THE ENSIGN CHATS WITH YOUNG GUN BEN ROAZEN, (@BROAZAY),
ABOUT MEDIA, MENSWEAR, AND MUNCHIES.
Ben is wearing the ABASI ROSBOROUGH Apres Shirt
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY & WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
Long story — I was born in Pennsylvania, but I grew up in Moscow, Russia. I went to Russian public school from kindergarten up to ninth grade before graduating from an international school.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO NEW YORK CITY?
After I graduated high school, I decided to go to NYU. I wasn’t a huge fan of freshman year and dropped out for a semester, but I missed New York so much. I had to do it again, but with gusto. So I went back to NYU and threw myself into work.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MEDIA/JOURNALISM?
I basically threw myself into internships and writing opportunities. I interned for a freelance publisher out in Queens, flagging editorials in Arts & Fashion mags like Flaunt, Document and TWELV and then running the copies up to the luxury brands’ mailrooms. At the same time, I was writing music reviews for a start-up for $10 a pop. Weed money, basically. But I cut my teeth writing there. Then I interned at Pigeons & Planes and The FADER before I went full-time at HYPEBEAST.
YOU’VE CEMENTED YOURSELF AS A KEY FIGURE IN MEDIA THROUGH YOUR CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS AND PODCASTS. WHAT GOT YOU INTO THAT AREA?
It wasn’t really part of my plan. Podcasts were a niche thing when I was in college. I got into media by writing about anything they’d pay me to cover: music, fashion, style, sneakers, men’s use of emoji, Jonah Hill Day, Point Break. While I was working full-time, there were a couple notorious industry-wide pivots: one major one to Video, and one minor one to Podcasting. I was survived the former, and was lifted by the tide of the latter. I see music and the greater cultural landscape—capital-S streetwear or whatever—as a great conduit or centrifuge for conveying stories that would otherwise go untold. When I was writing blog-hits, the cultural impact was abstract—because it was the Internet, everything was very much out there in the ether. But once I had a desk-job and a show with photographers and lights, it gave everything an air of legitimacy. People started responding to our DMs, forwarding our numbers.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL GOAL YOU’RE WORKING TOWARD RIGHT NOW? WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?
I’m balancing a few things. I’m trying to find a new full-time gig right now. I’ve been looking at agencies, a couple start-ups, but haven’t really found a place to land just yet. Meanwhile, I’m also working on a pilot with a good friend of mine.
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN FASHION RIGHT NOW?
I’ve been going to Metropolis and digging through the old active-wear racks. All vintage LL Bean, Columbia, Patagonia. I thought I had found a North Face Extreme GORE-TEX® shell jacket from the Keystone pipeline, but it turns out there’s a ski resort with the same name. But yeah: a lot of vintage band tees and camping gear. As far as capital-F fashion goes, I’ve been digging through old Tumblrs looking at conceptual pieces: Margiela’s one of my favorites. I wanna wear Lemaire when I’m wealthy enough to get comfy. My favorite brand is still Carhartt, though. Not Work In Progress either, just that mainline Carhartt.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY BUMPING?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old psych-rock. Spacemen 3, Spiritualized. I always listen to the Grateful Dead when I cook. That new Young Thug song with Elton John, that’s been on repeat. Alexa’s currently playing a live version of John Mayer’s “Gravity.” I’d describe my playlist as like a psychedelic cookout.
YOU’RE ALWAYS JUGGLING SEVERAL PROJECTS AS WELL AS YOUR HEALTH. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF ORGANIZED & GROUNDED?
Yoga. I’ve been going three times a week since May 2016. I used to work out a lot in high school and college, but fell out of shape as I started working and partying more. I’ve tried my hands at a couple other kinds of mediative practices, transcendental stuff, the Wim Hof Method. Yoga was the only one I could wake up at 7AM and force myself to do, regularly. Also, I started cooking. I’ve got celiac disease and diabetes, so my health and my diet are practically intertwined. Everything I cook is gluten-free. Most of it is low-glycemic, but I did just get a new ice-cream machine, so there’ve been some experiments. I’ve also got a foodstagram — @broazeats— where I post all of the food-porn. Duh.
Ben Roazen is a NYC-based writer, producer, and fire IG cook.You can catch him online on Twitter and Instagram @broazay.Photos: Etch for THE ENSIGN