At 42, modeling dream comes true for Dine


Rhonda Tree Mangan’s big break into mainstream modeling came 25 years after catching the modeling bug.

At 42, Rhonda Tree Mangan has landed a modeling gig with Clairol.

Native fashion is a sub-culture full of talented Native clothing and jewelry designers and models, but for far too long, neither have been able to fully jump to the mainstream until recently, when more and more designers are being featured in magazines such as Vogue and making appearances at New York Fashion Week.

But Native models making it into popular fashion magazines, commercials, or runway shows is still pretty much unheard of. So when Mangan, 42, was handpicked to model for popular hair care brand Clairol, she was excited.

“My first modeling experience with the agency and it’s with Clairol!” said the mother of three, who had just signed on with Donna Baldwin Agency six months prior from nabbing the Clairol spot. “It was very overwhelming but very exciting.”

The product she models is Clairol’s Root Touch-Up, which touches up the grey roots that can appear a week or two into a dye job. But though the product she’s hawking may be for women of a certain age, the svelte, 5-foot-10 beauty looks much younger than her age.

Originally from Shiprock, but raised in Farmington, Mangan lives in Denver with her husband and three children. Her clans are Díbéłzhíní born for the Táchii’nii.

It was when she was 17 years old that Mangan became interested in the cutthroat world of modeling. Having been featured twice in Women of the Navajo, which ended its impressive 25-year run in 2018, Mangan was also featured in other calendars and walked in a few fashion shows.

She was featured in Native Max Magazine for sports and fitness and did a commercial for Market, which is based out of Boulder, Colorado, as well as modeling for a brochure based out of Lawrence, Kansas.

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Categories: People

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at