Oneida model finds success


By Travis Cottrell - Kalihwisaks

Richard Delabreau began modeling on recommendations from friends; little did he know that his modeling career would showcase his Oneida culture and lead him to a new career path.

“Right after high school I moved to San Antonio. I had some good friends that modeled in New Mexico and they are the ones that recommend I get into modeling with the Native Talent Network that is based in New Mexico,” said Delabreau.

Delabreau began this venture by modeling for various photography studios to acquire experience and construct a worthwhile portfolio.

“When I got my portfolio put together there was a new agency that formed called South Texas Native American Modeling Agency; they hired me so I did work with them.  I also ran into a few models that work with Abercrombie & Fitch so I was able to work with them and became one of the first Native American models that signed with Abercrombie & Fitch,” Delabreau said.

Along with the well-known clothing company Delabreau has also modeled for Tommy Hilfiger and an international catalog.

Despite modeling for 11 years Delabreau still regularly fields questions about his ethnicity.

“Every time I do a shoot everyone is always asking where I am from or what my nationality is and I tell them, ‘Oneida Nation Indian from Wisconsin’.  They look at me and say ‘all the way from up north?’” Delabreau said.

Delabreau was born in Green Bay, WI but grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, WI.  His father, Keith Webster, is Oneida and his mother, Andrea Klitch, is Menominee.

“I get a lot of respect from people when I tell them where I am from and how proud I am to be a part of the Oneida culture.  They are always quick to ask questions like ‘What’s it like to be Indian?’ or ‘are you into your culture?’  I love my culture but I wish I was into it that much more because it’s different being separated from the area where the culture is practiced,” Delabreau said.

 Despite spending a large amount of time in front of cameras Delabreau’s interests peaked at the artistry behind the camera.  As a result he enrolled at San Antonio College and is in the process of earning a major in Radio, Television, and Film Production with an emphasis in Photography and a minor in Liberal Arts.

“Photography has always been something that I had a passion for and doing modeling work has gotten me into that subject.  After my schooling is finished I hope to get into behind-the-camera work because it’s more interesting to me and I am not going to be young forever,” Delabreau laughed.

Delabreau’s next big project is for Current Magazine out of San Antonio, Texas.  In it he will be featured in a four-page spread along with the front cover and back page.  That magazine gets distributed throughout the San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas areas.