October 22nd, 2014 Last Updated on: October 22nd, 2014
Interview by Dr Dawn Karima, PhD, Native Culture Editor
Fans of Tattoos know her. Social Media Followers know her. Native Magazine Readers know her. Now, Elizabeth Rivera will be known to Powwows.com Readers for her talent, beauty and Native Pride!
Q) You’re such a popular social media personality! And so well-respected in the modeling field! Will you please introduce yourself to us?
A) Hi, my name is Elizabeth Rivera. Tattoo model, managing editor of NINK MAGAZINE -NATIVES IN INK-. Salon manager and lead stylist of Walk In Beauty Salon.
Q) What a fantastic list of activities? How did you get started on your journey?
A) I started out by chance, really. I saw an opportunity to send in a picture for Native Entertainment Magazine's Chieftan In Style issue. I sent a picture of myself, hair braided, feather, beads. Their response was that it was “too Native”. I started to laugh because the picture I sent was out of the norm. My head was shaved on one side, red hair and tattoos. But ok, they wanted something different, so I gave it to them. The next picture I sent in was of me in pin up style clothing and hair. They loved that one and put me on the cover of their first tattoo issue.
Q)Persistence pays off! What are some of the other lessons you’ve learned during your career?
A) My main goal, in my pictures, was to show my skills as a stylist and make up artist. I really didn’t think it would take off like this. I started working with different photographers, showing my style, without having to show a lot of skin. I talk to everyone, and I share my experiences and my weaknesses. I think that’s why I connect with my fans on a more personal level. They can relate to the struggles I’ve been through.
Q)What are some of the struggles you’ve had to endure? How did you press through to victory?
A) I’ve been in abusive relationships, as the abused and the abuser. Im a recovering meth addict. I used for ten years, been clean for almost 6. I’ve lost everything I had, my kids, my home, my respect. I started getting in to trouble, so that I would get caught. I knew I needed help, but was too weak to go to treatment. When I finally caught a case, I prayed to the Creator and asked for one more chance. If I was given the chance to do right by my kids, I would never let them down again. I went to court and was granted probation. Drug court saved my life. I remember receiving a letter from my dad when I was locked up and he is the one that inspires me. I get my strength from him. The biggest blessing my tribal heritage gives me if the ability to pray with the belief that everything around me hears my words. My family grew up in boarding schools, so i don't know a lot about my culture. But I know how to treat people with respect and love without expectations.
Q) Marvelous! Powerful! What else are you passionate about?
A) I'm passionate about hair, I always have been. I just opened up a salon with the help of my Tribe. I like to make people feel good about themselves.
Q)Excellent! We surely wish you the best in your endeavors! What would you say to someone who is watching your success and wishes to step out into their own goals?
A)I’m passionate about our future, our children. I tell my own children to live by two rules. Don’t do anything that will hurt yourselves, i.e. drugs, alcohol, toxic relationships. And don’t do anything that will hurt someone else, i.e. bullying, gossiping abusing. Respect yourself, and don’t take anyone's trash. Don’t let anyone tell you.” no you can’t do something”. Yes, you can. Set a goal and take baby steps everyday to reach that goal. You can be anything you want. Be the best you can be. I did it. After everything I’ve been through. You can do it. The only one stopping you is you.
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