The first time Deon Hinton flew on a plane was three years ago. He was moving to New York, a big step for the Arkansas native who left behind his family and a pre-med college major to pursue his dream of becoming a multi-hyphenate creator. Since then, the model, photographer, and writer has built a social media presence around making arresting ry that features meticulous styling and stark environments and pairing it with poetic, affirmational captions. “My goal is to simply create a safe space for people to come and feel seen, heard, and loved,” he says. “I want to create these spaces in the most vulnerable [moments in life], because that’s where the most genuine part of me comes from.”
It’d be hard to know it from his dreamy Instagram feed with its powerful message of self-love, but Hinton grew up in poverty, was bullied for being Black, and was even homeless at one point during high school. Which is part of what fuels him to use his platform to promote positivity, joy, and confidence—all of which are reflected in his style, which subtly blends minimalism, utility, and a love of statement-making accessories. (A favorite outfit of his speaks directly to his pared-back but deeply personal fashion sense—beloved jeans that have stayed with him for years, a crisp white T-shirt, and a little flair with his must-have winter boot, the
“When I started on social media [three years ago], I never saw anyone doing what I’m doing,” he said, saying that allowing himself to show his softer side actually gave him more confidence. “I want it to feel like a fresh breath of air when you encounter me, whether it be in real life or on social media.”
For someone who’s made it their mission to be a light for others, staying inspired and grounded is essential to Hinton’s work. Here’s how he’s maintained his sense of self—and continued to find the inspiration he needs to create—even amidst the chaos of 2020.
As a writer, Hinton has always appreciated his alone time. But the past few months have allowed him to truly understand the beauty of self-reflection. “This time with ourselves, in our own thoughts, is going to make us really strong,” he says. “It’ll strengthen who we are and how we show up for other people.”
For Hinton, it’s the small things that help foster moments of contemplation and calm—as simple as lighting a candle, or journaling (where he says, “things I didn’t even know I was feeling will come up”) and lying alone and listening to music. “Quarantine has shown us that tomorrow isn’t promised to us,” he says. “But it’s shown us that we are strong.”
Like so many creative people, Hinton finds that fashion is a crucial form of self-expression and creative exploration. “My style is always shifting,” he said. “There are so many different avenues and layers and perceptions of who I am, and my fashion is a reflection of that.” Hinton loves to balance classic menswear pieces with bold patterns and warm, muted colors. “Most days I’m a minimal person and I love minimal things, but I’ll always have a bold shoe or a bold bag,” he says.
When it comes to work, consider Hinton a soldier of content: He is always prepared. “Something I’ve never been able to do is get in front of or behind the camera without knowing what I’m doing,” he said. He likes to consider all aspects of the project beforehand. “Anything I’m creating or my name is behind has to be thought out.”
But from a productivity standpoint, music is the secret sauce that gets Hinton’s creative juices flowing. Whether they get him moving in front of the camera or act as a soundtrack to creative endeavors, inspiring tunes—from classic R&B hits to upbeat house beats—are key. That and NYC, the city he now calls home and one of the most inspiring backdrops in the world. “I pull inspiration from so many things, especially living in New York,” he says, referring to the city’s eccentric residents and electric energy. “Just look around and it’s like, this is literally out of a movie.”
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Source : Esquire