IN CONVERSATION WITH BENE SCHULZ
Bene Schulz gained a big global fandom through TikTok and quickly established himself as favorite of the fashion scene, model and actor. Together with his group and now boyband Elevator Boys he is now about to become a popstar. We talked with Bene about his crazy career, mental health and future Plans.
You rose to stardom through social media platforms, when you started posting videos to your TikTok account. What made you decide to start posting lip-sync and your POV videos?
I always had the dream to create content for a living and since I was 16, I posted my photography content on Instagram. After I graduated, I wanted to travel through Australia, but Covid held me back. I was pretty much locked in Germany, so I posted my first TikTok out of my room at my parents’ house. My 5th video gained over 14M views, which blew my mind. I never stopped posting regularly since that day.
How has the immense popularity and quickly gaining so many followers impacted your life?
Through that social media popularity I found four of my best friends. We moved to Berlin together and founded the ‘Elevator Boys’, a group of friends who are doing social content together. When the virus slowly came to an end and people started to go out again, I first started to notice how many people recognize me. From 0 to 100, you were ‘someone’, which was not easy to comprehend for a village boy like me. The quick transition from a simple life to travel non-stop around the world seems like a dream for many, but it actually was pretty hard to deal with mentally. What really helps is to constantly reflect, recapitulate and realize where I come from. The fast life and the steady performance pressure can destroy your inner peace and it’s on you to take care of that.
Being constantly present on social media brings both positive and negative aspects. What are in your opinion the most positive things that such popularity brought into your life?
The best thing about it is definitely to have a lovely and supportive community on every continent. I love to interact with my followers and travel the world while doing it.
What are in your opinion the negative sides of social media? How do you personally deal with them?
It’s a 24/7 job without many breaks. It comes along with the feeling of always being watched and the fear of becoming irrelevant. It’s not easy to stay mentally and emotionally balanced. It’s not a coincidence that famous influencers are getting replaced every second year. It’s because a lot of them lose themselves to the fame and fast way of living.
Mental health is a big topic nowadays in the world. What is your personal experience with mental health, how important is it for you?
Especially in our generation Z mental health is a big topic. We live in times of social media and Covid. People tend to compare themselves to unrealistic beauty standards. The depression rate rises and it’s harder than ever to get a therapist. As I said before, I struggle with that too and it’s hard for me sometimes, but I am really trying to take care of it and to live a healthy life. That’s why it’s so important to normalize talking about mental health issues. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
You’ve been a part of the ‘Elevator Boys’, together with your fellow TikTok stars. Can you tell us more about this project and what is it all about?
It’s not only a project, it’s a long time friendship. We have all been living together in Berlin for over 1,5 years now. Although we’re all individually working on our careers, it all comes together as the big group project. We travel the world, visit fashion weeks and produce content everywhere we go. It’s so cool to share a lot of breathtaking memories with these boys.
Social media stardom also put you on the fashion map. How do you personally feel about fashion? What do you love the most about it?
I always loved to express myself through fashion. I wasn’t always brave enough to wear what I want as a teenager, so it’s even more fun to find confidence in what I’m wearing and even gaining respect in the fashion industry for it.
How has the experience of visiting all the fashion events been for you?
It’s a big honor to be invited by so many iconic brands. I love to see how the designers put their thoughts into action and create art. It’s just amazing to be a part of this.
What are some of your biggest passions in life?
The biggest passion is to develop myself further. Either just personally or work on new talents. I want to be the best version of myself and the list of things I want to do is long. One thing is definitely acting.
You have also done some acting in the past few years. What are your goals for the future of your career?
Becoming an actor is my biggest dream since I was a child. Of course my goal is to play more and get challenging roles to become better. I take acting classes on a regular basis and I already had the opportunity to work with great directors and teams. I just loved it and it gives me so much joy. I know it’s not easy for a social media creator like me to be taken seriously, so I just have to keep going and work for my dream.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects for the rest of 2023.
I can tell you about the biggest project this year and forever. The ‘Elevator Boys’ just became a real boyband. We’ve been training for almost a year now. Our music debut was at the Summertime Ball in front of 80.000 people at the famous Wembley Stadium. Now our first single ‘Runaway’“ will be out in a few weeks. It’s a heart project, which we take really seriously. We love making music and share our feelings through it, so we hope that people will like our songs.
interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja
Talent: Bene Schulz @bene.sz
Photographer: Jingxiong Qiao @hellojoe1992
Fashion editor: Magdalena Roe @magdalenaroe
Head of production: Diago Mariotta Mendez @diagomm
1st assistant: Claudia Malecka @claudiamalecka
Light assistant/Gaffer: Dennis Kragers @dennis.kragers
Fashion assistant: Lena Lauer @lena__lauer
Talent manager: Michael Späth @michael.inprivate
Talent manager assistant: Anna Céline @_annaceline
MUAH: Teresa Hofmeister @reza.hair
MUAH assistant: Chris-Aaron Brandt @theaaronbrandt
Editor: Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Cover design: Arthur Roeloffzen @arthurroeloffzen
Location: Hotel Telegraphenamt @telegraphenamt.berlin