Tell Me More: Denisse Benitez

No this is not her daughter – she’s the part-time nanny to little Seef.


I must admit that all the women in my life are either warriors, unicorns or just simply amazing human beings! This is not a coincidence, the Aries in me ( yes, I believe every word of my sign – but you already knew that! lol) – likes to be surrounded by women badasses. Today, I’m featuring a person who is literally all of the above. Denisse..AKA Thugnanny is one of those women you meet for coffee and want to sit with for hours upon hours talking about the different ways us women can rule the world. She’s a feminist that is always fighting for what is right and not scared to voice her opinion on social media and her digital magazine – yes, she’s ALSO Editor in Chief of Hustle Mag – I know, I know, pretty amazing! Oh and she’s also the genius photographer behind a lot of my incredible photos! So incredibly happy to share her amazingness with you all!

1. What’s an average day like for you? 

Think of the most psychotic day you’ve ever had and multiply it by 17. That is an average day for me. Haha, maybe. In reality, an average day for me consists of waking up around 7AM. I make some tea (I’ve been trying to stay away from the crack that is coffee), and I answer e-mails or I edit. A few times a week I’ll have back to back shoots so I’m working for myself for the majority of the morning and the early afternoon. In the afternoon until the evening I am an actual nanny in Nyack NY.  Then I come home and edit. The most average!

2. Three words that describe you?

Magical. Independent. Driven.

3. Do you have a specific cause/philanthropy you advocate for and care about?

One of the causes that will always be close to my heart is the fight against Human Trafficking. I’ve worked with victims of HT alongside fantastic organizations that really invest into breaking down this awful thing that happens everywhere. Even in the places we least expect it. For example, did you know that during the great American Football Super Bowl, hundreds and maybe even thousands of women (sometimes even children and young boys) are trafficked. Right in our backyard. Crazy right?

4. Can you tell me what challenges you think ambitious and career driven women face today?

Aside from the fact that we are STILL getting paid about 80 cents to the musty male dollar, it’s really hard being a woman in most industries. You’ve got to work harder, faster and smarter in order to prove that you are capable of doing your job. Because apparently it isn’t enough to qualify and be hired for the job. You’ve also got to work to prove that your fragile lady brain doesn’t go all Men in Black after your cycle every month [insert dramatic Rihanna eye roll here]. Depending on your culture, if you’re driven, it may be considered a hindrance. How on earth will you find a husband, keep him AND raise a family if you have a job? There’s also the dual job thing. Sort of like what I mentioned above. Women always have two jobs minimum. The job they are unfairly paid to do, and the job of making sure you know they deserve the first job.

5. In a different lifetime you would have been a…?

A college professor.

6. Describe your fashion style?

I like to think my style is a combination of mom who is late for pickup and quarter life crisis instagram model. I wear whatever is comfortable. Sometimes it happens to look great. Other times I look like I have 3 children who are hiding under the table with yesterdays spaghetti in their hair. Balance.

7. Most inspiring book you’ve read?

YEAR OF YES BY SHONDA MOTHER F’N RHIMES. That is my bible. That book changed my life. I belong to the church of Thursday night (Shonda has 3 shows playing on ABC Thursday night). This book is seriously such a fantastic and inspiring read. It really hits home.  It’s also mind blowing to see an independent, driven, bad ass woman of colour shatter glass ceilings like she constantly does. If you haven’t read this book, stop reading this interview and go get it right now. Just kidding. Do it after the interview.

8. Best meal you’ve ever had?

I’ve been to a katrillion restaurants and I just love food, but as sappy as this sounds, my guy made me the BEST pancakes from scratch on Thanksgiving last year. I’m not a fan of pancakes or sweets or syrup, but they were seriously so good and it was such a joyful meal. Food should bring you joy. If it does, then that should be your favorite.

9. What’s your favorite city?

So I basically live on an airplane now. I’ve been to a few amazing cities, but my favorite is Cartagena, Colombia. The people. THE FOOD!! The city itself is full of so much beauty, life and culture. I am in love with Cartagena.

10. Best piece of advice you’ve ever received. 

“Stay big picture.” As a passionate person, I tend to overanalyze the little things, oftentimes causing me to miss the bigger picture. This little gem reminds me to pull back and remind myself why I’m doing whatever I’m doing. Sometimes we need to recalibrate our passion.

11. What would you tell your younger self…

Chill out. Be patient. Eat dairy before you get older and allergic. “No” is a complete sentence. You grow up to be a unicorn. All of that.

*****Check out Denisse’s photography and Hustle Mag! You will love it!!



  1. Kathleen Pagan
    May 24, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Love, love love!!! You guys are both amazing and I’m so happy I get to say I know you! xoxo

  2. Samapti Taylor
    May 24, 2017 / 11:08 am

    haha she had me cracking up- and she has amazing pics!!! great interview!

  3. Danielle
    May 24, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    Great post! Very inspiring and I love her sense of humor!!

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