Musician & Model (ANTM 20):  Don Benjamin | Photographer: Kaleb Khu | Stylist: Ashley Rae | Make-up: Michelle Sfarzo | Hair: Tashi Lynell | Designers: Brooks Brothers & Moods of Norway | Annex Magazine Hombre 01 SS14

Excerpts from the interview:

ANNEX: You’ve spoken about growing up in poverty, but always having big dreams as a kid.  A lot of kids in that situation don’t actualize their dreams the way you’re doing it now, so what do you consider your turning point between dreaming and actually doing?

DON: I’ve always felt like anything in this world was possible, it’s just a matter of taking the first step to start.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything for my career living in Minnesota, so one day I just decided to move to L.A.  I called my cousin and he said I could stay with him till I get on my feet so I bought my ticket and was gone!

ANNEX: When you appeared on cycle 20 of America’s Next Top Model, you were instantly a fan favorite.  Everyone loved the way you kept your head down, didn’t cause drama, and got sh•t done.  How did you stay so focused?

DON: I think being older and having some experience already in the industry kept me focused on the bigger picture and understanding that any drama won’t get me anywhere or anything but a bad image.  And I’ve always been more laid back and less dramatic so I just tried to be myself and not let the cameras bring out a false me.

ANNEX: What can you tell us about your music?  What have you been working on lately?

DON: My music has been my main focus since day one.  It just so happens modeling took off first.  But it’s given me time to find myself as an artist to find my sound.  I am working on an EP right now and I am off to a great start.  I like to tell stories through my music that people can relate to.  I’m hoping to have a couple new songs released by the early summer time.