2014 50 Most Beautiful

Benjamin Paulsen
Benjamin Paulsen
Hometown: 
Mazon, Ill.
Age: 
24
Relationship Status: 
In a relationship
Party Affiliation: 
Democratic

Benjamin Paulsen was hoping this wouldn’t come up.

“I was trying to avoid this topic,” Paulsen, staff assistant for Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), said with a laugh when asked about his four-year stint as a fashion model.

Paulsen said he participated in about “20 to 30” runway shows, offering him the opportunity to travel to locales such as Milan. He says the modeling helped pay for books and tuition during college at Northeastern Illinois University.

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“It just sort of happened,” says Paulsen, who was approached by a recruiter in Chicago to model. “I never had major projects, nothing like a big campaign. But it was fun.”

Paulsen didn’t want to continue modeling after graduating from college, but enjoyed the chance to travel and the excitement of fashion shows.

“They’re fun because a fashion show has bright lights and music, and you’re usually in a really cool venue,” Paulsen says.

Paulsen’s philosophy on personal health is primarily just staying active. In his spare time, he enjoys playing volleyball, basketball, making his own wine and competitive karaoke at Policy on 14th Street NW.

Paulsen’s favorite recent karaoke theme night with his eight-member team was “Songs your Dad likes,” when he performed a solo of Queen’s “Don’t stop me now.” 

“It’s more about the community and hanging out with friends than going out there and showing everyone I can sing, which I can’t,” Paulsen says. 

Making merlot and pinot noir has become a new hobby for Paulsen, who was inspired after a trip to Napa this past January.

“What I like to say is that it’s a grown-up science project,” Paulsen says. “I grew up kind of doing these experiments, and now I get to do one for fun that’s adult and gets results.”

Paulsen estimates he has about 60 bottles currently aging in his closet. He plans on hosting a dinner party when the first batch of wine is ready in September.

“We’re going to have a little wine tasting. Just like Napa,” Paulsen joked.

— Cristina Marcos