honor and I’m happy to know that there are companies out there who want to expose Native beauty.”


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Categories: Culture

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.