May 22, 2009

Miles and the Mazola girl

For Native Americans, Old Stereotypes Die Hard

by Brian BullElaine Miles, a Cayuse/Nez Perce Indian, played Marilyn Whirlwind on the 1990s TV show Northern Exposure. She says she idolized the Mazola girl when she was younger.

"I used to tell my mom, 'I want to be like the Mazola girl,' 'cause when I was little and growing up, I had really long, long, hair. I'd walk around with a little basket that my mom had, and I'd put corn in it and do the whole commercial," Miles says.

Miles laughs a little about looking up to the Mazola pitchwoman, but adds the actress was a genuine Indian who wasn't savage, grunting or second-fiddle. Through her character Marilyn and others, Miles hopes she has represented herself and her culture well to future generations.

"I [know] some young kids that grew up with Northern Exposure that say I was the coolest thing on TV when they were growing up," Miles says. "That makes me feel so old, but they remember me, and that's the same way I am with the Mazola girl."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indians in Mazola Ads and TV Shows Featuring Indians.

No comments: