Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Alex Minsky

Alex Minsky is an Afghan vet turned underwear model. You’ve probably seen photos of the guy around the web; when we did, we knew we had to reach out to hear his story. Long story short: the Los Angeles based model drove over an IED in Afghanistan in 2009, which subsequently landed him a coma.
Upon wakening, life was, as one can imagine, not a dream. Losing a limb and being in a coma were far from the end of his ordeal, however. You can read more about his harrowing experiences below, but in short, he’s faced life head on and made the absolute best of it. It hasn’t been a perfect path of enlightenment, but it’s been one that lacks regret: a lesson we can all learn from.
 Let’s start with the basics, or briefs if you will. Can you tell me what your favorite underwear brand is and why?

Alex Minsky: Probably Under Armour. I just like the way they feel.

Do you wear them all the time?
Alex: I pretty much always am doing athletic stuff so I always wear athletic underwear, you know?

Boxer briefs preferred?
Alex: Yes sir!

We picked up somewhere that you were scouted at a gym. Can you tell me about “being discovered.”
Alex: Yeah, well photographer Tom Cullis found me in the gym in Newport beach, where I live right now. He tried me out–we did a test shoot–and his photographs got the ball rolling. From there I got to work with Michael Stokes and others. I’m actually trying out acting now and all that crazy stuff. It makes sense because, I don’t know…

Because you’re awesome!
Alex: Well I’m not gonna say that but if YOU say that I’m not gonna disagree.

So do you want to continue modeling? Any brands you’d like to work with?
Alex: Calvin Klein Underwear!

 Any others..?

Alex: Nike—gotta get that plug in. All I wear are Nike shoes and I love Nike underwear, too. Shameless plug right there! Puma too.

Alex, going through comments in an article we read about you.. Some of the guys were questioning your tattoos and how sexy they were. What would you say to someone that said you had too many tattoos?
Alex: I would ask them if they know of a way I can remove them all.

Do you wish you could remove some?
Alex: No, but if they told me they thought I should remove them I’d ask them if they knew of a way. I don’t know of a way. I’m completely OK with them. I love them and I’m getting more. I’m getting more Saturday!

What are you getting?
Alex: I don’t know. Something!

Do you have a favorite tat?
Alex: I dunno! I love them all, especially the day that I get them. Then that’s my favorite one. They all have a special meaning and they all mean something. I love them all for their own reasons. I love them all like they’re my first and only one.

 No regrets, right?

Alex: Never.
 Alex, in the same article, people were wondering if you were gay or straight.
Alex: Straight.

And do you have a girlfriend?
Alex: I’m single.

 On the prowl?
Alex: I never turn down a.. you know. I’m always looking for meeting new people, but getting a girlfriend is not really my main focus right now. If it happens it happens.
What is your main focus?
Alex: Sobriety, my sanity.

Can you tell me more about being in AA?
Alex: I came out of my coma and I was using alcohol as a tool to cope–to cope with the trauma that was going on in my own head and in my own life and I was like messed up, dude. I was real messed up. And then a series of very unfortunate events happened back to back to back bam bam bam. My younger brother passed away when he was 19 and I was 21 and then I used alcohol even more, to cope even more. It’s a progressive illness, so my alchoholism progressed further and further and further and I never slowed down.
 I felt that I was, that I deserved it. I felt like I was allowed to drink that much because, I don’t know.. because I could–because I wanted to. And that’s not the case. It was very unhealthy and it is very unhealthy and it was very, very bad for me. I don’t regret anything that I’ve done–any drinking, anything like that–but it’s not a healthy way of living. And it’s very hypocritical for me also because I promote healthy living all the time in every single aspect of my life. For years I’ve been promoting it in every other aspect of my life–except for my own personal abuse of alcohol. I would abuse the crap out of alcohol.
So what pulled you out of it?
Alex: I got in trouble. I broke the law. I got in trouble and the courts got me sober. I was sober for 50 days when the fog had lifted enough– and it’s not completely lifted, it’s a process—but it lifted some and I realized, “Holy guacamole, I’m a piece of crap and I need to stop doing this. This is bad.” I’ve been sober ever since. One day at a time. I’m not going to lie and say everything is peaches and cream all the time, because it’s not. It’s life. Everything is not peaches and cream all the time. The only difference is I don’t have alcohol to cover up anymore. I don’t have that coping device. I’m left to handle shit head on. Face first.
I’m still early in recovery, but it feels so good getting clean and staying sober. I was like, “Holy guacamole!” I was feeling the love coming, and my modeling started picking up in the same time frame. Three, four months sober and everything just seemed like it was happening. I was happy with where I was.
Everything has a positive reciprocal outcome if you can find it, so congrats on finding it.
Alex: Thank you.

Let’s 180 here. Can you tell me about your prosthetic leg?
Alex: I don’t sleep with it and I take it off a few times a day.
 I’m curious how you would describe the impact of a prosthetic on your physical life and your sex life?
Alex: [Laughs] My physical life.. well, I dunno. You can’t walk sometimes and you gotta get around it. It’s an obstacle and what do I do? I’m Alex, right? I get over obstacles.

And what would you say about your sex life?
Alex: What about it? You want details?
 Kinda! If you were to find yourself in that situation, how’s it work?
Alex: Well, the situation dictates.

 I guess you wouldn’t necessarily have to take it off to have sex?
Alex: Nope, I don’t have to take it off during sex. Situation dictates! If having the leg on would help the sex then I’ll leave it on. If it does not help the sex, then I don’t need it on.
Has it helped you pick up girls at all?
Alex: No comment. [Laughs] OK, I can tell you a story. It was just one time. I’ve only done it one time and therefore it’s only worked one time, but one time I was in a social situation and I walked up to this young lady.. wait, I can’t tell this story online. It just makes me look like a dickface and I’m not gonna do that.

Ok, well let the record dictate there is a story there, but you’re not going to tell us because you’re not a dickface. We’re OK with that. I can imagine the outcome, and I guess congratulations are in order.
Alex: The outcome is she stayed at my house for the weekend.
Apparently there were 25-30 people that either lost one or more limbs. That’s a fact that really stuck with me. Is there any advice you’d bestow upon them while they get back to their normal lives?
Alex: Keep your head up and life doesn’t end when you lose a limb. Or two, or three, or four.

Thank you so much for taking the time, Alex. You’re beyond inspiring. In closing, with your experiences to date, what is one thing you would tell someone, anyone, going through a hard time. What have you gained in knowledge that you’d bestow on someone going through an especially difficult episode of life?
Alex: One thing I tell myself a lot that really helps me is: everyone’s life is different, and everyone’s setback is their own “biggest thing” in their life. You shouldn’t, you can’t compare because we’re all different. Everyone’s biggest setback is their own biggest setback, you know? We need to figure out how to get over that for ourselves.
And, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I didn’t, thank god, I didn’t die on that day on June 1, 2009. I didn’t die. It was a trial, and it’s making me stronger. In the long run, it made me stronger.

Thank you so much.
Alex: [Laughs] We didn’t really talk about underwear very much!
Next time. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Exclusive Interview with Matthew Camp

Along with looking drop dead amazing in his underwear, Matthew Camp is a man of many talents. The California native turned downtown New York model, designer and art scene stealer is also a fashion designer, tattoo artist, and most recently—a fragrancier. His new cologne 8.5 comes packaged in a poppers bottle, just to give you an idea of his raunchy sense of humor.
You’re a California boy…
Matthew: I am!

What brought you to New York City?
Matthew: I had a lot going on in California before I moved here. I was doing little fashion shows with a bunch of other people and working, getting into the arts scene in Sacramento. I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento and then to New York. Basically, I just needed a change. I felt like I had taken over this small town already, and I was ready for a bigger challenge. I really wanted to change everything, and challenge myself as much as I could, so I thought there’s no better place to do it than in New York.
What do you love most about the city?
Matthew: I love the diversity; I love how many different kinds of people are here. It really is just a epicenter of culture. I enjoy Brooklyn the most, because it’s a little less postured than some of the other areas.
I mean, you could see—this sounds so bad! [Laughs]—but you could see like this zombified heroin addict wandering down the street and it’s just so raunchy and real, and interesting. You can find that in Brooklyn, but you can also find really great apartments. There’s just an even bigger mix than in the city, I think.
How did you first get into modeling? Which came first, dancing on the bar or posing for the camera?
Matthew: I started modeling back in California. I think Steven Underhill for XY was the first modeling thing I had ever done and that was fun, I liked it.  Since then, I kept getting offered gigs so I just took them. It was just fun after a while, you get to meet tons of people.
So how did you get into go-go dancing?
Matthew: I got into go-go dancing because I had gotten fired from Bloomingdales MAC counter [Laughs] and I was on unemployment. I was like, ‘Well, I kind of enjoy not doing anything and getting money.’ So, I though how can I keep doing this?  I figured—this sounds so bad, I don’t know if you should ever print this! [Laughs]. Basically, I was at a club and they were like, ‘Oh, you should dance here.’ And I was like, ‘Oh no way, I’m too shy.’ But then I was like, ‘Alright totally, I’ll do it.’ I don’t know if you know Sugarland, have you ever been there?
Of course!
Matthew: Yeah, OK so that was like eight years ago when I started doing that, maybe not eight maybe like six or seven. But it’s been a while.

Bet that’s how everyone gets their start, being fired from the MAC counter at Bloomingdales.
Matthew: [Laughs] Really??
It sounds like a classic tale! So, how would you describe the design aesthetic of your leather collection?
Matthew: This particular run that I did, my inspiration was—what would I make if I didn’t have any sewing machines? How would I put this together if I [lived] a less heavily industrialized existence? So I thought I would do stuff that Native American people would do, which is get leather hides and warp them together and wrap them. That was the inspiration. It looked a little bit more S&M-y, which I like, not than I anticipated but than a normal Native American garment would look.
But basically, I want things to be super clean, and timeless, and about lifestyle. It’s not about dressing up for play or anything like that. Someone would wear this jacket because it represents the aesthetics that they like from season to season, year to year.
 Tell us about your new fragrance 8.5, which comes in a poppers bottle. What was your inspiration for the scent, title, and packaging?
Matthew: Well, my name is Matthew Camp. So I feel like it’s a little bit important for me to honor that with having a little bit of tongue-in-cheek references in the stuff that I do, and a little bit of humor.
So the poppers bottle—I think popper are great. I think they’re disgusting, and that’s why I love them. [Laughs] They’re just so bad, you know? This fragrance was really good and really rich when I made it, and it also reminded me of poppers.
When I was talking about it with people I was like, I think this needs to be in a poppers bottle. It would just make so much sense, and I think it would leave that emotional impression that you want to get on somebody when you make something. They already have a story built up, an association with poppers. So by putting it in a poppers bottle it would only build on that association for them.
 And how about the title?
Matthew: 8.5 is a reference to a few things. Obviously, it’s in reference to a penis size. There’s no getting around the obvious one. Also Fellini, I love the way that he portrays sexuality as so tormented and beautiful at the same time. That was one of the other main inspirations, the film 8.5.
 How did you get into tattoo design and tattooing?
Matthew: I’ve fantasized about tattooing for quite some time, probably since I was a child. It was really appealing to me for a number of reasons. I like the idea of physically scarring someone in a really beautiful way. I think that’s a really powerful interaction, and I’m sadistic so I wanted to do it! [Laughs] I like drawing and I love tattoos, so it seemed like a natural transition.

 What can you tell us about the design on your right arm?
Matthew: The snake. I actually didn’t design it, I brought it to another artist, because it’s very hard to have your own artwork around you constantly, because you constantly pick it apart. I picked out a snake that I liked—do you know who Earnest Haeckel is? He’s this scientific illustrator from the 50s I believe, he had a lot of influence on architecture and a lot of art during that time was based on his illustration. They basically made these really beautiful scientific illustrations of microscopic organisms that were in the ocean. That’s what the little balls that look like flowers are on my arm. Then the snake is coming out water, which is supposed to be a Kundalini, or a representation of one.
It’s also just a snake, and I like snakes because they’re cool.
That they are! Do you have a favorite brand of underwear?
Matthew: I actually wear Joe Boxer quite a bit [laughs]. Because it’s super cheap and I can just throw them away if I want. They’re really long in the crotch so my balls can hang down—it’s really comfortable. If I’m going to be dressing up sexy, it’s probably going to be a pair of Calvin Klein.

 What style of underwear do you find most sexy on a guy?
Matthew: No underwear. [Laughs] I like boxer briefs, I think those are the most appealing for me.
Your first answer works too, we’ll accept that! So, what do you want to do next? Are there any upcoming things you have on the horizon that you’re shooting for?
Matthew: I’m working on some t-shirts that should be pretty sleazy. I’m updating my website soon, so as soon as I have the projects finished I’ll be taking pictures of them and updating it. For now I’m just filling orders for jackets and cologne.

How do you stay in shape and maintain your body?
Matthew: Well, I like to eat a lot. Sometimes I forget, but usually I try to eat 2000 calories a day to 3000, which I think is normal. But it’s hard. This month I’ve been obsessed with hamburgers, and I’ve been eating like three hamburgers a day. I have the weirdest eating habits!
I just go to the gym and I want to get high basically. So I’ll just workout as hard as I can, and as soon as I feel elated I’m good to go.

So you go more based on feeling.
Matthew: Of course I like to look strong, who doesn’t? But I definitely like the way it feels more than anything.

About Last Night with Alberto…

Alberto Rubio by Jose Martinez262
Comes the night, but we want to know what really happened ‘about last night with Alberto‘? the new project by Spanish photographer Jose Martinez.
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Styling by Antonio Bordera. Alberto Rubio @ fashionartmgmt. Stunning polaroids some of them in black and white and some in color. If you like it this may continue…
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Anthony Avila by Kiet Thai for Lilium Magazine

Anthony Avila by Kiet Thai for Lilium Magazine. In this shoot, the mask Anthony wears gives him the power and freedom of anonymity.
It’s a chance to occupy another persona and do things you normally wouldn’t do. A mask can allow you to act out your fantasies and secrets.
AnthonyAvila_02AnthonyAvila_04AnthonyAvila_05AnthonyAvila_06AnthonyAvila_07In this shoot, the mask Anthony wears gives him the power and freedom of anonymity. It’s a chance to occupy another persona and do things you normally wouldn’t do. A mask can allow you to act out your fantasies and secrets. This is an extension of the Halloween story I did with Alex and Kressin.In this shoot, the mask Anthony wears gives him the power and freedom of anonymity. It’s a chance to occupy another persona and do things you normally wouldn’t do. A mask can allow you to act out your fantasies and secrets. This is an extension of the Halloween story I did with Alex and Kressin.AnthonyAvila_10