Gay Times August 12 - Issue 409
As missions go, Ben Cohen is making the impossible, possible.
It’s been a year since GT last met the 33-year-old, 6ft 2ins, 16 stone hunk as he began his post-England rugby career as the posterboy for anti-homophobia and bullying.
In the last 12 months, his work with the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation has seen him travel America and Europe promoting their work and enlisted the support of everyone from sportsmen to pop stars and even Royalty.
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Now he’s teamed up with Bluebuck to launch his first range of underwear, with the profits going towards his Foundation.
“I think that the most important thing about it is that I’m straight and promoting a foundation that’s anti-homophobia,” explains Ben. “I’m bridging the gap between gay and straight. And I think straight people are more likely to listen when they see me breaking down stereotypes.”
So this is a chance for us to finally get into your pants, Ben…
Exactly! I don’t mind that, but it’s as far as I’ll let you go.
Did you help design them or just give them your seal of approval?
A bit of both really. We liked what we saw and it was a good brand to be a part of. There are three different types in the range – a short, a brief and a boxer short, all in blue or white. Bluebuck has a fantastic reputation. They’re selling really, really well and we wanted to be part of a quality product. And by doing that, it raises money for the Foundation.
What’s your preference for keeping the Cohen crown jewels in place?
When I’m playing sports, I wear briefs but the rest of the time, I’m a boxer shorts man myself. When I was playing rugby though, I had big legs so it was easier to wear boxer shorts so they weren’t rubbing in between my legs.
Do you get self-conscious stripping off for photoshoots?
Not really, no, I’m pretty used to it now. I’m not a self-conscious guy; I don’t really care what I look like. There’s nothing I’d really change about my appearance if I could. Despite the rugby, I’ve still got normal ears and a pretty straight nose. I am what I am and it’s served me pretty well so far. My body has helped me become a successful rugby player and I’m in pretty good health.
How vain are you?
I’m not a vain person at all. A haircut and a shave are about the furthest I go. I’ve never waxed my chest although I do use the clippers on it because my kids keep trying to pull it out. Plus there might be a national gay outcry if I waxed my chest! And I wouldn’t want to go through the pain of it.
Do you have to be confident about the size of your package to do an underwear shoot?
No, that’s what Photoshop is for!
You look incredible in these pictures – are you always at the gym?
I have to make sure I try and stay in shape but it’s difficult when you’re working and travelling so much. When you’re playing rugby it’s easier because you’re training so often and you automatically stay in shape. So when you stop playing, you have to push yourself. I still run a few miles a day and do weights. But for this shoot, I had to train pretty hard for months.
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Words: John Marrs