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How did your childhood in Minnesota shape your career today? I was born in Chicago, then moved to Minnesota at age five and spent the majority of my life there until moving to LA after graduating high school. It was cool, but cold as hell in the winter. But the cold kept me out of trouble and locked in the gym.


When did you first start getting tattooed and what led you to become heavily tattooed? I got my first tattoo at 15. I went to get a basketball and since I was under age, they would only allow me to get something religious. So I got a cross on my left bicep. After my first one, all I could think about was what I’m getting next. I knew I wanted to be covered.


What’s your favorite tattoo and what are your future plans for tattoos? My favorite tattoo is on my calf and it is a picture of me seeing my Pops off to heaven. He passed away last year, so that piece means everything to me.


What made you decide to go out for America’s Next Top Model? At that moment, I was pursuing music heavily, but got a call from a friend saying that they were having guys on it and said I should go out. I didn’t have much going on, so I figured I would give it a try, not realizing it would be the break I needed.


How has your life changed post-show?

My life changed drastically after the show. I can do what I want now entertainment wise and I have a better platform to chase my dreams.


How were you able to accelerate your growth on social media? My followers grew super fast from posting modeling pictures and getting in with my group of friends shooting comedy skits.


In addition to modeling, you’re also a rapper and now host a cooking show. Are there any other projects you’re not telling us about? Yes, I’m working on a ton of things. I’ve been working on a couple new TV show ideas—both scripted and non-scripted.


Where do you hope to be in one year, five years and 10 years? I plan to be a very established actor and musician. I’d also like to produce TV and film projects as well.


What’s up next for Don Benjamin? Next up for me is just continuing to grow. Building myself and my career path along with giving my knowledge to people that are trying to get where I am. I’m going to be giving modeling tips out soon to aspiring models.