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Hydro Goddess: Deonna Marie Is Your Growing Fantasy

Deonna Marie is the hottest grow expert on the planet! Deonna Marie is the hottest grow expert on the planet!


Have you ever daydreamed about the girl who has it all? Imagine a woman with the brains to run her own business, the confidence of a bikini model, the nurturing kindness of a mother and bombshell sex appeal through the roof. Oh yeah, and now make her an expert grower. If that sounds over the top, guess again—she’s real, and her name is Deonna Marie.

Deonna is an expert grower, as well as the co-owner of Hydroponics Outlet in Gilroy, California. If you don’t happen to live in the Golden State, you can still catch her at trade shows and conventions around the country as well as in every issue of Rosebud Magazine with her Hot For Hydro column; she’s also online at Rosebudmag.com with her Hydro 101 series.

We wanted to showcase one of the best (and hottest) growers in the industry, so we sat down with our very own Deonna for an intimate chat.

How did you get started in growing?

I got started when I was about 12. My mom had a garden in the backyard and we always used to grow tomatoes and even pumpkins and stuff like that. I didn’t really learn about the hydro side of it until about seven years ago, when we opened the hydroponics store. I used to grow in dirt, and hydroponics was a whole new entity to me.
I was a painted lady for Playboy. That was my first job ever, and it was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve done to this day.

How did you find the learning curve?

My mom, being a nurse, learned it really quickly and was pretty much able to break it down for us girls so that it was easier for us to pick up. At first it was so foreign to me; I was like, “This is way too much information.” But when we opened up the store, I had to start answering questions. That was another way I learned. And I’m learning stuff even to this day. That’s a cool thing about being in this business.

So you come from a family of growers?

I have two sisters and four brothers. My oldest sister, my middle brother, my mom and I are all growers. The other kids aren’t into it whatsoever [laughs].

What’s your favorite part of growing?
My favorite thing is getting away from the outside world. Going into the grow room is peaceful. I just play my music and relax. It’s nice being by yourself and cutting out the outside world.

Right, but at the same time there’s a lot of hard work to be done. What’s the most challenging part of being a grower?

I’d say the most challenging part for me is harvest time. That’s the phase that requires the most hands-on time and effort. The nice thing about hydro is that you can set timers and all the hard work is done for you once you get your system down. If you’re new to it, it’s harder. But overall, the hardest, longest process is harvest time.

But also the most rewarding, right?

Definitely. That’s when all your hard work pays off and you get to enjoy your final product, which is always a plus.

Let’s shift gears a little. When did you start modeling?

I started modeling about four years ago, New Year’s Eve 2008. I was a painted lady for Playboy. That was my first job ever, and it was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve done to this day. But at the same time, it’s the type of thing where once you do it, everything else is easy.

How did you get that job?

I was actually approached by Mark Frazier, who’s the famous body-painter for Hugh Hefner. He found me on a modeling website and asked me if I’d be interested. I wasn’t sure if I was into the nude thing, but with being a painted lady, even though you’re painted, you feel like you’re clothed. It was a crazy, weird experience. I’m glad I did it, but I’d never do it again.
The funny thing is, from running the store, I notice that female growers catch on so much faster. I can tell you I have husband-and-wife customers who have little competitions, and almost every time the female wins.

But something appealed to you, because you kept modeling.

The best thing about modeling is the travel. You get to meet so many people in the industry. I love going to new places. And you get to be somebody different every day. In my normal life I’m more of a tomboy, not a glamorous model. If you saw me on my off days, you probably wouldn’t even recognize me because I’m in flip-flops, shorts and a tank top.

Do you ever get recognized by growers when you’re out on the road?

I have, especially when I do conventions and stuff like that. I actually got recognized by a whole group of kids in my hometown last time I was visiting. I must have spent two hours answering growing questions. It’s cool to be recognized like that.

I imagine it’s a treat to get to talk about your passion.

Definitely. And they get excited, especially because I’m a girl who can sit there and talk about growing techniques and styles in this male-dominated industry. There aren’t a lot of female growers, although there are many more than there were six or seven years ago. You’re seeing a lot more women jump into it. The funny thing is, from running the store, I notice that female growers catch on so much faster. I can tell you I have husband-and-wife customers who have little competitions, and almost every time the female wins. It’s one of those things we have a knack for. We pay attention to detail and we’re nurturing, so growing comes a lot easier to females than to males. But not in all cases, of course.

Why is it, then, that the growing business is so male-dominated?

I don’t know. I’ve always wondered that. With our customers, it’s usually men coming in. I don’t think it’s that women don’t find it interesting, but it definitely has always had that male persona. I don’t know why more women don’t grow, but there are many more women coming into our store the past few years.

I had a woman come in who had just gotten a divorce. She and her husband had been growing together for years, but she had never really learned the ins and outs. She picked it up in a month and said she had the best harvest she’s ever had, and on her own.

When I used to think of gardening as a kid, I would think of a female in the garden. But things are different with hydro. For a lot of people, when you say hydroponics they have no idea what the process is. There are a lot of misconceptions about it. I have to explain to people that it’s not necessarily what they’re thinking – it’s just a method of growing all year round. Once you start talking to people, they’re intrigued by it and want to know more about it.

Because you’re a beautiful woman and a high-profile grower, do you ever find that people overlook your growing expertise or misjudge you?

I get that all the time. In the past couple of years, especially writing for Rosebud, I think I’ve become more appreciated. When I first started, people didn’t take me seriously at all. You know, “She’s just a model that got a job because she’s pretty.” We even went through it on the Rosebud Facebook page [with some negative comments]. But now, especially going to conventions and meeting people in person, they know, “OK, she really does know what she’s talking about.” Once I can talk to people face-to-face, I’m definitely taken more seriously, and it has gotten better over the years.

Can you tell us about the reality show you’re involved with?

It’s called Home Grown with Deonna Marie, which is about our family’s hydroponics store. It just goes through our personal and professional relationships, and the hardships of running a business and everything we go through on a regular basis. It also follows how I juggle my modeling career and the hydroponics store and writing my column—my three different careers. If you’ve never met my family, I have a crazy, crazy family, so it shows the ups and downs of living and working alongside each other.


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Deonna Marie is the hottest hydroponics expert on the planet.
Last modified on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:37

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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