Meet an American Puzler.
Two countries. Six states. Nine cities. Ocean and mountains. Cristopher Benitah’s life has been unique in many ways – a life at the highest possible pace. But one day in 2019, life took a sharp turn.
After living in several of United States largest cities, you moved to a remote house towards the Canadian border. What made you decide to move?
A question many have asked but this would be the first time I am answering it fully. As a foreigner in the US you are most often bound by a work visa, this work visa is attached to one company and for me, those companies were all in major cities making a move like this impossible. I think I have had this move on my vision board for over 10 years. I first visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2009 and fell in love. The mountains, the air, the freedom, its all here. Living in Montana is by far the best decision I have made.
You seem to have an amazing love for your dog. What is your favorite activity together?
Freyja is the light of my life. I was in a severe motorcycle accident in 2019 and I got her as a service dog in 2020 to help with everyday life. Never had I thought a little dog like her could have such impact on my life as she has had, but our favorite activity is our morning walks. We try to do 4-7 miles (6-11km) each morning, and being so close in nature its just me, her and nothing else.
What is your weirdest craving?
Salty candy. Maybe a pizza from Jönköping as well, but salty candy for sure. American candy is very sweet and overly processed which makes it less fun to eat. Maybe thats a good thing as I eat substantially less candy these days.
You have photographed many interesting people. Someone who gave an extraordinary impression?
Tough one, but if I had to choose someone who was memorable over the rest, I would say Michael Bacon. He is Kevin Bacons brother and we had a wonderful time. We connected over hockey and the conversation was nothing but delightful throughout the entire shoot.
Do you have a life motto? If so, how does your life motto influence your everyday decisions?
Follow my dreams no matter how absurd they are. I am not sure if that is a life motto, but I decided very young that nothing should stop me from doing the things I love and so far that has stayed true. If you end up following your dreams, you will live the life you always wanted and by doing so, be happier and lighter than if you held yourself back.
In your garage you have no cars, it is instead filled with sewing machines and denim fabrics. Why?
I sold my first pair of Levi’s at age 6. So the denim obsession started young with my aunt working and running clothing stores all my life. In 2016 I was transitioning from an ad agency on Manhattan, NY to a smaller agency in Los Angeles and it didnt feel as awesome as it should feel when changing jobs like that. I sat down and tried to figure out what my future should look like and thats when it hit me. I should make jeans. The story is a bit longer than that, but more or less I wanted to create a future that was not dependent on big agencies and also less computer based. My four cars also doesnt fit inside the garage, but we dont have to tell anyone that.
If you had to choose between the camera, the sewing machine and the computer. Which would you choose?
Sewing Machines without a doubt. I am dreaming of a future where I am less connected, less available and more in-tune with myself and life. Sewing jeans on machines from 1910-1950’s gives you a whole vibe when you hear them hum. It won’t happen today or tomorrow but one day Sewing will be my every day and I cannot wait.
Tell us about your favorite go-to dish?
Pasta Bolognese, its the one dish that I could never have enough of. I think that I have perfected it.
Finally, tell us about a project that you are working on right now?
A design project I am working on warms my heart currently. I designed a tequila brand and products in 2020, we are now working on the Mezcal product and I truly am enjoying the process of going down to Mexico and talk to locals and vendors about what makes Mezcal special, to them. I am hoping the final product will show this passion that it takes to develop a bottle concept like this. We are making it in a traditional ceramic process as well. A personal project I am also working on are cowboy boots. It is in the very early stages so I don’t have much to say about it currently, but I am very excited to get these boots made, first sample arrives end of February.