Photography by Therese + Joel | Stylist: Joshua Liebman | Briefs by Diesel, Scarf by Lars Anderson
Alex Minsky was just a young Marine, less than a month into his first tour in Afghanistan in 2009, when his body was brutally ravaged by a roadside bomb. Minsky lost his leg and fell into a 47-day coma. While in recovery, he also plunged into depression and started abusing alcohol until it was clear he had to put the brakes on his downward spiral.
Just after Minsky decided to quit drinking, a man approached him at the gym and asked him if he'd pose for photographs. Within months, Minsky was all over the Web in sexy underwear shots that showed off not only his tattoos but his prosthetic leg. He's since become a pinup star with fans around the world. "I'm not working on becoming America's Next Top Model," Minsky says. "I'm just working on being me again."
"I wasn't planning on leaving the Marines. I loved the discipline and structure. They tell you where you're supposed to be, what you're supposed to be wearing, what you need to bring. They tell you everything. I didn't want to quit, but about six months after my injury, they told me, 'You're probably not going to be able to do this anymore.' I could've fought for it, but I would've had to change jobs anyway. If I can't be an infantry Marine, I don't want to be a Marine."
"At 18, I was in the military; at 20, I got blown up. I retired when I was 21. I went down the path most people go through after an injury. I wanted to run away. I did not want to be present, so I would drink a lot. I stopped drinking, and that was a complete game changer for me, because the day I stopped drinking was the day I started modeling. None of this is my doing. I'm not in the results business. I just put in the work, show up when I'm supposed to show up, and leave the results to somebody else -- a power greater than me."
Call Him Clark
"I've named my prosthetic leg Clark. He has a personality. He has his own mind at times. I named him right after I got out of a coma. I was coming back to life and was kind of foggy and a little brain-dead. My mom was talking to me like a 5-year-old -- because I was acting like one -- and asked me, 'What are you going to name it?' I just looked at her, stone-faced, and I said, 'Clark. I want to name it Clark.' It stuck."
Nudity Is Nothing
"People always ask me, 'How do you feel comfortable being naked?' Well, I was in the Marine Corps. I'm used to it -- it's just a lot of dudes. The difference with modeling naked is you've got to learn how to flex without looking like you're flexing. You want the muscles to look as big as possible."