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MMSCENE Exclusive Interview with Coyotl

Coyotl talks about his Indigenous heritage, activism, experiences in modeling and fashion world in general

In this exclusive interview for MMSCENE, Coyotl talks about his ongoing journey of reconnecting with my Indigenous heritage, finding purpose in advocating for authentic representation and unity.


Through his career in modeling and activism, he tries to amplify Indigenous voices and shed light on overlooked narratives. Collaborating with fellow creatives and activists, such as Runa Maki Indigenous Hand, has further reinforced his commitment to fostering positive change.


Growing up adopted and distanced from your Indigenous roots, how did the journey of reconnecting with your heritage influence your personal and professional identity?
It influenced a sense of yearning, wanting to learn more, research and connect with my biological family. Which I was able to do almost a year ago with my fathers family and at 18 with my mothers family. This quest for knowledge and understanding led me to learn more about my heritage  and have a general understanding of Indigenous people all over the Americas. It made me want to give a voice to the peoples whose story’s and history’s get swept under the rug, it made me proud of my roots and where I come from and I gain strength from Reconnecting and understanding my Identity as a reconnecting Indigenous person on an ongoing journey.

You’ve seamlessly blended activism with your career in modeling. How do you navigate these roles, and in what ways do you believe the fashion industry can further support Indigenous communities?
I feel modeling and social media give me the opportunity to express myself and give insight on my experience. I have been happy to share and connect. It makes me excited to see how people engage and unite through social media. I feel the fashion industry can learn about our cultures and how to utilize Indigenous people in positive manners respectful of our culture and community.


Facing homelessness and prejudice after moving to L.A., what kept you motivated during those difficult times, and how have those experiences shaped your approach to activism and modeling?
When I was homeless it was rough I was surviving on a Mango a day and water where I could find it. I was rail thin. Luckily I found individuals (my agents, friends and family) who helped me get back on my feet and supported and believed in me. It was hard to stay motivated and some days it still can be challenging. I stay motivated by wanting to do better for myself and those who might be in similar situations. I want to show it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin and there is nothing wrong with embracing your roots and reconnecting to them in a good way. We all come from tribal people to some extent and I feel if we return to the old ways where we prioritize community, family ties and understanding that is how we will survive and thrive as a human race. We need to honor ourselves, the earth and each other. This experience motivated me to not be another statistic.

Can you tell us more about the Indigenous Alliance Movement you started with your brother? What are its main goals, and how has it impacted your community so far?
We started this to unite Indigenous peoples on all fronts. Unity is important, as we can help and learn from one and other. We want to unite North and South American indigenous peoples as well as Central America and all people around the globe there is a prophecy Eagle (north America) Quetzal( Central America) and Condor (South America) the prophecy goes when these birds fly together we will know peace and balance will be brought to the world. Me and my brother are ambitious and we have plans to visit South America to connect with Indigenous Amazonian tribal people. I have already visited once and the experience was amazing I traveled to Ecuador and learned a lot. Baby steps we always say.

Having worked with several mainstream brands, how do you ensure that your work promotes authentic representation of Indigenous cultures without falling into the trap of cultural appropriation?
It can be challenging because I feel typed cast at times as a more far North Native person when my people, are people of the Desert, Rivers and Mountains.  I try my best to represent accordingly or have them portray me as more ambiguous rather than a specific tribe. I had even had one person want me to do a “Indian dance” which I was very offended but I ignored this request and went about my shoot.

How has learning about your Chichimeca-Guamare heritage and embracing your identity as an Indigenous person influenced your worldview and your aspirations in life? 
It influences my aspirations to help any way I can. It makes me want to dig deeper and research more. I’m still on a journey and don’t know everything . I hope with time I can travel around the Americas and get a deeper understanding as my life progresses. It is a beautiful journey and I’m happy to be on it. We can only do our best.


You frequently collaborate with other creatives and activists to highlight important issues. What has been the most impactful collaboration for you?
I honestly love to Collaborate with my brother, and also with Runa Maki Indigenous Hand they are wonderful brand based out of the east coast that has given me the opportunity to be an official brand ambassador. They are a Kichwa Indigenous family from Ecuador and they have been massively supportive in so many ways. Im honored to work with them and be able to help the Kichwas any way that is possible. As well as be able to represent and create with other Native people of the Americas.

What advice would you give to young Indigenous individuals who look up to you and aspire to make a difference in their communities and beyond?
My advice would be to be smart and be safe, this world is a crazy one and if you mean well, you WILL make a difference and whether it’s big or small it does count. Stay strong keep your head up and nothing can silence or stop you. The sky is the limit.

What are your hopes for the future of Indigenous activism within and outside the modeling industry? What’s next for you?
My hopes for the future are to continue representing the best I can through modeling/acting and social media. stay on my reconnecting journey as authentically as possible. Connect with other Native people in North, Central and South America. Keep my head held high because life is short. I know good things are coming.  In addition, I’m filming a movie in Florida as my first co lead in a film that you will be on Amazon prime soon!

Creative Director and Photographer: Nicole Wilson – @NicoleWilsonPhoto
Photographer’s Assistant: Jillian Mchugh – @Jillianmchugh_
Model: Raphael Clark-Faust – @_coyotl_
Stylist: Kyrie Thompson – @Nokyap
Hair Stylist: Tashi Ashizawa – @tashinyc
Makeup Artist: Tashi Ashizawa | @tashinyc
Hair and Makeup Assistant: Mara Radulović – @FacebyMara
Retoucher: Olya Kay
Studio: Young Studios NYC – @YoungStudiosNYC

One Comment

  1. Thanks Coyotl for representing our Native culture. So proud of you for all your hard work and beautiful modeling talents.Thanks my Native Brother🙏🏼❤️

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