Ready to Speak His Truth
The slings and arrows of life in the public eye are also the very things that make everything so enticing: the attention. With his sizable fan base and a new book published this year, Don Benjamin certainly gets his fair share of the spotlight, but his journey hasn’t necessarily been a walk in the park. Model, actor, rapper, and now author, the 33-year-old influencer is no stranger to hardship and tragedy. 3 years ago, he had to face and overcome the death of his father, and just earlier this year, his engagement dissolved. But if anyone can turn lemons into lemonade, it’s Don Benjamin. Choosing to view his setbacks as opportunities for growth, he took a journey inward to reflect on what he learned, resulting in his boldly vulnerable, no-holds-barred autobiography, My Truth. He’s ready for a new chapter, and he hopes to inspire other men like him to turn the page in their own lives, too.
Chances are you first heard about Benjamin when he came onto the modeling scene with his signature icy smolder and magnetic personality on Cycle 20 of America’s Next Top Model. Successfully relocating from the frigid Midwest, where he grew up, to sunny Los Angeles to chase his dreams took a bit more than just his good looks, though. “When I first moved to L.A., I thought I was going to take off in a year or two, and then it took a good seven years to hit my first break,” he says. “Then after getting my first break, I realized it’s still a journey uphill.” Resilient by nature, he’s familiar with the inherent hustle that comes with fame, and his perseverance is exactly what has kept his career growing to this day.
It’s the in-between moments, though – when the cameras turn off and Benjamin is alone with his inner self – that keep him grounded. His spiritual “awakening” of sorts came as a blessing-in-disguise element from the fallout of his breakup this year. “I think the biggest thing I learned about myself was that I had been dealing with some trauma from my childhood that I had been bottling up, and I was letting some unhealthy things fill that void,” he admits. “So once I was able to really sit down and look at that, and talk to some life coaches and therapists, I was able to tackle those things and work on them.”
There’s an unfortunate, detrimental stereotype for modern men to be unemotional and out of touch with their inner spirituality, leading many to turn to destructive habits in order to meet their basic psychological needs. “I think as men, we let our pride get the best of us – our egos. We don’t want to be vulnerable and open,” he shares. “I feel like that’s become kind of my purpose, to help men break through that as well.” When you take steps towards your own self-improvement, it undeniably helps you to be a better person not only for yourself, but for everyone around you. Benjamin has hope for the future – hope for us to come together and rebuild after the unprecedented year we’ve had. “We’re all the same, and once people can start moving more in love, rather than in judgment or hate, I feel like that’s going to be the key to progressing,” he affirms.
Writer: Summer Myatt
Photographer: Daniel Lennox
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)