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Conversations with the Inspiring Alana Yazzie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alana Yazzie.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Yá’át’ééh! I am the creator and founder of TheFancyNavajo.com which is a Native American Lifestyle and Food blog.

In the beginning, The Fancy Navajo started out as a hobby in 2014. I used Instagram as a creative outlet to expand my marketing skills. Every day I would challenge myself to share my outfits, recipes, and basically whatever I loved that day. Quickly, I developed and curated a unique style that reflected the colorful and upbeat personality of, The Fancy Navajo. Soon, my pictures were getting reposted by my favorite business and I started to grow an audience.

At the time, I didn’t fully understand the impact of my photos. Like most people on Instagram, I was just sharing my visual narrative. I would get people talking when I would post pictures of Native American food with fancy details like gold flatware or a bouquet of flowers. It had never been seen before. I didn’t realize I was creating a space that reflected the contemporary lifestyle of a modern-day  Native American living in the city. Gradually, I was gaining a larger Native American following on Instagram. I started to get requests to share my recipes for the Native American foods I was creating. People wanted to know where I bought my beaded earrings or turquoise jewelry. They were coming to me for advice.

So in 2015, I launched TheFancyNavajo.com which focuses on my personal narrative as a Native American woman. I wanted a space to represent Native Americans in a positive light and show that we are successful and thriving. It is a resource for other Native Americans who want to stay connected to their culture, no matter where they live. Here I share recipes, lifestyle tips, and fashion from a Native American perspective. The Fancy Navajo has now turned into a community where people share how “fancy” they are too.

Has it been a smooth road?
Of course not! I am naturally a shy person. So, to put myself out there on social media has been a journey of self-growth. Over the years, I had to overcome my fears of public speaking and networking. I knew I couldn’t be shy if I wanted to grow my brand. I started going to local events and meeting my favorite bloggers and businesses. I challenged myself to make one new connection a week. Soon it wasn’t so scary and I started to form friendships and partnerships with the people I was meeting.

My advice to anyone who wants to pursue blogging is to continually grow as a person. If there is a skill you lack in, go learn it. If you are shy, overcome it. If you really want it, you will go for it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Fancy Navajo story. Tell us more about the business.
The Fancy Navajo specializes in food, fashion, and lifestyle. Unlike other bloggers, I incorporate my Native American culture into my daily life. I do this by creating bright and colorful stylized photography that I share daily on my social media channels. I am most known for my stylized food photography. One day I may share a photo of a cute latte at my favorite coffee shop. The next day I will share a meal I made at home.

What gets most people talking is when I share Native American food with a fancy Navajo twist. I like styling simple Native American foods like Navajo tacos, blue corn mush, and steamed corn stew as fancy cuisine. These were childhood favorites. As an adult, I can enjoy these foods with gold flatware, a rainbow Kate Spade plate, and a vase of flowers. Another part of my Native American cuisine is coming up with new recipes. I am a total foodie, so I like reimagining Native foods with a modern-day twist. Two of my most popular recipes on TheFancyNavajo.com are Fancy Blue Corn Cupcakes and Fancy Navajo Boba Almond Milk Tea. It really gets people talking, because this hasn’t been seen before.

I also specialize in fashion and styling. I am always on the lookout for new and upcoming businesses that align with my brand. When I do find a brand that fits, I create stylized photoshoots with the products. I encourage my community to always “Buy Native American Made” and I showcase new brands as I find them. Of course, all with a Fancy Navajo twist!  With my fashion styling, it’s very important that I tell my story as a Native American woman. I like creating happy, vibrant, and classically styled looks that go beyond stereotypical views of Native Americans. This has opened doors to working with some of my favorite Native American fashion brands and showcasing their work on my blog. I am currently the fashion stylist for ACONAV, which is an Acoma Pueblo fashion brand, who recently won Phoenix Fashion Week’s Couture Designer of the Year.

Overall, I am most proud of how I am able to tell my own narrative as a modern-day Native American. I have a community that spans across the country and overseas. When I get emails from people saying that I inspired them makes what I do all worthwhile. I never imagined that I would be able to work with big brands such as TJ Maxx, Kroger and other Native American owned businesses. I think these are the first steps to making sure Native American people are authentically represented in mainstream media.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
As a social media influencer, I have to always stay on top of the trends. I spend a lot of my time exploring and trying new things. I follow a lot of local Arizona bloggers like AZ Foodie, Yelp Phoenix, SheForksPhx, and Red Streak Girl. Since they are local they often share new restaurants and local events in the valley. I am continually learning about my Native American culture. The Phoenix Indian Center and the Heard Indian Museum host workshops and events that help me to reconnect with my cultural heritage while living in the city. I am always inspired by my favorite Native American businesses like ACONAV, Beyond Buckskin, Grown Up Navajo, and Jennifer Hubbell Photography who share their unique perspectives in their industries. I also love podcasts like Julie Solomon’s Influencer Podcast which keeps me informed on social media trends and influencer marketing.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jennifer Hubbell Photography

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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