Enid O’Brien:
Thank you so much for taking the time to be our first Hamptons Moms interview and right after the New York Times, I’m honored

Sasha Benz:
No worries, glad to be a part of it. Should we sit down here?

Enid O’Brien:
Yes here’s great. So what brought you to New York, have you been in Montauk the whole time?

Sasha Benz:
We moved to NYC about 9 years ago I worked in the fashion industry back in Australia 🇦🇺 doing styling and came to NYC for fashion week and fell in love with the city and knew i had to be here. I spent about ayear getting my visa and getting situated. It was really hard though the industry is really hard to get into if you don’t know anyone.

Sasha Benz:
…Hustling trying to make our way in the craziness of the city. I thought my job would translate but it didn’t really. It is really difficult to get work in New York, even though i’d been working in the industry for years. If you don’t know anyone in the city or no one knows who you are, you are not going to get anywhere. So we spent about three or four years trying to really find our place, and after awhile I was just like we really got to get out and get to a town that’s got waves and surfers, at least leave for the weekend. Oli was like, I’ve heard about this town all the way down east, we used to go to Jersey and we knew it wasn’t the spot for us. We went all the way down East and found Montauk. Oli started coming here to surf, and every time we came here we thought, this is a cool town, this is really rad. No one really told us about Montauk and I guess it was not really on the map at that point.

Enid O’Brien
Is your husband Australian as well?

Sasha Benz:
He’s Australian.

Enid O’Brien
Did you meet him in Australia or did you meet him in New York?

Sasha Benz:
In Australia, so we have been together for 12 years. He’s from a really small surf town so I was a city girl in Sydney and we met there. We were coming here quite frequently and he was into music at that point, dj-ing here and there.

Enid O’Brien:
He came here to model, did you guys come to New York together?

Sasha Benz:
I came to New York, and after a year,I was like you are either coming or you’re not. He was modelling at the time and he was like I need some consistent money so he started DJing and doing music and while he was out here he was like I heard of this really cool spot called the Surf Lodge, however we couldn’t even get in the first time we went there!

Enid O’Brien:
Yeah, I mean it’s no joke.

 Sasha Benz:
Yeah it’s no joke. I remember we thought “what is this place?” but we shrugged it off – years later he found his way in and he started getting more consistent gigs here.

Enid O’Brien:
I used to get in pregnant to the surf lodge which used to make everybody upset.

Sasha Benz:
Then when waiting in line for the bathroom I used to use the pregnancy card even when I wasn’t pregnant “I’m pregnant, I got to jump in line!” We realized very quickly this is where we are meant to be but it was just a holiday spot. After a while we realized that New York was too much of a city for us, it was too crazy and too busy. So we thought, ok maybe LA is a good option, so we packed up and moved to LA and the week that we were packed and everything was in boxes, the owner of Surf Lodge messaged me and said “let’s go for a drink I want to say goodbye” and when we met she was like you are not going to LA, you are coming to Montauk and she laid it all out and I was like, let’s do it! Now it’s four years later, two kids, a house. We live here now.

Enid O’Brien:
This is your spot.

Sasha Benz:
This is our home. We bought a house 6 months ago, but we are not here all year round.

Enid O’Brien:
Congratulations, that’s amazing.

Sasha Benz:
Thank you! I mean, this is home now, the first year was a little crazy, we lived in a shoebox on the side of the Surf Lodge and people would come in, use the bathrooms, drink, do everything else and that was our life. We lived in like this small room and every year I think we’ve gotten a little bit further along the life track, so at least we know we are going up.

Enid O’Brien:
Who makes your earrings, they are so amazing!

Sasha Benz:
A really good friend of mine who is a blogger gave them to me because I saw her wearing them. I’ll find out. They are cool right?

Enid O’Brien:
They are really cool and so colorful too! So tell me more about the transition of mom life to work life. So what changed and what did it change?

Sasha Benz:
The first year was the most complicated, for sure.

Enid O’Brien:
How did you feel, I know that personally I feel like one side is suffering, like I feel like I am really killing it work wise one week and then my kids are like, “ahh!”

Sasha Benz:
I feel the opposite. For me, I feel like as soon as I had kids I started doing everything like, 80% on both ends, and I am used to giving it 100%. So that was the biggest compromise. I felt like both were suffering just a little.

Enid O’Brien:
Right.

Sasha Benz:
I think I got some really good advice recently. When I first had Rhythm, I think I was like blacked out for 6 months, I don’t remember how I got through.

Enid O’Brien:
It’s called mommy brain and that shit is real!

Sasha Benz:
I don’t remember it but I took on a lot of extra work, we didn’t really have help. I didn’t have any family here and the friends that are here are party people. They are not family or friends.

Enid O’Brien:
And even if they want to watch your kids, you want them alive when you get home!

Sasha Benz:
Exactly. So I had my hands behind my back for the first year, we had help just in the hours that I was out and working. I also didn’t have a good system. I didn’t have anything at that point, it took me a year to figure out how to layer my calendars and alert myself before meetings. That first year was the toughest and I really felt as if I were failing because before that I was on my own and giving it 400% and made big changes, it was really noticeable what I did and then suddenly I had a baby and I felt like people were giving me slack because I had a baby and that stressed me out even more. I was like i’m not handicapped, don’t give me a “you’re okay that you didn’t do that” and that really stressed me out a lot. The next year I really figured out where I needed to fill the gaps, where I needed the help, where I needed to tell my mom to come in during a certain time of year and that made a really big difference. Now, I think I got it. I’m pretty sure I do. I’ve got a really good team around me, I’ve figured out what matters and what doesn’t. Something that my dad told me which really stuck with me is to be present in the moment that you are in. So if you are working, work. Close the door and be working.

Enid O’Brien:
My six year old, he reminds me of that all the time. He’s like, “mommy you really need to be more mindful”

Sasha Benz:
I have a video, which I would love to send to you because it makes me cry every time I watch it. It was this guy talking about his amazing career and he was making all this money for his family and his wife said to him- he is divorced now- you give everyone the best of you and we get the rest of you and I am sick of having the leftovers.

Enid O’Brien:
Wow.

Sasha Benz:
The whole talk was really really powerful.

Enid O’Brien:
Please send that to me.

Sasha Benz:
There is things there that really stuck with me and I still keep going back to it. You know, when you are with your kids, put your phone down and focus on what they are saying. You rather give everything the right attention.

Enid O’Brien:
Right, rather than 80% everything, 100% of everything at the moment that you are doing it.

Sasha Benz:
Right, and you’ve got to stop sweating the small stuff. Things aren’t perfect, you have got to let it go, you are the only one who is going to notice. Then, I guess, just trying to find more me time, that is the only thing that I am working on.

Enid O’Brien:
Exactly. How old are your children? Tell me more about them.

Sasha Benz:
Rhythm is two. He turned two in April. The terrible twos is legit a thing!

Enid O’Brien:
Yes! Wait until three!

Sasha Benz:
Someone said that to me!

Enid O’Brien:
That is why they call it the terrible twos, because three is worse but four is so much better.

Sasha Benz:
Right, ok, so thank you for that. Baybi is four months yesterday.

Enid O’Brien:
Oh my gosh, congrats!

Sasha Benz:
She’s something else. Maybe because I was in my blackout period that I don’t remember it.

Enid O’Brien:
Development is so insane!

Sasha Benz:
She flutters her lashes.

Enid O’Brien:
Oh yeah. I should have brought Logan, she shuts it down, I cannot.

Sasha Benz:
For some reason, I am finding her really easy. I am breastfeeding full time which I thought would be a lot harder. I was like, I can’t, I’m working, how can I breastfeed. That was a real myth, I was really stressed about breastfeeding and I supplemented and I think that was my biggest regret because the formula thing is like, much harder.

Enid O’Brien:
Right, it’s more of a pain. For travelling it’s not always available.

Sasha Benz:
When I go to the beach I grab a diaper then we are good. I am really enjoying her, and both of them. He’s really good with her. They’re life right now.

Enid O’Brien:
Awesome. So I have to ask this question, are you going to have more children?

Sasha Benz:
Absolutely. After like two weeks, i’m like more and my husband went green in the face! But, we like the idea of a full house. So right now we have got the nanny staying with us, plus also my assistant. Neither are full time but they are staying with us at the house. Everyone’s like, doesn’t it stress you out to have this crazy full house and I’m like no, I love it. I love the company.

Enid O’Brien:
It’s like a tribe.

Sasha Benz:
Yeah! For us, it’s more the merrier. I think I would go for four maybe, if I make a little bit more money!

Enid O’Brien:
Yeah, I feel like that is the part that stresses me. I want to give them the best of the best!

Sasha Benz:
If you have four, you need, like, an extra car. My sister has got three under five and she hasn’t come to Montauk yet. I’ve always said to her, don’t come, its crazy you are in Australia. But you know, I’ve got a baby now and a house and shes like, I need to come, I gotta see where you live, its nuts. So she is coming now and it’s been like a three month planning operation for her and it’s about a week out and shes like talking to me about the car and sends me the link of the car and i’m like you are driving a school bus. She’s like, I have a school.

Enid O’Brien:
Yeah, its true. I just upgraded, I got rid of my Range Rover and I have an Infinity UX80, which is a bus.

Sasha Benz:
She said to me, is a suburban too big?

Enid O’Brien:
Tell her to look into the UX80.

Sasha Benz:
She is going to have all her luggage, which is like seven cases.

Enid O’Brien:
Then the Suburban or an Escalade. I had to get rid of my Range Rover and it took the longest time. I just have to have three kids now for a long time, it is what it is. Yeah, it’s hard.

Sasha Benz:
Four would change the whole dynamic. I’m happy with three nicely spaced and then I would go whoopsidaisies 10 years later!

Enid O’Brien:
Totally! Everybody is like well you said never say never!

Sasha Benz:
I’m down with that. My mom has three and then like a 10 year gap and now they are amazing and they have got this really good space between all of them and it’s kind of like the younger, cool brother. So yeah, i’m down with that.

Enid O’Brien:
Will you let your kids be around the Surf Lodge?

Sasha Benz:
Yeah! Its funny you say that, so the Surf Lodge has two sides to it that a lot people don’t see. So there’s the crazy, ridiculous side, I don’t even know why people still come, its nuts! Then, there is like a really nice family side. So on Wednesday’s, I don’t know if you have ever come on a Wednesday, Nancy Atlas plays. This Wednesday there was a jumping castle, face painting, and there were kids everywhere! It was really cool and there’s music and you go from like six to ten and that’s the best night I ever had. Then on Sunday, it’s a bit more quiet. I took Rhythm there and he’s kind of at that age now where I can take him anywhere and he literally stood next to Oli while he was DJing and danced and was on the dance floor.

Enid O’Brien:
My son thinks he is a DJ!

Sasha Benz:
We are putting an event on in two weeks where they are doing kids DJ classes.

Enid O’Brien:
Seriously? I want to take Brady, he will bug out!

Sasha Benz:
Remind me I will send you an email.

Enid O’Brien:
So he chooses his outfits in the mornings based on would a DJ wear this, yes or no? If the answer is no, there is no chance he is putting it on. So he is like, “mom, the question we need to ask ourselves right now is would a DJ wear this?” I’m like, where are you getting this from!

Sasha Benz:
He can hang out with Oli.

Enid O’Brien:
So, Moses, like Apple and Moses Paltrow taught my son how to Skateboard two summers ago.

Sasha Benz:
Have you become more strategic with pushing your kids to become friends with the famous kids?

Enid O’Brien:
No, definitely not. I let it all happen as it’s going to happen. Yeah, I don’t have play dates with the Paltrow’s, that’s like the dream!

Sasha Benz:
We were at a friends house and Justin Timberlake and Jessica were there and I was like Rhythm, go make friends!

Enid O’Brien:
For some reason my kids are cooler than I am. We were in Nantucket and Logan was BFF with Drew Barrymore’s kid Frankie. So yeah, my kids know who to talk to.

Sasha Benz:
Yeah, I get that. I think my kids are going to be a lot cooler than us. I also think the way that we planned it out and the names that we gave them, they are not going to be able to do conventional jobs. It’s not going to be Rhythm the accountant! He’s not going to go down that route! I think we have given him like a little bit of a pigeon hole career.

Enid O’Brien:
Right! You have narrowed down his job search a little bit!

Sasha Benz
Or at least their dad is going to hire them!

Enid O’Brien:
I feel like Brady would want to be called rhythm. But with a name like O’ Brien I had to keep it somewhat in the simple.

Sasha Benz:
Everyone’s like “you have a really cool last name!” That was the first thing I thought about when I met Oli. I could be Mrs. Benz! That’s really fucking cool!

Enid O’Brien:
You just went up in the ranks! It’s a very cool last name.

Sasha Benz:
A friend of mine is Mrs. Angel.

Enid O’Brien:
That’s really good! Anything else you want moms to know? Working moms to know? Something you think that could prepare another mom or any words of wisdom.

Sasha Benz:
I definitely don’t think I have figured it out. But, having a really good support team is the biggest thing. Making sure it’s not just people who can help you, but who can also help reinforce you when times are tough and making sure you are doing the right thing. That’s when things can go pear shaped if you don’t feel confident that you are doing the right thing, you are not going to inject the right energy into it. Even now, I always think about it, taking on another project for me when I took on Cinq I was like, is this a bad mom move?

Enid O’Brien:
Yeah, so tell me about Cinq.

Sasha Benz:
The first thing is that I thought about it and was like, if I am going to take this on am I going to be any good to my kids or am I doing the right thing.

Enid O’Brien:
Danielle was just telling me I am doing too much. She was like, you are late to everything, you have too much on your plate, but that is how I operate.

Sasha Benz:
I remember my parents, they are young parents, I would hang out with them all the time, we would go on Holidays with them. They were fun and they did the reverse; they married really young and busted their asses off their first 10 years and now they are living life.

Enid O’Brien:
My parents did the reverse. They travelled and everything, then had me. But they are like the youngest eighty year olds, if that makes any sense.

Sasha Benz:
My parents, I would prefer to party with them, my friends would prefer to party with them. We would sometimes come home when we are staying at their house and I was like dammit they are still out! How did we get here before them! I thought about it, I don’t remember my dad working all the time. I was young, and my mom was there and that’s when you are growing up. Now I remember they gave us a great life, we would travel with them, and I think about it, taking on another project, it might inhibit my time with them in these early years. I want to be able to travel with them and go on great trips with them. I think the idea to work really hard now while they are young is probably the better move.

Enid O’Brien:
Also, like, what do you really remember about being four, five? Like you were a number but you don’t remember all of it.

Sasha Benz:
Exactly. The parents remember. So as long as I give myself enough time to remember my kids growing up and remember doing stuff. Anyways, going back to it, taking on Cinq was a big scare for me.

Enid O’Brien:
So it’s basically a way to share contacts?

Sasha Benz:
No, you go to your contact book. You put in someones number and share and you automatically get their entire card which has everything on it, where they work, where they currently are, their websites, whatever they decide to put in their card. Or tags, if you type in Surf Lodge or Oli, you can find me and my travel dates and it will tell me if we overlap. If we are in Miami at the same time in November you can be like, hey we are going to be in Miami, let’s grab a drink! You know? So it let’s you manage your contacts very well.

Enid O’Brien:
That’s amazing!

Sasha Benz:
So my contact book is done in the order you last met. So if I meet someone the night before, they are going to be at the top. If you have ever been out one night and said “dammit I met someone last night, what was their name?”

Enid O’Brien:
I know when I’ve been drinking based on what’s in their contact.

Sasha Benz:
Exactly. So you get everyone’s card. You can introduce your contacts to each other, it’s like a virtual business card that is an up to date contact book. It says your current city, your travel **word i can’t hear**

Enid O’Brien:
So its an app? I can download it?

Sasha Benz:
Its an app, you get everyone’s activity when they change information at your request. Right now we are working on the idea of communities, where you can have a leader of a community on board of the entire team. So you can have a mothers group and you can be a part of that and you can find all of the people in your mothers group, instead of going, “hey could I get everyone’s number?” You can find them, add them, and they will now be a part of your contact book.

Enid O’Brien:
Like to create little pods for closer people.

Sasha Benz:
Exactly. That’s probably something big we are working on for next year. There are really big companies that want to take it to the next level to use it for conferences, religious groups, or like, you know, trade shows where people want to have something like we work from **can’t hear** or something like that **can’t hear** so that’s the biggest development we’ve been working on right now is onboarding big communities but its going really well. People are really loving it and loving using it and its growing really rapidly.

Enid O’Brien:
So I wanted to meet you before I did it but I will give you my feedback. I am going to start using it. I hate when people ask me for a business card.

Sasha Benz:
So I will add your number and you can do it this way, that is the best way to do it. You can also press bluetooth, and anyone in the area will pop up where you can add your old contacts, so all of your old contacts will come in so I can see someone already on Cinq that I didn’t realize was on Cinq, I can add them on Cinq. If you decide you don’t want them you can start organizing your contact book. So eventually I am going to have most of these deleted or add and that’s me organizing.

Enid O’Brien:
My contact book is so overwhelming, I don’t even know where I know people from!

Sasha Benz:
I have like four numbers for my husband and I’m like why do I have these numbers from you!

Enid O’Brien:
Same.

Sasha Benz:
So, this is hopefully going to be the future of your contact book. Right now it’s in my bottom *can’t hear word* once you get enough people on it, it should be down there and that’s what you go to.

Enid O’Brien:
Awesome!

 

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