Don Benjamin Has A Plan – By Stacey Gualandi
As a young boy, Don Benjamin may not have had a van like his rhyming doppelganger Jon Benjamin (you watched that on Comedy Central, right?), but he was afraid of flying cockroaches. Which is surprising when you consider that as a contestant on Season 20 of America’s Next Top Model, he didn’t hesitate to pose with a giant yellow python. Then again, taking chances is what this 28-year-old model-actor-rapper is all about.
Benjamin was born in what he calls a “rough neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side” to a Caucasian mom and an African-American father, and he grew up in cities—and homeless shelters— all over the country. He was a basketball star in Minneapolis, but left his hoop dreams behind in 2006 when he embarked on an acting and music career in Los Angeles right after high school. “I moved out here thinking that within a year I would be the next Denzel Washington,” Benjamin says half-joking. Ten years later, he admits it takes time to make things happen in Hollywood but is proud to say, “I’m in a happy place right now.”
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