Meet Benjamin, the Stoli Guy finalist and business student from Michigan.
Benjamin sure made a lasting impression in Saugatuck, when he shared his commitment to help the LGBT community with the Stoli Guy judges. With a contagious smile and piercing blue eyes, Benjamin is ready to captivate a larger audience at the New York finale. But he needs your votes to make it to that finish line and take home the grand prize: the chance to become Stoli’s national LGBT ambassador, an Andrew Christian modeling contract and a dream vacation in Key West.
Queerty got to chat exclusively with the outgoing student about how his family is passionately rooting for him and how his search for self-love has lead to this point — The Most Stoli Guy grand finale.
Can you give us a little teaser of what your original talent showcase will be at the finale on September 19?
I am passionate about music. One of the best purchases in my young adult life was my record player. The tactile, real sounds produce a sense of euphoria in me. My talent showcase will definitely be centered in music.
Have you been to New York City before?
I have never been to NYC! I am so excited to be a part of such a collaborate community. I can’t wait to go for a walk in Central Park, see Broadway, experience the culture in Harlem, and just be in the energy of it all.
How did your friends and family react when you were crowned The Most Original Stoli Guy in your hometown?
My friends and family are amazing. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and rooting for me. They are all sharing the voting link on Facebook, and it has been peppered all over the internet. It is inspiring to see just how many people care about me. And my mom is my best friend and my number one supporter. That has been the best part of all of this for me — to see my mom so proud of me.
Being an LGBT ambassador for Stoli is an exciting job. Why do you think you’d be the best at it?
Being a Stoli LGBT ambassador is an exciting job, but for me it is an even greater opportunity. Being me, knowing me, and loving me has been a journey. I remember the fear, I remember the shame, and now I live in the joy of being me. I want to be able to share my experience with gay youth. I want them to know that we hear their voice, we know their pain and we are sorry it hurts. We want them to keep going and be strong and walk through the fear. And we love them for exactly who they are.
Favorite Stoli Guy Cocktail: The Future Husband (vanilla ginger) because I am sweet and smooth, the kind of guy you want to take home to mom and dad, but I definitely have enough spice to keep things interesting.
You can vote once a day until September 18. For every vote cast, Stoli will donate $1 to CenterLink, an organization which supports the efforts of LGBT community centers across the country.