Sheila Hollow Horn, Lakota and Dine, got her biggest break of her acting and modeling career as she guest starred on “The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia” on the Cooking Channel last year. However, it took years of hard work, dedication and confidence to get Sheila to where she is today. Sheila shares her secrets to being confident and why it’s important to act now to reach your goals.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am half Oglala Lakota and half Dine, born and raised on the Navajo reservation. My father is from Wounded Knee, SD and my mother is from Leupp, AZ. I am a proud mother of three beautiful children and we love to travel, hike, and swim and just be together. Family is very important to me and teaching my children about their culture and where they come from is important to me. So while we spend time together as a family I teach them and talk to them about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and knowing ourselves as indigenous people.

When did you start modeling and acting?
I took part in my first film at the age of 7 and did my first runway fashion show at age 9. From that point on the door had opened to an exciting and fulfilling future. Since then I have been a part of many Native and non-native projects which in include Women of the Navajo, Arrow Nation, KCP, Redland Natives and The Young agency, to name a few.

Did modeling help boost your confidence?
Modeling helped me see myself in another light. It gave a visual appreciation for whatever I portrayed through these images. A lot of confidence came from accepting myself and who I am. In order for me to step in front of a camera and portray confidence I had to first be comfortable with not only my physical features but with myself as a person. When any person becomes a public figure they must understand why they are doing it and then approach it with that confidence, like modeling.

Why is it important for women to have a lot of self confidence?
Confidence is important because we are the teachers to our children, family and friends. How we hold ourselves is what we pass onto the next generation.

When do you feel most confident?
When I know what is going on, and when I feel healthy and rested.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
That nothing is just given. You must work hard to achieve your goals. So when you’re sitting around dreaming about what you wish you had or what you want to accomplish get up and do something every day that will get you to that point.

What was your biggest insecurity growing up and how did you overcome it?
That would be a long list [laughs] but as any young girl you would think it would be my looks but growing up on the Navajo reservation with the last name ‘Hollow Horn’ my native heritage was always pointed out. Being in the southwest with a northern name, I was questioned all the time as well as poked fun at. This forced me to become aware of whom I am and accept my differences. This also helped when it came to my physical insecurities.

What is the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome so far?
Learning to take criticism was the hardest for me. I had to learn the difference between constructive criticism and just being insulted, which is counterproductive. I learned that people usually insult you when they feel threatened or don’t understand you.

When you feel like giving up on a goal, what do you tell yourself?
When I feel like everything is coming at me at once and I feel like stopping or giving up, I remind myself that this is what I wanted. When I get up every day, I work towards an ultimate goal which is to leave a strong legacy for my children, family and people. I have to tell myself that this is the struggle that every great person throughout history had to go through to get to where they wanted to be. Reminding myself that my children are looking at me with hope and trust and I will not let them down.

This story was originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Native Max Magazine.