Haatepah Clearbear

  • Words Robert Ito
  • Photography Ben Duggan
  • Styling Whitney Whitaker

First, Haatepah Clearbear learned about his past. Now the young model is using that knowledge to advocate for Native American futures—and the planet.

  • Words Robert Ito
  • Photography Ben Duggan
  • Styling Whitney Whitaker

In December 2018, Haatepah Clearbear left his hometown of Pacifica, a sleepy coastal suburb of San Francisco, to come to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming a model. He was 21. Clearbear had had a bit of success with smaller modeling jobs in the Bay Area, and had been encouraged by Daniel Peddle, a casting director and talent scout, to give it a go with the larger agencies in Southern California. Not long after arriving in town, his finances depleted, Clearbear found himself homeless. “I ran out of money really fast,” he says. For a while, he couch surfed at friends’ places; other nights, he slept in the parks of East LA.

Many aspiring models and actors who make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles experience similar disappointments. They go home poorer yet hopefully wiser, with tales o...

ISSUE 52

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