Retired Marine Cpl. Alex Minsky’s life took a surreal and unexpected turn last year as he sat on a couch next to Barbara Walters, Sherri Shepherd, and Jenny McCarthy. The ladies of The View were admiring him, not over his heroic military service or the fact that he’d been awarded the Purple Heart. The reason he was invited on the show was his recent success as fashion’s hottest new model.
Alex has become the most inspirational model in the world and his journey from the battlefield to the runway is straight out of a Hollywood movie. On June 1, 2009, barely three weeks into his first tour in Afghanistan, Minsky’s Humvee ran over a roadside bomb. His bottom jaw was broken in four different places, his arm was torn to shreds, and his right leg was blown off just below the knee. A plastic tube lodged in his trachea was the only thing keeping him alive. Doctors told his mother, Jackie, that Alex had suffered a traumatic brain injury and would probably not survive. If he did, they said, his life would never be the same.
To everyone’s surprise, Minsky pulled through after 47 days in a coma and 17 months recovering in the hospital. He has little recollection of the explosion. Most of what he knows has been pieced together from what other people have told him and a dark period of depression and alcoholism nearly killed him. To keep busy, he hit the gym twice a day, six days a week. On his second day of sobriety, a photographer approached him during one of his workouts, and asked whether he’d ever consider modeling. Minsky thought the guy was out of his mind. But the photographer was persistent, and Minsky eventually relented.
“I never thought in a million years that I would become a model,” Minsky says during a shoot in Los Angeles. “Even before the accident it was never one of my goals.”