VINNIE WEARS THE CHANCE TRENCHCOAT, HUNTINGTON SHIRT & FLORIDA JEAN
Vinnie Bennett on the past, present and future. Questions by Sophie Findlay. Photographs by Marissa Findlay.
What is your earliest memory? When I was about 3 years old I was riding my trike across my grandmas porch and tumbled down a flight of stairs (trike and all) right intoher cactus garden. I don’t remember the fall itself but I vividly remember my mum and grandma pulling prickles outta me as I sobbed for thefollowing hour or two. Lol.
What do you love most about your craft? For me, it’s in the making of the characters. Being there on set is fun, of course. But what I love most about acting is observing humanbehaviour. Sometimes I would arrive at the airport 3 hours before a flight just to sit in the arrivals lounge and watch all the peoplelathered in patience, nervousness, excitement as they awaited their loved ones. I’d watch the faces of those who’d arrive and the raw joy in theireyes as they’d finally spot loved ones waiting for them. 9 times outta 10 I’d end up getting quite emotional myself and have to leave, as if Ihadn’t probably looked creepy enough already. But being able to do borderline weird, borderline wholesome things like that can only ever bebeneficial for my craft and that’s easily what I love the most.
Who inspires you? My family. I’m the eldest of 7 so being able to see all my younger siblings and cousins grow into themselves and navigate their own passionsinspires me each and every day without failure.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
Oooh, there are many! Donald Glover being one. I think he’s an absolute master at putting a fresh spin on life’s simplicities with such a subtle yet powerful way. There’s a lot of expositional, “on the nose” storytelling these days and I think Mr. Glover has nailed his ability to usher in important themes that are enriched with social commentary while still trusting that his audience is smart enough to figure it out for themselves.
VINNIE WEARS THE ELECTRONIC JACKET. L/S OVERSIZE SHIRT AND GENE TROUSER
How important is clothing to creating the characters you portray?
SO important! It’s amazing how dressing/looking the part for a particular role can help in actually feeling the part—all the way down to the mannerisms and I think that applies to everyone (actor or not). A man who puts on a suit is almost guaranteed to move differently than if he was wearing jeans and t-shirt.
What does style mean to you? Style to me is the expression of one’s true self. I personally don’t follow trends with clothing, I just wear what I like and to me that’s the epitome of style. It’s an art form. We have so much freedom as humans to choose how we uniquely display ourselves to the world and catering to our own individual desire to express ourselves through means of style is what colours the world in so many beautiful ways. What's your most treasured item of clothing? My uncle recently sent me one of my grandfather's old party shirts from the 80’s. It’s a very “loud” shirt with about 50 different colours splashed all over it so I don’t know what kind of occasion I’d throw it on for but it’s very special to me and I feel very lucky to have it.
VINNIE WEARS THE WARMUP HOODIE AND JOGGER TRACKS
Tell us about your boy Puku. Mr. Puku—the craziest, neediest, loveliest soul I’ve ever had in my life. There’s something special about that dog. I feel like he leaves aprofound effect on everyone he meets. He’s turning 2 this year and I genuinely feel like he’s gonna have more guests at his birthday party thanmine. And deservedly so. He’s the best.
“I just woke up in the morning and the hills was kinda foggy Come get these demons off me I've been 'round the world and back again I ran from life, came back again Thank God we have a Walgreens” - Terry Presume
VINNIE WEARS THE L/S OVERSIZE SHIRT
What are you reading/watching/listening to? Watching Atlanta (best show ever). Listening to Jai Paul and reading a mix of scripts and utter nonsense on social media.
What makes you smile? Seeing old couples who are still so madly and happily in love with each other. Impossible not to smile at.
What do you dream of? Land Back :)
What are you really proud of? My mother and grandma. The amount of adversity those women have overcome with such angelic grace in their lifetime while still being able togive me and my siblings all the love, support and care we needed keeps me in a state of absolute awe of them both, always.
VINNIE WEARS THE ELECTRONIC JACKET, SLINKY TOP & GENE TROUSER
Tell us something you think we should know about. I think everyone (in Aotearoa especially) should know about the New Zealand Wars that erupted after the signing of Te Tiriti. It was a brutal anddefining moment of our history for both Māori and Pakeha that was practically swept under the rug until fairly recently. What made you say yes to shooting with Zambesi? I’m still very much a spring chicken to the fashion world but have always admired Zambesi for their ability to create world class high fashion from all the way down here in little old Aotearoa. I love representing my home whenever I’m out there in the world so I gladly jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Zambesi.
What three words would you use to describe Zambesi? Fresh To Death!
What’s next for you? I had the absolute honour of starring in ‘Whina’ (coming out June 23)—a biopic about the mother of our nation, Dame Whina Cooper which has been one of my most treasured experiences as a performer thus far. I’m thrilled such a monumental kaupapa will be finally told on the big screen and I truly can’t wait for the world to see, hear and feel her story.