Sunday, August 11, 2019

meet Anthony Catanzaro... Perseverance Personified


It’s not very often that I can say I am humbled or awed by one of my subjects but along came Anthony and all that changed. I happened upon him via the NY POST and thought that here is someone that deserves attention on so many levels. I don’t wish to dwell on the adversity of his life but I would rather speak to his perseverance and fortitude when it comes to living his life as a happily married man with his wife.
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I couldn’t be happier that he consented to do this interview and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it has actually come to fruition with the greatest of thanks to his wife.
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You may ask what any of this or Anthony himself has to do with my overall topics of fashion, style and those who are creative. Before you try to figure it out, let me clear it up for you simply with the fact that this man has chosen his conveyance of creativity through his body. In other words, he wasn’t born looking like this and it wasn’t happenstance that he looks like this; yes, he is absolutely genetically blessed with  good looks and from what I can gather an incredible  disposition  which is certainly more than I can say  about so  many who are more fortunate.
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At any rate, given the political climate in this country at the moment I thought this might be the time to feel good and about ourselves and read about someone who is actually a genuine hero and a survivor in the truest sense of the words. You will read about it all in his own words  ... so …  Keep scrolling and keep reading and remember there but for the grace of  god  go I …  Anthony puts everyone’s life in perspective and if it doesn’t then you’re just a  hollow shell.
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you sort of give us a brief self-history/biography that brought you to this point?
Anthony Catanzaro: I was born on Long Island; my father was a fisherman and my mother was a seamstress. I am the youngest of 6 children and my roots go back to Sicily to a small town called Sciacca where my mother and father came from.

As a kid growing up, I was very nervous often having to be picked up form school several times due to the fact that I was extremely uncomfortable and constantly worried about my father who at the time was suffering from lymphoma. I didn’t know whether my father was going to live or die and my mother being an Italian immigrant didn’t know what to say to ease my fear; my siblings were much older so by that time they had all left home. I was a 15-year-old kid without much of a positive influence around me.  That all changed when my sister found a boyfriend whose name was Louie and he became like a big brother to me. He took me to Madison square garden to see WrestleMania. This is where I was first introduced to my childhood idols Hulk Hogan and Randy “Machoman” Savage. I was amazed at the energy and persona that these guys exuded.  When Hulk Hogan came out and waved that American flag, the crowd went crazy. That’s when I knew for the first time in my life I wanted to have that same effect on people but I wasn’t sure how to go about it.

I soon turned one of the empty bedrooms in the house into a workout room. This is where I developed not only my body but my confidence. When I was 18, I was working in a home improvement store when a photographer came in to buy some material for a photo shoot and he asked me if I ever modeled before and proceeded to tell me that I was very handsome and had a great body and that hd like to lens me some time. I took him up on his offer and the next thing I knew I was on the cover of an evening wear catalogue. Here I am a kid driving a pickup truck delivering construction materials to suddenly I’m a  kid wearing silk underwear and posing in silk bathrobes. I quit my job at the home improvement store and began a career as a hunk modeling dancing and fitness training.
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JF: Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room, you have been a model, bodybuilder, trainer, actor and you have been a stripper, but you have also faced unimaginable odds along the way… can you speak to the best and worst and why?
AC: I consider myself to be a very lucky man I have a beautiful wife who would die for me, I have friends that love me all over the world, I made a career out of doing what I love to do regardless of all the obstacles I have faced in life and I still consider myself to be very lucky!

Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is a very scary thing and believe me when I tell you that I battle it both day and night. It’s a far cry from when I didn’t have one ache in my body to now having every part of my body ache 24/7. I’ve felt great for my entire life, my body never failed me, and I always had complete control over it. So, you can just imagine how frustrating it is to have this disease and not have any control over my body. Parkinson’s disease robbed me of all the things I love to do but I know that this is not the end for me because I have faith that one day I will be normal again. I’m a believer in positive thinking and I will remain positive until the very end.
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
AC: Arnold Schwarzenegger he has been my inspiration throughout my entire bodybuilding career, Sylvester Stallone I’m a huge Rocky fan and would love to break bread with the Italian Stallion himself, the late Christopher Reeve as I’m a huge Superman fan and he was by far the best Superman to ever hit the screen,  Steve Reeves I consider him to be the best-looking bodybuilder that ever lived always wanting to pick his brain over a mean  and lastly,  Jesus, imagine sitting next to Christ and sharing a meal with him, just imagine … I don’t think there anything more powerful than that.
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JF: Growing up, did you have a plan for yourself or a mentor you wanted to emulate, or did you just wing it? ... Explain please
AC: As a kid growing up I always saw myself as being the best. I always believed in this and thought I’m not better than anyone but nobody is better than me. I always believed you can accomplish anything you want in life if you put your mind and heart into it. I always saw myself as a success. To me success does not only come in the form of money, it comes in the form of gratitude as well. When you help someone, when you show compassion when you give unconditionally, you are a success. We are all God’s children and we should all recognize the fact that we all need to be helpful to one another. We should all lift each other up instead of knocking each other down.  I always wanted to be remembered as a Superman …  a guy who would always be there anytime anyplace without asking anything in return.
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JF: Given your incomparable discipline and drive, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
AC: To be honest with you if you had asked me this question prior to having Parkinson’s I would have known exactly what to say.  But at this time, I really don’t know what to say … but, all I can say is where I hope to be in 5 years is to be healthy and happy living on a nice tropical island alongside my wife … to be able to enjoy one another, to be free and most of all to be happy.
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“People at the gym are motivated by me and inspired by me. Someone came up to me the other day and said they were amazed by my never-give-up attitude. I want to inspire people to keep going regardless of age or ailment,” he says. “Dancing is part of who I am. I feel like I’m stripping away Parkinson’s.” April 22, 2019 NY Post
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1 comment:

  1. Extremely inspiring interview thank you!

    ReplyDelete