While minimalism can sometimes translate to uninspiring, Ruby Benson's take on it is anything but. Her aesthetic is clean yet real. The palettes she gravitate towards are fresh but classic.
As a creative, her jobs coalesce - the result: a portfolio of creative direction, personal style, photography, and content creation. I first chatted with Ruby last summer, just as we were set to launch Collection One. She was so supportive and sweet and I've been wanting to connect with her further ever since. While at home, she was kind enough to answer some questions and of course, pick out some of her fave Neophyte pieces. Be sure to make it to the bottom to see Ruby's picks, and enjoy!
Photo via @ragsxruby
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: First of all - how are you?
RUBY BENSON: I’m good - taking it one day at a time! Grateful to be healthy, safe and quarantined with my best friend. Missing my family and friends - Some days are easier than others, but we’re all in this together.
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: You’re a content creator, creative director, and photographer. Can you walk us through your career path and talk about how each role sort of came about?
RUBY BENSON: I started creating digital content for social media in 2015 while I had a full time job as the Canadian brand manager of a Parisian fashion retailer AND an internship at Complex Magazine. I would arrange shoots with friends who were photographers. The first brand to pick up my content was Off-White in the beginning of 2016. I eventually left my job in early 2017 to pursue content creation full time. I’d relentlessly pitch my ideas (still do lol) until I started booking gigs with other big name brands. Over the past year I’ve realized that my true passion is being behind the camera directing and bringing my creative ideas to life. I started photography as a way to build my creative direction portfolio and it just kind of escalated from there. I’m not a technical wizard when it comes to photography but I have a good eye. Now I have a couple freelance photography clients and I creative consult and direct on contract basis for a couple of brands.
Photo via @ragsxruby
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Although we are a big city, Toronto often seems like it’s up-and-coming, especially in say fashion and creative industries. How do you find the creative scene here?
RUBY BENSON: I personally find the community very supportive since we are more tight knit than the other large creative cities. I think Toronto has a hard time because there is a stigma here that you can’t fully ‘make it’ if you stay here. A lot of our great creatives end up moving to New York and/or LA - which to be honest, I don’t blame them for (there’s more money there often), but if people keep leaving, Toronto will never hold its own.
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Although as we’re learning right now, we can’t plan anything, are there things you’re working towards career-wise right now? Things you’d like to achieve or do in say 5 or 10 years?
RUBY BENSON: Over the span of the next 5 years I want to focus on creative directing campaigns for brands in the fashion/beauty/wellness industries. I also have always wanted to direct a music video! In 10 years I’d love to be living at my house in the country with my partner. My dream is to have a nice little organic veggie farm with horses and some other rescue farm animals while still working on select creative campaigns and as a part time holistic nutritionist!
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: People often turn to you for creative and sartorial inspiration - who or what do you turn to get inspired or refuel?
RUBY BENSON: Thrifting, Tumblr (yes I know, so old school), 90s advertisements/magazines - I’m a HUGE Ralph Lauren fan (would love to work with them one day), movies, music, nature, art...
Ruby's photography via @ragsxruby
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: I love how vintage-centric your aesthetic is. Can you talk a little bit about why you turn to vintage? Is it the hunt? The sustainability aspect? The uniqueness of it?
RUBY BENSON: I fell in love with thrifting and all things vintage in university. During that time I was paying for school/rent/life myself so I had a job working retail. I loved the clothes in my store but at the time I couldn’t justify spending $300 on an outfit. I went to university in a (more rural-esque) city where there weren’t many options for shopping - pretty much every girl was shopping at the store I worked at. My friend and I started going to the local Value Village and Talize and found SO MANY GEMS there. I’d wear all my thrifted pieces to work and customers would always ask where my clothes were from - I became known for it. Customers actually started paying me to go source clothes for them at Value Village! Now I love thrifting as it’s a time machine into the past - I find so many great pieces that not everyone has/that aren’t available anymore. I am also trying to decrease my fashion footprint and either only buy timeless high quality pieces which I will own and love for years or buy thrifted!
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Besides fashion and beauty, you’re big on food! I know your followers turn to you as much for styling inspiration as healthy recipes. Is that something you’d be interested in pursuing on a more professional level or do you find that you want to keep that distinction and maybe even intrinsic pleasure aspect of it?
RUBY BENSON: When I have a little bit more free time I’m going to go back to school for holistic nutrition. A couple years ago I found out I have some health issues and have been very passionate about overall wellness through food and mindfulness ever since. I’m a BIG sweets fan and one of the things I had to cut out of my diet was refined sugar, so I love finding and sharing healthy treat/dessert alternatives!
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Another thing I love following you for is your interior design inspo that you share almost daily. Can you talk about how you got into design? Again, is it something you could see yourself pursuing or just something that fills up your “personal cup”?
RUBY BENSON: Ah thank you! I’ve always had a passion for houses (since I was about 8) - my parents always thought I would go into real estate or interior design/architecture. When I was 13 I would make my friend come to open houses around the neighbourhood with me just because I was curious to see how everyone decorated their homes (no joke). I also remember lying when I was 10 to my classmates that my house was featured in ‘House and Home’ magazine - it definitely was not. I don’t see myself ever pursuing anything like that professionally. I do however want to help design and build my own property out in the country with my partner one day!
Photo via @ragsxruby
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Let me round this off with some rapid fire questions, beginning with: if you could save five items out of your apartment what would they be?
RUBY BENSON: My cat Butters, family photo albums, my mum’s art, my sneakers and my vintage purse collection.
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: You’re what some might call a sneakerhead: what’s your holy grail pair?
RUBY BENSON: Yes, I am a big sneaker fan. I’ve gotten better and I don’t buy as many as I used to. I recently cleaned my collection down to 40 pairs which was a big deal for me. I just want to have classics from now on. My favourites would have to be my 2013 Jordan Chicago 1’s, any pair of New Balance 990 (V3/V4), Air Max 95 OG Neon, Converse One Stars, and Reebok Club C’s
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Some rules you’re abiding by whilst at home?
RUBY BENSON: Be kind to yourself, check in with loved ones, eat good food!
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: What are you a neophyte at?
RUBY BENSON: Dance! I started taking dance classes a year and a half ago. I’m still very beginner, but I’m slowly getting better. I fell in love with dance as it was a great way to stay active and also serves as a form of meditation for me. For the hour that i’m in the class I can’t check my phone and my thoughts are purely focused on getting the steps and the music (It’s like a nice little escape from reality). It keeps me sane!