LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former U.S. Marine who lost his leg in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded has found a new career as an underwear model.
Twenty-four-year-old Alex Minsky, of Venice Beach, was riding in a Humvee when it was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in 2009.
The Marine Corporal was in a coma for 47 days.
"I had to relearn how to do everything. How to walk, how to talk, how to think, how to listen, how to see," he told KCAL9'S Andrea Fujii.
He lost half his leg in the accident and has burn scars all over his arms, now covered in tattoos.
Minsky now uses a prosthetic, and after intensive therapy was able to begin training at a gym.
That's where he says he was discovered by a local photographer.
"He said, 'Have you ever modeled before? Has anyone ever approached you for that?'" Minsky recalled of their meeting last December.
Since then his career has taken off. Minsky has shot for underwear, jewelry and tattoo ads.
But the war veteran says he's not modeling for fame.
"Sure if I take my clothes off I'll look good in my underwear. But that's not what it's about," he said.
"It's about being balanced and having my head on straight."
It's also about inspiring others like fellow Afghanistan veteran Mylee Cardenas, who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
"You see what he can do and the moment you see that you kind of just look at it like your problems aren't that big and you keep going," Cardenas said.
Minsky says his phone has been ringing off the hook with modeling opportunities.
Part of the money he makes is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps those injured in the military.
He hopes through his new-found fame he'll reach those who've struggled like him.
"I'm just hoping that people can see me from near or from far away and be given that extra push not to give up," he said.
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