From her sad girl anthem “Supasoledad” went viral on TikTok in the early days of the pandemic, Stella Rose Bennett aka BENEFIT He has seen his star continue to rise. Amid the uncertainty, she catapulted herself into a secluded fame void. Her song: “I’m a sad girl, in this big world. It’s a mad world,” SHE sings over an infectious beat that resonates with millions of people around the world. At 20, she had won Single of the Year, Best Solo Artist and Best Pop Artist at the New Zealand Music Awards. Now just 23 years old, the Auckland native is one of the leading rock stars of Generation Z, with over 6 million monthly Spotify listeners and an iconic two-tone hairstyle that has been embraced by TikTokers and fans alike. it-girls. When it comes to music, BENEE has kept her fans fed, releasing an EP titled Lychee in 2022 and collaborating with Lily Allen, Flo Milli and Grimes. Shortly after taking the stage at Coachella, “quite a surreal experience,” she says, BENEE called us from her new apartment in Los Angeles to talk about festival fashion, being labeled a “pop star” and why the sustainability is an integral part of his personal style. .
ERNESTO MACIAS: Hey, how are you doing?
BENEE: Oh, hello. I’m fine. How are you?
MACÍAS: I’m fabulous. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.
BENE: Of course. Oh Lord. My hair.
MACIAS: Where are you calling me from today?
BENEE: I’m calling you from my apartment in Los Angeles Oh my gosh. My foster dog just threw up on me.
MACÍAS: Excuse me?
BENEE: My foster dog just threw up on me!
MACÍAS: My God. Do you need a minute?
BENEFIT: Brother, what’s up? Ew. Well. Wait wait wait. Do not do that again. Do not do that again. Well. Oh Lord. Oh Lord. Are you okay Ro? Oh Lord. Come here. Come here. oh girl I’m sorry.
MACÍAS: No, it’s fine.
BENE: Go ahead. That wasn’t so bad.
MACIAS: So you’re in LA with your dog who just threw up. What did you have for lunch today?
BENEE: I haven’t had lunch today, but I’ll have something after this because I have a session this afternoon and I need food.
MACIAS: What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done or said to you?
BENEE: There’s probably a girl, Charlie, who’s from Australia and has come to so many shows. She has traveled all over Australia and some of those flights are not that short. She came to Coachella to see us. Some people just go the extra mile to come see you, which is really nice.
MACIAS: Speaking of Coachella, how did you decide what to wear for your debut?
BENEE: Oh. There was some planning that went into it. I just wanted something really nice. I wanted it to be denim and I wanted it to be a matching set. So I worked with this stylist, Harper Slate. Her name is Ellie, and she’s really cool. We just came up with those outfits. She sent me these ideas and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love this.” Some of it was adjusting the color. There were a few things that we tweaked a bit, but it was good to have time and a lot of planning. I was excited with the final product back in the day.
MACIAS: What was the experience like for you, being at Coachella as a performer?
BENEE: It was great. I love Coachella. I’ve only been once before. I went last year like player, and it was great. She’s just the mother of all festivals, so he was beyond excited to play it. I mean, it was a pretty surreal experience. It probably would have been the biggest festival we’ve ever played because we just don’t have festivals of that size in New Zealand or Australia. It was awesome. Sitting next to those other artists in the lineup was pretty exciting because he was fangirling over a couple of them.
MACIAS: Did you see any of the other shows?
BENE: Yes. the rosalia. I saw her show and I love her.
MACIAS: Oh, I watched it from my couch in Brooklyn and it was just as exciting.
BENEE: The live broadcasts were also very on point. All camera angles: Those people filming on stage deserve a gold medal because they were doing a really good job.
MACIAS: Greetings to them. What do you have in your party bag?
BENEE: Ooh, that’s a good question. Sunglasses. That is definitely essential. I usually just have makeup to top up. There’s always some medicine for hay fever and, I don’t know, a card to buy me food. I’m trying to think of what else was in my bag. That was it.
MACIAS: Have you ever tried to sneak something into a festival?
BENEE: Yeah, I actually tried to strain my weed vaporizer. I think I got it, but I had two weed vaporizers confiscated last year because I didn’t realize you couldn’t keep them there.
MACÍAS: What are your plans for the summer?
BENEE: Well, I guess I don’t know. I’ve moved to Los Angeles now, so I hope I can get some sun and go to the beach. I’m in album mode right now, so I’ll be making a lot of music over the summer. In fact, I’m also going to Australia and New Zealand to do a lot of festivals.
MACIAS: So, I want to talk a little bit about your personal style now. Who are your biggest stylistic influences?
BENEE: Ooh, that’s a good question. I don’t know if I have a person. I feel like there are a lot of people. I love looking at fashion and mood boards for photo shoots and other things on Pinterest. I also did that for the Coachella set. I made a Pinterest board, and that’s how we made the outfit. And when I’m outside, and you see something that makes me feel inspired.
MACIAS: Has New Zealand influenced your sense of style in any way?
BENEE: I think it must have, in a way. I think there’s definitely quite a bit of awareness – it’s all about recycling and buying from locals in New Zealand, and ethically sourcing. So I think that has definitely influenced how I shop for my clothes now. I think I look for pieces that are unique and not fast fashion.
MACIAS: What do you miss most from home when you’re away?
BENEE: Funnily enough, home-cooked meals and my dog. It’s totally a first world problem, but when you’re on tour sometimes you eat out a lot or order takeout or eat in place. Sometimes you just miss home and cooking a shitty pasta dish with your friends. Yes, I also miss my family, my dog, my cat and my home. I have a dog in New Zealand so she’s a long way away and I miss her when I’m on tour.
MACIAS: And what are their names, your cat and your dog?
BENEE: My cat’s name is Potasio, like pistachio. and my dog is called tuiwhich is a native bird of New Zealand.
MACIAS: I love those names.
BENE: Thank you.
MACIAS: so in your album hhey ux, you have some collaborations, Grimes, Flo Milli, Lily Allen. Who is your dream collaboration right now?
BENEE: Right now? Oh. Curse. There are so many people I would love to work with, but I’m probably going to say the rosalia.
MACÍAS: I love it. I love how you say her name.
BENEE: I love your name. I am definitely saying it wrong.
MACIAS: No, you say it right. You were named “Best Pop Artist” at the New Zealand Music Awards and I was wondering if you identify with the “pop artist” label?
BENEE: Yeah. I don’t know, I feel like pop is such a broad genre now, and I think I used to be against it. I was like, “Not everything I do is pop.” I think sometimes it can be a vague way of categorizing someone. But then in saying that, at the same time, I think the genre is becoming so mixed and popular music, pop music, it’s a lot of things now. It’s not like it was ten years ago. So I think, fuck, if I’m pop music, it means it’s doing well. So I’m like, “Hey, I guess that’s a plus.” But I don’t think the genre of what I actually do is always pop. You know what I mean? I think that’s what I have in mind. Any award, I’m happy to be recognized for my work. I think those awards will be harder to categorize over time because everyone is doing a little bit of this.
MACÍAS: Yes. So, during the pandemic, you exploded in Tik Tok. What was it like dealing with that kind of care from home?
BENEE: I would say it was pretty quiet, to be honest, because I was so far away and cooped up while it was happening. I think it would have been very different if he was in Los Angeles, being in the middle of everything. But he was so isolated, so he was in this bubble saying, “Oh my gosh. What the fuck? My song is going crazy. This is so strange.” It was definitely strange. I don’t know, he must have intended it to happen like this. I guess it didn’t really sink until after.
MACIAS: What is your relationship with social networks?
BENEE: Well, I don’t know. Instagram is a bit dead. I don’t like posting on Instagram anymore because I feel like it feels a little flat or something. I mean, I love to post when I’m traveling if I have a photographer that… my ex-boyfriend came on tour with me and would do all my photos, so that was a lot of fun. I’m happy to post all the time if I have a ton of great photos. Otherwise I guess I stay pretty quiet on social media. I guess I’d say I’m pretty active in my stories. I definitely use my phone a lot. Yes, I’m relaxing.
MACIAS: What is one misconception that you think people might have about Generation Z?
BENEE: About Generation Z? I don’t know. I guess people put Gen Z down a bit. But I feel like maybe that’s not true. Maybe it’s just that people think we’re a bit stupid.
MACIAS: When was the last time you went on a date?
BENEE: On a date?
BENEE: Oh my gosh. I don’t remember the last time I went on a date. I mean, I recently broke up with my ex-boyfriend. We had a lot of great dates together, but I’ll be off the dating network for a while, a hot minute. And I’m pretty happy about it. Dating can be a lot of fun. When it’s good, it’s really good, but there’s also a lot of dating anxiety. Ooh, it gives me chills right now if I think about it.
MACÍAS: It’s a lot. But you will enjoy it again.
BENE: I know. Yeah.
MACIAS: What are you doing after this phone call?
BENEE: It’s 11:54. I need to have lunch, take the dog for a walk, and then I’m going to a session with a couple of guys, and we’re going to do a fucking banger.