Celebrity stylist Alee Benson of Bacolod City shares his story about discovering eternal life and finding true love.
The Testimony of Celebrity Stylist Alee Benson
Despite his fame and status in the Philippine beauty industry, people do not know much about this self-made man. Here’s his journey.
Alee was born in Bacolod City and grew up in poverty. His family lived in a shanty that was attached to the wall of the old Coca-Cola plant at Lacson Street.
“We were beyond poor,” Alee recalls. Because of poverty and a dysfunctional home, he would rather stay out to find his luck. He started hanging out at a beauty parlor, sweeping the floor and doing odd jobs for the staff. Earning a few pesos each day encouraged him to stick around.
Learning New Skills
Observing how the gays worked in the parlor, Alee discovered that he also had the talent for hair styling. “I can make you pretty just with my hands,” he confidently says.
His yearning to earn more and get out of poverty pushed Alee to learn new skills. Moving to Manila, he studied techniques on make up, hair styling, and other tricks of the trade. Moreover, he learned about overall fashion styling.
Tasting Tremendous Success
With hard work, perseverance, and determination, success indeed came. “I was earning as much as PhP50,000 a day just by doing hair and make-up,” Alee recalls.
Eventually, Alee was able to put up a salon bearing his name at the swanky Renaissance Tower in Ortigas. He emphasizes that it’s not just a beauty parlor but a successful salon operations frequented by celebrities and socialites. Eventually, he became to be known as the celebrity stylist Alee Benson.
Meanwhile, he learned more skills and gained more clients. “I became more influential to my friends. I became somebody they looked up to and my opinion was sought after. Honestly, it made me feel good and important,” he adds.
However, with success also came the vices and decadent lifestyle. He got into drinking alcohol, taking addictive drugs, and got into relationships with men. “I lived the homosexual lifestyle, influenced perhaps by the people I hanged out with. But these were the people who embraced me, who loved me,” he said.
Alee felt that he was becoming really important in the fashion and beauty industry. “I was being sought-after for photo shoots and was part of a reality TV show,” he narrates. Being so in-demand meant less time for rest. Alee felt that he needed to take more drugs in order to up hi energy and push his physical boundaries. Sadly, the more successful he became, the deeper he got dependent on drugs to keep him going.
The Wake Up Call
One hectic morning, Alee encountered a near-death experience. After being awake for four straight days with only the drugs fueling his system, his face became numb. There were palpitations so strong that he could hear his heart pounding. “I really thought I was going to die,” he recalls.
At that point, Alee realized that he did not want to die yet. He went to Facebook in order to look for inspirational messages and bible verses. “I read them aloud, hoping that they would calm me down like a magic potion. But they did not,” Alee says, remembering his panicked state.
In his desperation, he reached out to a client-friend who always told him that she was always praying for him. Alee met with his friend where she prayed over him. “I could not understand what was happening so I just kept on crying. I think I wept for about three hours. This has never happened to me before. She shared Jesus. I have heard about Jesus before. I know there is a Jesus who was a baby during Christmas and was crucified during holy week,” he tells.
“But this is a different Jesus. I felt that this Jesus loved me, accepted me, and stretched out his arms to embrace me.” Alee then went home and opened the Bible that was given by a client years before. He started reading from the book of Genesis. “I read that God created man and woman, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. God’s word convicted to stop my homosexual lifestyle,” he says. That was in November 2014.
True Love and a Lifetime Partner
Alee knew that he wanted to change his lifestyle because of his newfound love for God.
But he bargained with God. In prayer, “I told God that if He wanted me to change, He should also give me a wife and a partner, because I might just go back to my old ways.”
And indeed, the Lord honored Alee’s request. “He gave me Ching.” They have been happily married for several years now.
Alee sold his salon and retired from 17 years of high-flying life in Manila. He turned from his homosexual relationships and quit using drugs, which he considers a miracle.
When Alee and his wife came home to Bacolod in 2015, they were introduced to people who now mentor them in their spiritual journey. These people are instrumental in helping them have deeper understanding of God’s word.
“There are verses, chapters, and stories that made me cry. I do not understand why. Later, I understood that it was the Holy Spirit talking to me through the Bible,” he remembers.
Alee kept reading the Bible to see what else God wants to tell him. “I used to be a drug addict. Now, I am a Bible addict. The Bible gives me a certain high that drugs never gave me. I want to read more, I want to know more, I want to feel God more.”
In the past three years, Alee witnessed how the Lord has transformed him. Life has never been the same for him. Through Matthew 6:33, God told Alee to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “
Additionally, he holds a regular Look and Learn Makeup Tutorial — his beauty ministry. It is held every second Thursday of the Month at Cafe Across at Rolis Arcade La Salle. This is his way of sharing his skills and experience as well as his testimony of how the Lord changed his life.
On Sundays, Alee and his wife Ching serves in the children’s ministry of the Bacolod Trinity Christian Church.
What a heartwarming testimony for the Lord! Indeed the past does not define us. When we follow the Lord’s call, He is going to use our testimony as a powerful tool for the gospel.