FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO VOGUE: AN INTERVIEW WITH BENJI COLSON
Interview by Karan Teli
14HQ’s Karan managed to sit down with Benji Colson, to talk about his life and experiences, and learn how he managed to get himself walking in London Fashion Week, appearing on Hypebeast and Vogue official websites and his future plans for his modelling and dance careers. Benji; who is from Basingstoke and only 20 years old defined himself to me as an artist, rather than just a model or a dancer.
Dancing and modelling are your two lanes, which did you get into first?
I’ve been dancing for time. I taught myself dancing from around age 9 and thought eventually I need a crew so at age 17 I joined a dance crew called 220. Since then I’ve been in competing in competitions throughout the UK. But since I started modelling, I’ve had to take a step back from dancing.
So how do you go from a dance crew to modelling?
I was at a street dance championship called XM Events for a weekend and I didn’t know there was a model scout there, but there was. So this woman called Suszette approached me and told me that I should try modelling. She told me to send her my details.
So after you sent her your details, what happened?
We’ve become very close since then. But when I first sent her my details, she made me a model portfolio. So I started sending that to modelling agencies and putting it on my social media accounts, you know, tryna gain a following on there.
How old were you when you started sending your portfolio to agencies?
So you’ve only been doing this for a year?
Yeah, pretty much.
Since sending out your portfolio, any significant companies or brands you’ve worked with?
So I’ve worked with a magazine called Pause. Done quite a lot of work for them but I also walked for a brand called Nasir Mazhar for their menswear collection during London Fashion Week.
How did that happen?
They approached me on Instagram. They just messaged me asking if I wanted to walk for them. So eventually when I did walk for them, I got noticed. I was on the Hypebeast website and on the official Vogue Magazine website and the official Vogue Instagram page.
Especially when you consider you’ve only been doing this for a year, seeing yourself on big name pages like that, what does it feel like?
It’s amazing. The whole experience is just so good. Doing modelling got me into fashion so much more.
Modelling helped you find your passion for fashion?
Definitely. For photography as well. I love photography now and I love styling people. Modelling really did change my life. It’s about a lot more than just taking pictures.
Did you notice an increase in your popularity since being on those websites?
Yeah definitely, I had a lot more Instagram followers and likes. For one day I felt like I was famous. But now that’s mainly how I get approached, through Instagram. I get DM’s of people asking me to model for their brand or whatever. It’s the social media era.
Any plans in place at the moment to walk for any more brands?
Yeah I’ve got some stuff lined up. Soon I’m planning to get signed to an agency. Right now I’m doing freelancing, but that’s going good. It’s easy as well because anyone can approach me on Instagram or E-mail and I can tell them to check my Instagram portfolio and we go from there.
What goals, realistically, have you set for yourself for the next few years?
I want to definitely do some travelling. Travel around UK and Europe. Do more catwalks, that’s a big goal of mine. I want to be the new set of Asian trends. In modelling at the moment, Asians are so underrated.
Somebody needs to break down the door.
There’s so many good looking Asians out there. They need to gain popularity, and I want to set the trend. That’s the main goal; to be an artist and set a trend. I’d love to be a stylist as well.
It’s good that you don’t box yourself into one lane.
I can see myself doing anything. Anything that comes, I wont say no.
What about for dancing? You said you took a step back, but any chance of getting back into that?
Yeah 100%. I want to go touring, do commercials and appear in videos. I’m actually shooting for a new Craig David video on Tuesday. I mentioned Suszette, the one who approached me for modelling, she’s the one who got that set up for me, so I’m looking forward to that.
I look forward to seeing you in the future, in person and on billboards!
Anyone who is interested in contacting Benji, you can find and follow him on his Instagram: @benjicolson_