You know those people who are just effortlessly cooler than you’ll ever be? Meet fashion stylist by day, East End (summer) chicster by night Sasha Benz……..
When you are not found on the beachside at Surf Lodge during the summer months where are you spending a majority of your time?
My husband and I are pretty lucky, as both our jobs allow us to work anywhere, so we generally follow sun and create the opportunities where we go. So generally after the season is over, we jump to LA for a few months, before heading down to Australia during their summer. And maybe a quick trip to Mexico in between.
When you are not running everything cool at Surf, what other projects are you working on and where do they have you traveling to?
I founded an online magazine called All My Friends Are Models a few years ago, which I manage simultaneously throughout the year. The magazine produces articles, editorials and we do big events throughout the year, which keep me super busy. I also freelance as a creative director on a project basis, so whenever something interesting comes my way I rarely say no, so I will take that on. I generally float between NY & LA, but every now and then we will get to go somewhere exotic like the Caribbean or Hawaii.
You are an Aussie at heart, when you need a dose of home but can’t find the time to get there what spot gives you a taste of home without the flight?
Montauk has been a great substitute for us, the chill surf vibes, great food and beach lifestyle remind us both of home a lot. Also, any restaurant with good avo (avocado) toast sometimes does the job.
Speaking of, what brought you to the states?
Sydney is great, one of the best cities in the world, but once I finished school I knew I wanted to do and see more of the world, so what better place to be thrown in the deep-end like New York City. I literally packed up, left my boyfriend, my job, my home and my family behind and came to NY without anything to my name and seven years later, here I am. A wonderful husband, a beautiful baby boy, a fantastic job – the states were eventually very kind to us.
OK, be honest west coast or East coast, and why?
East Coast – (or at least NY) no competition. I love the fast pace energy, there is something just electric about the city and the people, its hard to explain. West Coast (LA) is still great, the weather is perfect year round, which is a huge plus – we spend a lot of time there, and I love it, but I always find myself missing NY.
What is your favorite part about the work that you do at Surf Lodge?
The people that I get to work with. We have an amazing team and everyone is so good at what they do, but we work as a family unit. Its very rare. I also love working with different brands and creating memorable events. And then there is the social side of my job, which is unreal. Also being able to relocate to Montauk with my family, and experience working and living in such a special town. I honestly love my job, there is very little I don’t like about it.
In addition to being the creative director at Surf Lodge you are also a fashion stylist and founder of the website All My Friends Are Models. How do you make your many worlds collide in a cohesive way throughout the year?
Everything that I do really works hand in hand with each other – being a stylist gave me the right connections to be able to produce great events out here, handle the production and editorial side of things, as well as bringing in a new element of brand alignment to the Surf Lodge. We also host a huge event at Surf for AMFAM once a year, bringing out all the models and aligning with a charity. We also shoot all the time out in Montauk, when I know there is a big model coming into town, we generally use that to create content for the website. Its not easy – but I somehow pull it all off. (I rarely sleep, I think that’s the trick).
Let’s Chat East Coast! What is your favorite place to dine on the east end?
Surf Lodge, obviously 😉 – It used to be Daves, but the shut down – Crow’s Nest is also fantastic and a beautiful setting. The Dureyea’s is great too for afternoon oysters and wine!
When you are in the city where can we find you? East side or West side?
That’s a tough one! Probably floating between both. In the morning, you will probably find me on the east side in the LES – great cafes, good coffee spots, then I’ll hit the shops and lunch spots in Soho/Nolita and gradually move my way over in the evenings to a roof top watching the sunset over the Hudson.
When you have a day to yourself, how do you spend your downtime?
I rarely get a day to myself!! But my husband is great at making me take time to breath every now and then, so when I do, I will generally try go to the beach with the puppy, get in the ocean, or if I am in the city I will disappear uptown to Barneys or Bergdorf and loose myself for a few hours.
What is your favorite area to shop in NYC?
See above! I also love Soho – zig zagging up and down Mercer and all around there.
There are many infamous lobster roll spots in the Hamptons, which is your favorite?
I’m not a lobster roll kinda girl – but I can testify that Peters Catch has the best fish tacos, hands down!
The fashion scene has been picking up out east. Where is your go-to spot to pick up summer essentials?
The Surf Bazaar is great, also Melet Mercantile has epic vintage finds.
What is the most overrated spot off exit 70?
Oooof – that’s a hard one. I would probably say Ditch Plains beach – only because everyone says it’s the spot to go to, but that’s only true if you are a surfer The actual beach is quite small, and not as pristine as the rest of the beach along the coast. But because I have a Surfer boyfriend and a dog, I don’t really get the luxury to go anywhere else!
Besides Montauk, which Hamptons do you spend a majority of your time?
East – probably because its so close and it has everything you would need.
What are your favorite places to dine in the Hamptons?
Navy Beach is great, and then all the other spots mentioned before.
Do you have a sacred area that still feels untouched by the madness that has ensured over the past few years?
I’m not sure I want to answer – as it wont be untouched for much longer!
Gin Beach is actually one of my favorite beaches, and is very rarely busy and has the best sunset in Montauk, no competition!
My drink of choice is: Red Red Wine!
If I could have a cold one with anybody it would be: My dad.
When I am not working I am: Thinking about work.
My favorite meal is: A good tuna salad.
I can’t live without: My family.
My favorite way to unwind is: See question one.
You’d be most surprised to know: I can lick my own elbow.