• UO Giving Guide: Deon Hinton

    The best gift is giving back. We're highlighting 8 inspiring young creatives and joining them in supporting 8 deserving charities this holiday season. See what they're wishing for this year, and learn more about how you can give back too.

    This holiday season, model Deon Hinton tells us why giving back is so important. We worked with him to support the Ali Forney Center by donating $5k on his behalf. Follow @AliForneyCenter to learn more and donate!
    Photos by Ryan Duffin

    Name: Deon Hinton
    Occupation: Model/Influencer
    Charity: Ali Forney Center

    Hi Deon! Can you tell us about your charity?
    Ali Forney Center
    , originating in New York, serves a mission to protect and shelter LGBTQ youth by empowering them and instilling the tools needed to live and thrive independently.

    What makes it so important to you?
    AFC is important to me because I truly believe that the youth are our future and that everyone deserves a second chance. Being homeless as a high school teen myself, I felt that there was no way out and that no one cared or understood what I was feeling or experiencing, and all I wanted was a second chance. In this case Ali Forney Center is giving a second chance to youth whose lives have barely even started. Homeless LGBTQ youth, just like any other youth, deserve to understand that they are loved and cared for.

    What other causes are important to you right now?
    Other causes that are important to me right now are #BlackLivesMatter, raising boys and girls the same, and helping with hurricane recovery.

    What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten from someone?
    Best gift I've ever gotten from someone was my first DSLR from a high school friend. Although it was used and not the freshest on the market, I loved that camera as if it was. The camera helped me pursue my passions and just overall took me out of my struggles and my saddened reality and resulted in extreme happiness and positivity.

    Favorite gift you’ve ever given someone?
    Favorite gift I’ve ever given someone would have to be a pair of shoes to one of my cousins. He absolutely loved these Nikes that I owned and I told him that I was going to throw them away, in turn just to surprise him on Christmas with them under the tree. He reminds me and thanks me to this day for them.

    What’s on your wish list this year?
    My wish list this year consists of a Louis Vuitton Backpack (I know, wild), but also socks + underwear, honestly. More importantly on my wish list is to give back. I want to give my time to shelters, and help homeless around me know they are loved, regardless of their situation.

    Favorite holiday tradition?
    My favorite holiday tradition would have to be sitting in my grandmother's living room, surrounded by family watching VHS from the '80s/'90s.

    What holiday movie can you watch on repeat?
    Home Alone. Hands down favorite Christmas movie.

    Proudest moment from this past year?
    Proudest moment from this past year would be moving to New York to pursue my dreams and my happiness. And because of that, loving myself enough to manifest my future and lead with my heart at all times.

    What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?
    My hopes and dreams for 2018 are to continue to inspire others, to continue to grow into a better person. To continue to share my blessings with those that pour themselves into me, and overall to seek happiness and live and love freely.

    Read more about Deon's charity, Ali Forney Center, here
    Follow Deon on Instagram here
    Shop the gifts Deon is giving this season