There aren’t many people who would choose to live in a remote location where temperatures consistently dip below freezing, but Ricko DeWilde isn’t most people. Ricko is one of the stars of the National Geographic series, Life Below Zero, and he knows a thing or two about surviving in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. Not only does Ricko appreciate a simple lifestyle that allows him to feel closer to nature, but he’s also passionate about sharing his experiences with others. The life he lives may not be for everyone, but there’s something everyone can learn from Ricko. Keep reading to discover 10 things you didn’t know about Ricko DeWilde.
1. He Has An Apparel Company
Ricko may be all about living a simple life, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t serious about his business. He is the founder of a clothing line called HYDZ Gear. He sells items such as hoodies, hats, and coats. Not only do his products pay homage to his culture, but they are also designed to keep people dry and warm.
2. He Comes From A Big Family
Living in Alaska’s extreme weather conditions is nothing new for Ricko. He’s been braving it all his life, proud of the abilities he has acquired. He was born and raised there and hails from a huge family. He was raised with his 13 siblings in a secluded cabin located around 100 miles from Huslia.
3. He Didn’t Go To School Until 12th Grade
Ricko’s upbringing was what many people would consider unconventional. In addition to growing up in a very remote place, he didn’t attend a traditional school until he was a senior in high school. Prior to that, he was homeschooled by his parents, where he learned their cultural traditions.
4. He’s Struggled With Abuse
Ricko moved to the city when he was 18 years old. Due to his sheltered upbringing, city life proved to be overwhelming for him. He eventually started using oxycodone and became addicted. His addiction led him down a destructive path and he was arrested on drug-related charges and spent two years in prison. Although the situation was unfortunate, being in prison made him realize that he wanted to turn his life around. He quit drugs and has been clean and sober for over 15 years.
5. He Has Native American Roots
Ricko hails from a long line of Native Alaskans known as the Koyukon Athabascan people. He was raised in a traditional family and his culture is of great importance to him. As with many other Indigenous communities, Ricko was taught how to subsist off of the land around him.
6. He’s Active On Social Media
When most people hear about Ricko’s way of life, they tend to assume that he lives off the grid and doesn’t keep up with modern technology. That’s not the case though. In addition to having a website for his apparel company, Ricko is also active on both Instagram and Facebook.
7. He Was Discovered On YouTube
Even before being cast on Life Below Zero, Ricko was passionate about sharing his experiences. He started a YouTube channel in November 2011, posting videos that showed what life is like in rural Alaska. His channel currently has more than 6.8 million views, and it was what helped him get the opportunity to be a part of the show.
8. He’s A Father
Ricko was born into a close-knit family, something he has sought to instill in his children. He is the proud father of five: Simone, Skarlett, Maya, Skyler, and Keneen. It is unclear whether Ricko is married to their mother, Rona Vent.
9. He Hopes To Educate Others
Ricko’s way of life is all about taking care of the Earth, and he hopes that is something he can teach others to appreciate. He said, “Living with Nature is something all people of this Earth once did to survive, but the Indigenous people of this Earth are the last ones still holding onto a balance to keep working in harmony with their environment…I wish for the viewers to not only enjoy what they watch, but also learn to respect and honour Mother Earth.”
10. He’s An Activist
Ricko’s love for his people and his community extends beyond upholding traditions. He is also passionate about ending police brutality and other forms of discrimination. In 2016, he organized a vigil for a local Native man who had been fatally shot by the police. When interviewed by a local paper, he highlighted the disproportionate number of Natives shot by the police.
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