Life Of Leisure
Christian Bendek
By Jeremy Joven
Published Jun 2015
Many of us need to make time for R & R. In the U.S. most jobs do not even come with vacation days, you have to work hard for a period of time to accumulate paid vacation days. When we do have them, we’re often caught up with a laundry list of activities accumulated over the months slaving away behind a desk daydreaming of a leisurely life—we often can’t make a decision on what to do. Of course the go-to for a huge majority of the world’s leisure seekers is a beach destination. Thousands of dollars later, you’re there. Drunk off rum and ready to let loose and enjoy some rays, trying hard not to reply to work emails. “It’s the life,” you’d say to your vacation partner. “We have it made!” You’re so wrong. You only get a taste. Your vacay is nothing compared to the life of the self-proclaimed Caribbean King. Christian Bendek, born on the island of Margarita, lives a life unlike most of us will ever live. He’s of no royal blood (At least none we have been able to trace from his Spanish and Palestinian descent, though if you just look back far enough any of us must be linked to some kings of kings and Pharaohs of another time.) He’s claimed the title Caribbean King because—Instagram. With 85k+ followers and growing, a library of images of pristine beaches, and as a chameleon in wearing swimsuits of any kind ever made (photos with Chris are hard to avoid when you look up Aruba on Google), so far there is no one contesting that he is the Caribbean King—a King of Leisure. His days begin with a stroll along the pristine sands of Eagle Beach drinking coconut water, followed by a little nosh, before he tends to his duties as the Brand Ambassador at the nearby Renaissance Hotel. Coincidentally, that’s where the private beach is where flamingos frequent, and he “works” by working on his tan, scheduling photo shoots and changing swim attire in the warm Caribbean breeze. As the sun sets over the emerald/turquoise waters the party continues. All in a day’s hard work. Sleep and repeat! BEACH, FLAMINGOS, & SWIMSHORTS There are millions of people living in coastal cities where white sand beaches and corals abound all over the world, but only a few have made a living of being leisurely. Chris didn’t start off as an actor or model, although his good looks may suggest otherwise. He, like most Instagramers, just posted what they felt was a beautiful reflection of their lives. It just so happened that he lived in one of the world’s most beautiful islands, looked great in speedos, and to boot, flamingos are a daily occurrence in his world—not like the sad plastic ones we’d find at trailer parks all across America. After a few years of posting what he loved, and accumulating thousands upon thousands of likes over time, brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Renaissance Hotels, and countless swimwear makers approached him to become a brand ambassador—sharing, wearing, and promoting products that speak to a world of sandy-beach dreaming fanatics. Just imagine it, getting merch from your favorite brands, mailed to you to wear. Show off that “instafamous” green, and bam! You’ll receive marketing checks in the mail. Yes, it all sound glorious. Even, a little too simple. But the truth is, it takes more than good looks to pull off the life of a Brand Ambassador. It is hard work, keeping up and constantly producing fresh content for your followers to drool upon. You always have to be in the mood to pose, meet an overwhelming amount of strangers, and attend lavish parties while putting your best foot forward at all times. Being a tastemaker even requires an obscene amount of browsing to view what is trending and what isn’t. Luckily for Christian Bendek, his consistent paradise background provides the best photography studio in the world, and consequently he is admired the world over. What makes his blog and social media presence a success is its cohesive message of an enviable escape that we dream and he lives. As a fan, a viewer, or a critic, much of his imagery shows a pattern of respite from day-to-day real world struggles. It keeps you working so you can get that paid vacation. A little eye candy never hurts. Another admirable brilliance of the “Caribbean King” is that he does not fake his interest in his endorsements. He adores all his followers, and is a true ambassador for the Caribbean way of life, which has a lot to do with doing “nothing.” When asked what leisure means to him, Christian shared, “Leisure is going to the beach with your friends, laughing and doing nothing, or playing music, jumping and playing with waves in the shore. Leisure is relaxing in the pool at the Renaissance or feeding the flamingos and making a few snapchat captures to share with your friends. It is drinks at night on a Monday, shopping online for new swimwear, browsing your favorite Tumblr blogs in a hammock, jumping from a cliff into turquoise waters, having all the fruit you want dipped in chocolate, laughing browsing funny vines with your girlfriend or boyfriend at sunset.” I think I’ve sufficiently made everyone hate their lives. Fear not, you too can have a leisurely life. Of course you may have to live in a beautiful island or some unreachable deep and magical forest that is compelling enough to make everyone jealous. However, a life of leisure does not require flamingos or a treasure chest of speedos. It can happen anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. As long as you’re having a good time. Read our Q & A with Christian Bendek at tnamag.com Visit his blog at ChristianBendek.com Photos provided by Caribbean King
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