Benjamin Filiatrault, known professionally as Papiben, is a Canadian model, businessman, and philanthropist. He is known for participating in Mister Global and for being the founder of Visually Impactful, a non-profit organization.
Benjamin, can you introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Benjamin Filiatrault, but many people know me by my professional name, Papiben. I’m a Canadian entrepreneur, model, and philanthropist. I was born and raised in Grand Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and I’m from Hungarian and Canadian descent. From a young age, I was interested in technology and coding, and I’ve pursued my passion for it ever since. Along the way, I’ve also developed a strong interest in fashion and modeling, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible brands and represent Canada on the international stage. I’m also deeply committed to giving back to the community through my non-profit organization, Visually Impactful, which uses the power of visual storytelling to create meaningful and impactful content that inspires people to take action and make a difference.
Where does the name papiben come from?
When I first arrived in Colombia, people kept calling me “Papi” and I was confused because “Papi” in French means grandpa. So, I kept telling people my name was Benjamin and they could call me Ben. But people kept calling me “Papi” and it made me smile and laugh. Eventually, I started accepting it and told people they could call me “Papiben” – a combination of “Papi” and “Benjamin”. It’s a fun and endearing nickname that has stuck with me ever since.
When did you first become interested in technology and coding?
I became interested in technology and coding at a young age. Despite facing some challenges growing up, I found comfort in the world of computers and technology. I spent countless hours learning and exploring the intricacies of technology, and I was driven by my love for coding and problem-solving. By the age of 13, I had already created my first software, which caught the attention of a specialized computer science program. This gave me the opportunity to further develop my skills and knowledge, and I dedicated myself to my studies.
What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced in your tech career, and how have you overcome them?
One of the major challenges I’ve faced in my tech career is dealing with high-pressure work environments and tight deadlines, which can lead to stress and burnout. However, I’ve overcome this challenge by developing effective time-management skills, prioritizing tasks, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, seeking support from colleagues, friends, and family has also been helpful in dealing with stress and work-related pressure. While there were certainly other challenges along the way, such as learning quickly in the startup environment, I was able to overcome them by working hard, staying focused, and always striving to improve. In fact, I was able to achieve the rank of Software Engineer Level 2 at Shutterstock by the age of 22, which is quite unusual in the industry, and I was the top performer on my team, as confirmed by my performance reports. I have always been very driven and I am not afraid to take risks. I think that is what sets me apart from others in the industry.
Why did you leave the world of technology?
I actually haven’t quit the tech world, and I don’t think I ever will. Technology and coding have always been a passion of mine, and I continue to stay connected to the industry and keep up with the latest developments. It’s a fast-paced world, and it’s easy to fall behind or get left behind if you’re not constantly learning and growing. That’s why I strive to stay updated on new trends and technologies and continue to work on projects and do consulting in the tech industry. It’s a challenging and rewarding field, and I look forward to being a part of it for many years to come.
Can you tell us about some of the most innovative tech projects you’ve worked on?
The recommendation system I worked on was actually designed to be used in advertising campaigns. The idea was to give advertisers the ability to input their audience and objectives, and then the AI would generate a list of the best assets to use in the campaign based on those factors. This approach helps to optimize the campaign and increase the chances of success. This system is used by a variety of platforms such as Google, Microsoft, and Wix. By utilizing this AI-based system, these clients were able to better target their audience and improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, ultimately driving more sales and increasing their ROI.
Why did you switch to modeling after succeeding in tech?
Well, it’s true that I had a successful career in the tech industry, but my interests were not limited to just that. I have always had a passion for travel, and my experiences traveling around the world have inspired me to pursue other avenues as well. Through my travels, I gained a deeper understanding of different cultures and perspectives, which motivated me to create Visually Impactful, a non-profit organization that aims to make a positive impact on the world through visual storytelling.
In addition to my work with Visually Impactful, I also enjoy exploring different fashion styles during my travels. I frequently try culturally inspired clothing and share my experiences on social media. Modeling is not something I actively pursued, but I saw it as an opportunity to continue sharing my passion for culture and fashion with a larger audience.
How did you become Mister Global Canada?
I became Mister Global Canada by participating in the Mister Global Canada competition, which involves several rounds of competition including a talent showcase, a swimwear round, and an interview. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the winner of the competition and was given the opportunity to represent Canada at the Mister Global competition. It’s been an incredible experience representing Canada on an international stage and promoting important causes such as environmental sustainability and mental health awareness. The Mister Global organization is all about promoting cultural exchange, personal growth, and making a positive impact on the world, and I feel honored to be a part of it.
What do you hope to be remembered for in your career and personal life?
I hope to be remembered as someone who made a positive impact in the world and used my platform and influence to spread a message of positivity and creativity. I am passionate about empowering underrepresented communities, particularly First Nations, and highlighting the importance of supporting their culture and traditions. Through my modeling career and work with the Mister Global organization, I have been able to raise awareness about these important issues and become a voice for those who may not have had one. Ultimately, I hope to inspire others to use their talents and resources to make a difference in the world and leave a positive legacy.
What are your future goals and plans?
As someone who is passionate about both exploring the world and making a positive impact, my future goals involve continuing to travel and create content that showcases different cultures and promotes inclusivity and diversity. I’m also working on some artistic projects, including photography and writing, to further express my creativity.
In addition to my artistic pursuits, I’m also interested in real estate investment and I am currently exploring opportunities in Toronto and Dubai. I’m also looking into potentially purchasing a company that aligns with my values and goals.
And on a personal note, I am hoping to meet someone special in my life, but I prefer not to discuss it too much until it becomes official. Overall, my main focus is to continue pursuing my passions and making a positive impact in the world.