Winter is coming — and Zoya DeNure takes us on an adventure from model to musher in the Alaskan wilderness.
By Angela Caraway-Carlton
Zoya DeNure made the dramatic move from Wisconsin to a remote area of Alaska to chase dreams of sled-dog racing, she didn’t totally let go of her glamorous life as a fashion model. Instead, she paid for a storage unit packed with extravagant clothing and shoes.
“I had shoes for every occasion, fancy shoes for dancing, special shoes for dinner,” DeNure recalls with a laugh.
When the model-turned-musher finally made a special trip back to reclaim her once-coveted possessions, something had changed: “I couldn’t shove my foot into any of my cute shoes. My feet have actually gotten wider because of all the work I do here. We ended up dropping them off at the Goodwill—someone got very lucky that day.”
Like those shoes, her old life as a model 20-plus years ago doesn’t fit anymore. Makeup and perfect hair are no longer a priority; puffer jackets and parkas have replaced dresses and heels. And instead of strutting down the runway, she’s often up at dawn, speeding through the freezing wilderness on the runners of a sled while juggling motherhood and taking care of a gaggle of rescue dogs that are like family. She’s a different person.
“I think I’m a better version, a more authentic version of myself,” she says…