Issa "Ace" Chouman, 23
27th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave
Thu Apr 12 2007
Photograph by Jay Muhlin
"I like all kinds of styles—everything but baggy clothes. These are Pumas. When I go out I sometimes wear dress shoes, but otherwise I prefer sneakers—they're more comfortable."
What are you up to? I'm on a break from work. Can I take my shirt off?
Sure, why? Are you hot? No, I'm cut.
I see. What do you do, other than strip down for interviewers? I work in my father's wholesale clothing store, and I go to school.
What are you studying? Math, at St. John's University. I'm a junior.
You don't look like a math nerd. I'm not a nerd. I don't study. I go out five times a week. But I get A's anyway.
Lucky. Do you spend the rest of your time at the gym? I'm there four or five times a week, for anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half.
How much can you bench? 345.
Wowee. Do you beat up the other math majors? [Laughs] No. I don't fight nobody.
What's your motivation for working out? I do it for fun, and for the look. It makes me feel confident.
Do you guzzle protein shakes? Yes, and I watch what I eat. I don't go near anything that makes me fat.
Are muscles good for getting ladies? Women love muscles. When I go clubbing, they come to me.
Do people assume things about you because of the way you look? Yeah, people think I'm stupid. They don't believe I'm a math major. And they are jealous, too—especially men from my culture: I'm Lebanese. They accuse me of juicing up.
No steroids for you, though? Never. I like my body natural.
Do you love your body more than anything else in the world? [Laughs] I'm not obsessed. I love women more.—Kate Lowenstein