"Hawaii" Mike // Follow
Ben Baller is someone I’ve known from the “industry” for a long time. It used to be a nod from across the room kind of thing, we would acknowledge each other but were never properly introduced. For the longest I never knew what he did, and for all I know, it was probably the same for him with me. Now from afar he looks like he could be the biggest asshole on the planet, no shot that goes for a lot of people I know and love, but when I finally met him I knew that wasn’t the case. In fact, he’s just like me, and a slew of my peers, confident and doesn’t really care too much about what you think, which can easily be misconstrued for asshole.
For those that know him it’s actually the opposite, he’s a genuine, respectable man that has worked hard to afford the things he wants. To those that don’t know him he comes of as brash, unapproachable, braggadocios especially now that he’s in the public eye more. But please remember, his name is Ben Baller not Ben Conservative, and he’s not you he’s him, a man leading his own life, he’s not hurting anyone, he’s not talking shit about your life, he’s doing him, and successfully at that.
With his new Ben Baller reality show, a look into his life as the jeweler to the stars, we’re sure the haters will be out more than ever so we wanted to chop it up with the man himself to get his perspective on the interesting world of comments dedicated to him.
BEING KOREAN AMERICAN AND BOUNCING AROUND SCHOOLS IN LA YOU MUST HAVE DEVELOPED THICK-SKIN DID YOU GET HATED ON AS A KID AS WELL?
Eh, honestly? There was zero creativity in the hate, it was just pure hatred. The same ole “ching-chong this, Benihana that, uncultured idiots never seen chopsticks before or sushi. But I’ve been hated on since kindergarten, when I started to go to school with rich kids, they were cultured but then hated me because I came from a poor family [SMH]. Growing up in the 80’s was crazy. I was always the only Asian around playing basketball, Breakdancing, doing Grafitti and all that. It always took some time for cats to get used to me, but for the most part they did.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET YOUR NICKNAME?
Assistant head coach in college gave it to me. The 2nd assistant coach worked at Kinko’s part-time, so he made me some business cards that said BEN YANG and underneath, it said “BALLER” like that was my profession. When I was finishing school, the Yang dropped and Baller stayed.
YOU’RE ALSO KNOWN FORE BEING A BIG SNEAKER COLLECTOR, RECORD FOR LARGEST SINGLE SNEAKER AUCTION ON EBAY, WERE OTHER COLLECTORS AND CONSUMERS HATING ON YOU FOR THAT?
Of course, I could be one of the most hated and loved at the same damn time in the sneaker community. The other sellers hated even though I opened a lane for them. To make them angrier, I’d sell a hot item for a good amount less because I had so many pairs of a supreme dunk or something crazy while, they were lucky to have 1 or 2 pairs. Some of these dudes are reselling mainly as a living! I did it as a hustle, but even with all that bread, I didn’t want to make it my livelihood. And consumers were mad because I copped so much stock of rare heat giving them no chance in paying retail for it.
YOU USE TO BE LOW KEY, WELL MAYBE CAUSE YOU WERE ALSO AROUND BEFORE THE INTERNET HYPE, BUT YOU’VE OPENED YOURSELF UP AND HAVE BEEN IN THE PUBLIC EYE A LOT AS OF LATE. WITH THAT COMES THE HATERS, WHICH YOU SEEM TO ACCUMULATE PRETTY QUICKLY, WHY DO YOU THINK THEY LOVE TO HATE YOU SO MUCH?
It’s because these people are so miserable with their lives. The thing that makes it worse is the economy is just getting better for some folks. It’s not 2008-2009 when those 2 years were the worst of my whole life pretty much. Even you said it best; nobody in our lives has experienced anything like that before. I got creative and got money, but these haters have their 9 to 5’s at the post office or Best Buy and want to be mad at me for driving a Bentley or R8. I wasn’t that low key though lol. I was flossing on niketalk heavy in the early 2000’s. But now, it’s the combination of new haters and old haters. The new haters are just pathetic; I could change them if I wanted to. Sometimes to make things worse I go in to Hypebeast and make their lives even shittier by replying to them. They get riled up and talk so much shit to get a response and when they do, deep inside it hurts even more. The crazy part is, if I say something falsely bad about myself (i.e. I lost a testicle when I was younger. FYI: I DIDN’T) 100% of the haters will believe that. But if I state the good things which are true none of them WANT to believe it even if they see the cars parked in front on a regular, or they see the jewels are real, etc. My thing is how long can something be rented for? I’m not the Silver Surfer who can just splash a wave instantly out of my hand when one wave is running out to catch the next. I work hard. The best is that I had a little background story about my business and how it started. And the haters think that I don’t own my business. I have said in the past that my uncle owned the original jewelry business and he did. He was on his way out though, but I never mentioned that part really. I founded this company, IFANDCO, with my cousins. One runs the business day to day and the other handles things I can’t and I do all the things they can’t and also serve as a concierge. My uncle hasn’t been involved in almost 5 years now.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE HATERS OF RECENT?
I honestly can’t say there is 1 or even 3 that I can remember. There was some guy who posted shit like his life was soo good, his parents were billionaires and things and I guess some kids figured out his twitter handle so he deleted it [LOL]. Found out that clown was talking about eating caviar on his dads yacht and owning a 50 million dollar penthouse on Central Park East when he was stalking Action Bronson to come to a pizza party in New Jersey at his small ass apartment. [SMH]
The craziest part of all of this is that when I meet these bozos who hide behind their computer screens and talk reckless all day long, they ask for a pic or ask if I can take a pic with their girls, etc. When I meet them the response is always LOVE and positivity. Again, the world is filled with miserable motherfuckers. My life is pretty great and it’s only getting better.
ed. note: Stay tuned for more with Ben Baller