2012 February 29

The Brothers Benz

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Chris and Tyler Benz Chris and Tyler Benz
Billy Farrell Agency
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You've heard of Chris Benz, but how about his younger counterpart, Tyler? Chic caught up with the designer's bro for a familial tête-à-tête.

A childhood tale of Chris, please! 
Ooh, I have a really good one. Chris tried to film a reenactment of Clueless. I was Cher, and instead of being in a Corvette, or whatever she drives in the movie, I rode a motorcycle tricycle. Chris totally put me in drag as a child. My brother is six years older than me, so I’ve looked up to him no matter what—so I’ll obviously get in a dress for my brother when I was, like, eight. My mom probably still has the tape of it. 

Any recent vignettes?
Well, he hasn’t been dressing me in drag recently. Chris is a fantastic role model, and a good, amazing brother. He’s really my best friend! We’ve never, like, done Ecstasy together and gotten totally messed up or anything…

OK, what’s something we might not know about Chris?
He’s obsessed with Mob Wives. He forced me to watch the first three episodes, and I wanted to shoot myself in the face. 

How do you two bro out nowadays?

The best thing to do with Chris is sit on his stoop with him and his dog, Olive, hang out, and talk about our lives. Coming together to rendezvous every couple of weeks is just the best thing. 

Did you foresee Chris’ success as a designer?
My brother graduated high school early and left home when I was in eighth grade, so I was an only child for a while, which sucked. He was my role model. That’s when I realized that I had to get to New York as fast as possible and be Chris’ understudy in life. That’s what I’m doing, and it’s been working out great! 

What’s the best advice Chris has given you?
To totally be myself. I know that sounds so cliché, but Chris has been Chris since, like, he was born. He did Little League, and then he was like, “F this shit. I hate baseball—I hate all sports. I’m going to do a mock trunk show instead, when I’m in eighth grade.” When I went to college, I wanted to be an academic, and I realized later than Chris did that that wasn’t for me—Chris is so mature in that way. 

So what are you up to?
I’m on the editorial staff at the V Files bog, which is part of magazine.

How does Chris stay, well, Chris? 
He’s so grounded—a lot more grounded than I am! I get wild sometimes. He’s never going to go off the deep end. If I can even approach what Chris has achieved so far, that’d be amazing. I cannot imagine a better brother. He’s just the best person. I love him so much. 


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