Interview: Ben Cohen

Interview: Ben Cohen

You might not expect a rough and tough rugby player to be that into his daily moisturising regime. But then, Ben Cohen may have started his career in rugby union, representing his country for seven years (including a World Cup win in 2003), but he later hit the headlines among the fake tan and feather boas of Strictly Come Dancing, where he and partner Kristina Rihanoff made it through to week nine of the 2013 series. So it was perhaps not that much of a surprisethat Ben last month launched a malegrooming kit that is available exclusivelyon Jet2.com flights. The Ben Cohen Grooming Tools set, from Elegant Touch, costs £27 and includes tweezers, three-way nail buffer and nail pliers made from stainless steel with a wood-grain finish.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO LAUNCH A MALE GROOMING RANGE?
The next generation of guys is so up to date when it comes to looking after themselves, so when I was approached to do a male grooming range, it seemed like a natural progression. Strictly definitely helped.

ARE YOU A FREQUENT FLYER?
I qualified as a helicopter pilot in 2007, but that’s different. When it comes to long-haul flying, I was doing a lot back and forth from the US when I was setting up The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation (an anti-bullying foundation), all in economy – which, when you’re 6ft 3in, isn’t always that comfortable. So my best advice is to get on the plane and turn left. If you can’t get an upgrade, stay hydrated, and have a walk about when you’re flying long-haul.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A HOLIDAY?
I’ve got twin seven-year-old girls and keeping them entertained is my priority. As all parents know, if they’re happy, you’ll be happy. Before I had kids, I’d be looking to go long-haul, somewhere such as Mauritius, and be pampered in a luxury hotel. But now I’m looking for an all inclusive with good-quality food and accommodation, and a water park on site, so I don’t have to worry about leaving the hotel. The most important thing is that the staff are polite. I’ve stayed at the Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa in Turkey many times – it’s fantastic and we’ve never had a bad holiday there. My daughters aren’t the only ones you’ll find on the slides in the water park – I’ll be on them too.

WHERE HAVE YOU HAD THE MOST MEMORABLE TRIPS?
I’ve had fantastic holidays in Mauritius and Turkey, and even closer to home in Majorca – I used to live in Spain when I was a kid, so enjoy going back. I’ve done a lot of long-distance bike rides – 2,500 miles – across the US for the America Foundation for Aids Research. You see a different side of the country when you’re cycling because you get off the main track. I was able to stop and have a look around when I was promoting the work for the foundation.

WHERE IS STILL ON YOUR LIST TO VISIT?
I want to see all those ‘Wonders of the World’ – the Great Wall of China, the Inca Trail and all that stuff. I’d also like to do some reporting on things I’m interested in – one is active and adventure travel, the other is family holidays – to show people what’s out there at different price brackets. It would be a real idiot’s guide. When you look online for information on kids’ stuff, it can all look the same.

HOW DO YOU RESEARCH AND BOOK YOUR HOLIDAYS?
I use word-of-mouth recommendations and then spend time researching on the internet using sites such as TripAdvisor, which tends to be spot on. I do everything myself, but I can see the benefit of using a travel agent if you can find someone who goes above and beyond to provide really good service. It’s an important thing to get right, as holidays are a big investment for people.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I have a travel project in the pipeline – I’ve been asked to do a show for the Travel Channel. It would involve going around the world to 12 locations – from North and South America to Japan and South Africa – to report on the boom in nudism, which is apparently really growing in popularity. I’m talking to them at the moment, but I don’t yet know whether it will go ahead.

Find out more at Jet2.com and standupfoundation.com

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