Deon Hinton isn’t afraid to take risks: in late 2017, he took a leap and moved to New York City to follow his dream of becoming a model. This year he opened the Kenneth Nicholson presentation at NYFW – his very first show. We’re not surprised, Deon’s dedication to a positive mental attitude is inspiring and contagious. Recently we asked Deon to apply his style to our Talib boots and show us some of his top picks around NYC.
My name is Deondrick “Deon” Hinton. I’m 20 years old, born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Currently, I am a New York City-based content creator and model.
What made you decide to move to NYC?
I’ve dreamed of living in New York all my life, but initially, it was just that: a dream. Life outside of Arkansas became a reality sooner than I expected. I intended to run collegiate track and field in New York but those plans fell through. My mental strength and heart were being tested and I understood I needed to create my own story.
I had never been on a plane or even visited New York before moving here, but the moment I stepped off of the plane, I knew. I knew I was home, and that this was a new beginning for me.
How did you get started in modeling?
In high school, my friends and I would take pictures of each other, never really knowing what we were doing. Modeling became a form of expression for me; I was able to tell stories through my body language and I fell in love with the art of it.
When I came to New York, one of my biggest goals was to walk in a show during fashion week. As a blonde, African American under 6’2”, in an industry with very little inclusiveness, I was told I could never walk runway. A few weeks ago, I not only walked my first show for New York Fashion Week, but I opened the show.
This is a little note to 14-year-old Deon, and every little black boy who is struggling with body image or just doesn’t feel they fit in to society’s “norms”: You’re beautiful, you don’t have to be signed to an “agency” to be a model, and you don’t have to be a certain skin shade, or have a certain body shape. You define who you are and whatever or whoever it is you want to be.
What do you love about Brooklyn, and what are some of your favorite places?
I love living in Brooklyn. Manhattan is very fast-paced, which is perfect for a work environment, but when I’m feeling overwhelmed I love coming home to Brooklyn. There’s more of a community feel here and it’s just more breathable. My all-time favorite places to dine in Brooklyn are Sweet Chick on Bedford, as well as Sweetgreen, and Joe & the Juice. When I’m in Manhattan and I want a peaceful work environment with great coffee and organic greek yogurt, I’ll head over to Greecologies.
Social media can often feel one-sided, but you frequently use Instagram as a way to ask questions and engage with your followers. Why is that?
I began using social media a few years ago as an escape from my reality, where I could be whoever I wanted to be. Growing up, I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone and thought no one cared what I had to say. That’s why I engage with my followers. I read every comment and want to constantly create a space where anyone can come and feel heard, and more importantly, loved.
Who has influenced your style? Where are your favorite places in NYC to shop?
Frank Ocean influenced my style from a very young age. I fell in love with his music because he put things I had experienced
into words when I didn’t know how to express them. I loved the way he dressed and presented himself. A$AP Rocky and Teyana Taylor also played a huge role in my style development. Today, I grab inspiration from anything and turn it into a look that suits me and my aesthetic. That’s what I love about fashion: the possibilities are truly endless. I love shopping at places like Goodwill, Beacon’s Closet, and The Break (forever finding great pieces there).
We invited you to check out our new Brooklyn location. What did you think, and which Docs did you choose?
In my opinion, a pair of Dr. Martens are essential in New York. I love the Smith St. location in Brooklyn, because you FEEL like you’re in New York, and you’re surrounded by an obsessive selection of shoes and accessories that are unlike any other Docs location I’ve visited. I chose the Talibs in black because they’re just a classic silhouette that can be dressed up or down depending on my mood, and I love that.
Tell us about your first pair of Docs.
I actually remember saving up for my very first pair during my senior year of high school: the Combs Nylon in maroon (similar here). They were the coolest thing to me. Still are. I have since outgrown them and donated them, which was honestly one of the saddest departures of a shoe I’ve had to date.
What’s next for you?
I’m not exactly sure what’s next for me. I want to embrace my love for photography, as well as other forms of art, like poetry, music, and creative direction. My possibilities are endless, and I’m just enjoying life as it’s happening. One thing I am sure of is growth and more understanding of myself and my strengths.