Wow! Well-trained, hip beard, long, wavy hair, the dream of many women – Alex Frankel!
It is hard to imagine that the 26-year-old tenor weighed almost 200 kg for his wedding. “Some people smoke, others drink, I… ate,” Alex said. For him, food was like a “painkiller” – it killed his doubts and fears, which he liked to sweep under the carpet instead of facing them. In an interview for theCurvyMagazine he talks about his metamorphosis – as in almost three years from the “fat kid”, as he calls himself, he became the attractive man who not only sings operas but also takes off as a plus-size male model.
theCurvyMagazine: What triggered your transformation?
Alex Frankel: The trigger was this girl I met in autumn 2015, a ballet dancer. The day after our first date I went to Chinatown and plastered a whole Peking duck, a whole duck, believe me, that’s a lot! There were doubts again: This is too good to be true! Why me? Do I deserve to be with her? The next day I felt really bad, I was so sick! I knew I had to do something! And I took my first yoga class – that was the beginning of my journey.
theCurvyMagazine: Who accompanied your journey, supported you?
AF: Indirectly Said Girl. She ended the relationship after three months, that was tough! But also an incentive, because instead of eating out of grief, I did sports, went to yoga every day and lost 50 pounds after 6 months. But the most important active part is played by my best friend, Jiyang Chan, an internationally known photographer. He talked me into this photo session. “Hey,” he said, “let’s take some pictures of your new you.” On December 29, 2015 we took the photos, and when I saw them, I was completely thrilled! “Wow!” I thought, “I have more to offer than I thought!” The pictures completely changed my view of me, I felt self-confident and important. Jiyang still supports me today.
theCurvyMagazine: What gave you the idea of modeling?
AF: In February 2016 IMG signed Zach Miko – one of the most important modeling agencies in the world represents a Plus Size Male Model, wow! “This is it,” I thought, “this is what I want to do! As a child I never really had role models, my standard was Brad Pitt & Co. Maybe I can make a contribution that kids have more realistic role models. I’m under contract with State Management, and it’s funny – I’m often too “lean”. A balance between “normal” and “curvy” is essential.
theCurvyMagazine: What were the worst insults you suffered as a fat kid?
AF: It wasn’t really the abuse. It was the way I was looked at, treated or ignored. I was just the sweaty guy with man boobs. I was always teased because of my weight and my looks.
theCurvyMagazine: How is that today? How are you feeling?
AF: I’m being treated very nicely today. I’d be lying if I said I don’t like the attention, of course I do. I’m more confident now, feel freer. But it’s weird, because in the end it’s not about me, it’s about how I look.
theCurvyMagazine: Why Opera?
AF: Because I am a very bad dancer (laughs). No kidding, I always wanted to be an actor. In high school I sang in three choirs, had a great singing teacher who encouraged me. For me, opera is the highest form of art. It combines visual arts, music and theatre. Opera is the best storyteller.
theCurvyMagazine: What does a happy day in Alex Frankel’s life look like?
AF: I imagine myself taking a walk with my imaginary dog in the morning after getting up. Afterwards I do a model job for Levi’s or Armani, and in the evening I sing at the Scala in Milan, the MET or the Berlin State Opera – that would be a perfect day.
theCurvyMagazine: What is your big dream?
AF: I would like to be the modern version of Mario Lanza, star tenor of the 1950s.
theCurvyMagazine: What projects are planned?
AF: I have an exclusive contract with MGM for my first own piece, Delusions of a Tenor – following Mario Lanza, who had big weight problems at the end of his career, I describe the life of a tenor through Alex Frankel’s glasses, so it will have autobiographical features.
theCurvyMagazine: Are you happy today?
AF: Absolutely. The last few weeks have been good to me.