CANADIANS WHO STANDOUT – BEN BONDAR (31/150)

It was the early 2000’s, the world had survived the impending doom of Y2K and I was entering Junior High. Growing up in Calgary and in this new Millennia, I wasn’t aware what the next decade held and the self discoveries that would follow.

It was a revolutionary time for sexuality- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy opened the doors and bridged the gap between the well-groomed homosexuals and introduced the metrosexual term to our vocabulary. Will and Grace normalized the lives of gay men and their vivacious friends. Watching these personalities made it easier for me to identify my feelings. I was gay and my parents would come to accept this in their own time.

Flash forward to my twenties, the fundamental time to learn who you are as a functioning member of society. Or so, this is what society expects of you. After years of partying, experience with failed relationships and armed with an ignorance to what my lifestyle was leading me to, I was quickly isolating myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Drugs and alcohol would become the longest relationship I was in. I found myself back in the metaphorical closet, leading a hollow existence and hiding this affair from my loved ones. Failing many sober attempts, I discovered I could not do this on my own. I entered rehab and am grateful to say I have embraced my sobriety with a strong support system and endearing love from my friends and family.

I ignored my love for fashion because I didn’t want to be labeled as a gay man in fashion (how stereotypical), even though from a young age, I dreamt of working in fashion. While working a technical troubleshooting job, I chose to ignore my fears and pursue this passion.

Since becoming a Fashion Stylist within Calgary, I have had the opportunity for my beautiful images to be published in multiple magazines. My personal shopping services teach me that I can help clients overcome their fears and judgments when it comes to their body and perspective about their image.

Persevering through the events in my life, I have witnessed that honesty, open-mindedness and willingness have led me to great opportunities. Not only am I able to be present for those dearest to me, I now can share in the experiences of my clients and the inspiring individuals I am lucky to come across in my life.

We have 119 SHOUT OUTS left, if you would like to share your story! This is to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday, so we want to do 150 shout outs on ordinary Canadians that have accomplished extraordinary things or have an extraordinary story. Your photo and shout out will be published with the other 149 Canadians in the July issue! Email us! creativemanager@standoutpublications.com or click HERE for our submission page.

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