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.
We asked one of our favorite photographers, Gabriel Gastelum, to snap up some pics of Minsky for us. “Alex was the most comfortable model I have ever seen,” he told us of photographing Minsky, who’s dressed in N2N underwear for the shoot. “He had no problems dropping trou and walking around. I guess when you worked so hard for a body like that.. I would be comfortable too.” Check out the photos below and react to the article in the comments below!
*This interview was conducted on Tuesday, April 16, the day after the Boston bombing.
The Underwear Expert: 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.
UX: Do you wear them all the time?
Alex: I pretty much always am doing athletic stuff so I always wear athletic underwear, you know?
UX: Boxer briefs preferred?
Alex: Yes sir!
UX: 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…
UX: Because you’re awesome!
Alex: Well I’m not gonna say that but if YOU say that I’m not gonna disagree.
UX: So do you want to continue modeling? Any brands you’d like to work with?
Alex: Calvin Klein Underwear!
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: 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!
UX: What are you getting?
Alex: I don’t know. Something!
UX: 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.
UX: No regrets, right?
Check out the Alex Minsky photos by Gabriel Gastelum below, and catch the rest of the interview–including Alex’s sexuality, struggle with alcoholism and words of encouragement for victims of the Boston bombings–below!
UX: Alex, in the same article, people were wondering if you were gay or straight.
UX: And do you have a girlfriend?
Alex: I’m single.
UX: 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.
UX: What is your main focus?
Alex: Sobriety, my sanity.
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: Everything has a positive reciprocal outcome if you can find it, so congrats on finding it.
Alex: Thank you.
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: And what would you say about your sex life?
Alex: What about it? You want details?
UX: Kinda! If you were to find yourself in that situation, how’s it work?
Alex: Well, the situation dictates.
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: Totally fancy. So, let’s 180 again before we wrap up. You know about the explosions yesterday in Boston.
Alex: Very, very moving. Very sad story.
UX: 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.
UX: 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.
UX: Thank you so much.
Alex: [Laughs] We didn’t really talk about underwear very much!
UX: Next time. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!
SHOP N2N products featured in this exclusive series:
N2N’s White Signature Brief, $22, available at N2nbodywear.com
N2N’S Black Air Brief, $21, available at N2nbodywear.com
N2N’s Black Power Mesh Brief, $29, available at N2nbodywear.com
N2N’s Black Performance X Brief, $27, available at N2nbodywear.com
N2N’s Navy Blue Signature Boxer, $24, available at N2nbodywear.com
For more information about this brand: N2N
Photo Credit: Gabriel Gastelum Exclusively for The Underwear Expert