Most Eligible Phoenicians 2021: Kelli Benjamin of ASU Athletics




Social Media Handles:

Instagram / Twitter – kben85

City of Residence:


Please describe your occupation:

Academic Coach for the football and men’s tennis team at Arizona State University. I monitor the eligibility of our student-athletes as well as guide them toward success in their academics. 

Why did you go into that industry?

I was a swimmer at Texas A&M University and thought I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life. While I still graduated in Education, I knew that I couldn’t see myself in a classroom for the rest of my life. I was pretty involved while being a student-athlete, and created relationships with staff during my time, especially with my Academic Coach.

He made a huge impact in my college career, and I wanted to get into a field where I could potentially spread that impact to future student-athletes. I get to stay in the education field but also work with student-athletes every day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! 

What made you want to be apart of Arizona Foothills Magazine’s Most Eligible Phoenicians 2021?

Let’s be real, 2020 was rough in all aspects. My friend randomly DM’d me the nomination post, and I figured I had nothing to lose! 

Are you an Arizona native? If not, when and why did you move to Arizona?

I am an Arizona native! Grew up in Gilbert, AZ! 

What is your favorite aspect of Arizona?

There definitely is not just one aspect I love about Arizona. Not only is the weather great, (yes even in the brutal summers, that’s what the pool is for!), but there is so much to do for literally everyone.

I especially love that I am continuously hearing and trying new restaurants around the valley, as well as going to the many hosted events and concerts that occur throughout the year. I also love that there is a mountain in every direction of me that is an easy commute to get a hike in! 

Have you ever been married in the past? Would you want to get married/remarried?

I have never been married, but that in the end, is the goal. My parents will be together for 30 years this year, and have always aspired to find my life partner. 

Do you have any children? Would you like to have children?

I do not have any children, but would love to have kids with my future husband! 

What’s your astrological sign?


Would you describe yourself as more of an extrovert or introvert? Or a little bit of both?

Extrovert, hands down. 

You have the weekend off, and no work needs to be done. What are you doing?

If I wasn’t working on the weekend, I’d first want to get a group of people to go to brunch. I love socializing and catching up with my friends, and let’s be real, the idea of bringing breakfast and lunch together as a day-drinking activity, is genius!

After that, I’d want to go somewhere to watch some football. You can find me cheering on the Aggies or the Sun Devils every weekend! Then on Sunday is the day for me to regroup and spend time with my family. With them still living in Gilbert, I go there every weekend/every other weekend for our traditional Sunday night steak dinners we had growing up.

Where was your favorite place you have ever visited?  Where do you want to go next?

My favorite trip I have gone on recently was to Los Angeles / Malibu. For anyone that knows me, reality tv is my vice. From Keeping up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of ANY city, to the Bachelor, I have no shame to say that I watch them all.

Anyway, in Malibu, there is a vineyard called the Malibu Safari Wine Tours, where throughout the tour, you drink wine and feed animals, like Zebras and Giraffes. (Only reason I knew about it was that it was featured on Keeping up with the Kardashians). Afterward, my friend and I had an early dinner at Nobu Malibu.

The next day we went to brunch at Manhattan Beach, and finished the night in West Hollywood, where we ate at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, Villa Blanca, and had drinks at Sur! It was just so fun to go to the places that I had seen on my television screen so many times. 

The next place I want to go to is literally ANYWHERE! I love to travel, and with the Pandemic, my travel plans came to a halt. Who is with me!?

Favorite movie? Why?

Not really a movie person, but you can catch me watching any reality TV show on E! and Bravo. It’s the drama and “no brainer” content that gets me to unwind and just relax after a long day or week. 

What kind of music is your favorite? Do you have a favorite artist?

My Spotify would say I love Country and Hip Hop. Multiple years in, and I’m still Drake’s top 1% of listeners on Spotify! 

Favorite food and favorite restaurant? Why?

I could literally eat anything, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d choose between Mexican food or a medium-rare fillet. You can’t go wrong with tacos and a margarita, and with fillets, I grew up having good steaks every Sunday at home, and have tried to continue that tradition being back in AZ. 

Where is your favorite place to grab a cocktail?

Cannot go wrong with Postino Wine Cafe. Whether it is Bottle and Board on Monday and Tuesday nights or a glass of wine after work, it’s a perfect environment to wind down and catch up with someone. 

If you were to take another MEP selectee on a date, where would you take them and why?

I am pretty simple. I’d just want to grab a drink or two someplace. I want to see who the person is and how I connect with them. If everything seems to click, I am completely open to going to another bar or restaurant to keep the conversation going! 

Tell us something that many people may not know about you:

I am a part of a statue at Texas A&M University in Kyle Field (football stadium).

Check out our interview with Kelli Benjamin:
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