The Hot List, Part IV:More Must Watch Native Women in Movies and Music 25 Photos

It’s time for a fourth installment of The Hot List, and to keep the pattern going we’re turning again to the beautiful I

Beautiful, yes—and extremely talented. “Hot” isn’t merely a physical descriptor—it’s also a statement on their careers. These actresses/singers/models are doing exciting things on screens big and small, and in the music business. Catch them if you can.

Mia Sable

Mia Sable, Choctaw, makes her acting debut in Legends From the Sky, a soon-to-be-released science fiction film set on the Navajo Nation. But she’s far from a newbie in showbiz—she’s a professional singer who has released three full-length albums and two EPs. Her song “It’s Easy” was used as the opening theme for the Bravo TV series Southern Charm. Sable’s music spans numerous genres—”It’s Easy” happens to be ragtime, but she’s recorded soul, pop, jazz, folk, and doo-wop tracks since releasing her debut album, Propeller, in 2006. That versatility has proven very marketable, landing her songs on Mob Wives, Dance Moms, What Not to Wear, and a handful of other TV shows. Sable is also a talented voiceover artist, having done commercial and narration work for clients including Toyota, Lego and Haynes.

Brad Buckman Photography

Brad Buckman Photography

Photography by Smallz & Raskind, Styling by Rebecca Raskind of CLD Stylehouse

Photography by Smallz & Raskind, Styling by Rebecca Raskind of CLD Stylehouse

Photography by Smallz & Raskind, Styling by Rebecca Raskind of CLD Stylehouse

Irene Bedard

Inupiaq/Cree actress Irene Bedard’s career got a big boost thanks to the Disney animated film Pocahontas(1995); Bedard served as the model for the character and provided her voice as well. She may always, to some extent, be famous for Pocahontas, a film that isn’t universally loved by Natives, but over her career she’s been a major force in Native American cinema. Look at many of the historical movies and TV-movies that Natives are more comfortable with, and Bedard is there, again and again: Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (TV, 1994), Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale (1994), Crazy Horse (TV, 1996), Song of Hiawatha (1997), Into the West (TV miniseries, 2005), The New World (2005). And in Smoke Signals(1998), possibly the best-loved Native film set in modern times, she was unforgettable as Suzy Song.

The push and pull between historical material and the contemporary is something Bedard has felt her entire career, but she told ICTMN in 2012 that she felt she was in a new phase. “Right now I am moving into who we are today and who has inspired us from the past and where do we want to go to in the future,” she said, and her work bears that out—she hasn’t done an period piece in a decade.

In 2015, Bedard is firing on all cylinders. She has her own production company, Sleeping Lady Films/Waking Giants Productions, and she’s in Songs My Brothers Taught Me, a film shot on Pine Ridge with mostly first-time actors that has been accepted to Sundance. Bedard has also appeared on Longmireas May Stillwater and might—just might—be the female lead, opposite Will Smith, in the sequel to Hancock.

Photography by Smallz & Raskind, Styling by Rebecca Raskind of CLD Stylehouse

Photography by Smallz & Raskind, Styling by Rebecca Raskind of CLD Stylehouse

Photo by Thosh Collins.

Photo by Thosh Collins.

Photo by Thosh Collins.

Crystle Lightning

Crystle Lightning, Plains Cree, is a, what—triple threat? Quadruple? Quintuple? She’s been acting on screen since the mid-1990s (she got her start in a series of Christian TV-movies), and has also been a model for many years (check out these shots from her 2014 calendar). She’s a trained dancer, lists “weapons” as a skill on her resume, and has been an MMA ring girl. But she’s best known these days for her rhyming and DJ skills as half of LightningCloud, the hip hop group she’s in with main squeeze MC RedCloud. But don’t call her a “former” actress—she’s signed on to two upcoming feature films packed with Native actors, Second Sunrise and The Red Man’s View.

Photo by Thosh Collins.

Photo by Eric Gea

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Kimberly Norris Guerrero

It was the 1980s—we won’t say what year—and a lovely young girl from Idabell, Oklahoma was crowned Miss Oklahoma National Teenager. She went on to win the Miss National Teenager title; in college—UCLA—she was the first Native American to make the cheerleading squad. Yes, she had star quality at a young age, but Kimberly Norris, Colville/Salish-Kootenai/Cherokee, Later Kimberly Norris Guerrero, also possesses the drive and persistence that all successful actors need. One of her earliest roles was on Seinfeld as Winona, Jerry’s Native American girlfriend, and she’s still recognized for that character today. She’s been on many other major TV series, including Walker: Texas Ranger, Northern Exposure, Charmed, The Sopranos, and Grey’s Anatomy. In the last few years, she’s appeared in two acclaimed Native films, The Cherokee Word for Water (playing Wilma Mankiller) and The Jingle Dress, and has also showed up on everyone’s favorite Wyoming cop drama, Longmire.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Image of Crystle Lightning from her 2014 calendar; photo by JT Pro Imaging.

Taysha Fuller

Young Taysha Fuller is from the Wolf Clan of the Cayuga Nation—like her uncle, actor Gary Farmer. We don’t see too much uncle-niece resemblance, which (no offense, Gary) is a good thing for Taysha, whose most eye-catching credit is a stint on Degrassi: The Next Generation. But that was four years ago—an eternity for an actress who’s just in her early 20s. But a little Sundance magic might be coming Fuller’s way; she’s in the Festival-selected Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which also features Irene Bedard and a host of first-timers.

Photo by Kris Josef.

Photo by Kris Josef.

Andrew Parks

Andrew Parks

Andrew Parks

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