Archive for March 1st, 2012
Mariah Watchman is one of 14 models competing the 19th cycle of the hit reality TV series “America’s Next Top Model.”
The series has run for years after being started by super model Tyra Banks as ICTMN notes, Watchman (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla) is the first Native reservation-raised competitor.
At her ANTM callback audition in Los Angeles, she says, she spoke her Sahaptin language to highlight her Native identity. She graduated from Nixyaawii Community High School in Pendleton, Oregon, and attended Haskell Indian Nations University.
The 5-foot-9 Watchman was a standout basketball player in high school, and was on the team at Haskell, but ended her basketball career when she realized modeling was her true passion. She has been a working model since she was 15.
The latest “historical figures” challenge proved tough for Watchman, who was close to being eliminated. How did she feel about being dressed in costume as Pocahontas?
The show’s producers picked the historical figures for each model, but Watchman said she embraced her assignment. “As soon as I heard what the competition was, I knew that’s who I would be,” Watchman told The Oregonian. “I was completely fine with it. There’s no one else I’d want more to portray. It’s someone everybody knows.”
Watchman also pointed out to The Oregonian that the character of Pocahontas is part of her everyday life, saying: “When [people] ask what I am, they always assume I’m Latina. I have to let them know I’m Native American and will say, ‘As in Pocahontas.’ I always have to refer to her anyway.”