“Everyone wants a piece of me. Everyone wants to be the champion.” Can’t really blame anyone. Despite his young age, the undefeated champ, Charlie Himmelstein, better known by his name in the ring, ‘Rockstar’ Charlie, already has a significant number of victories under his belt. The twenty one year old model and boxer from Brooklyn, has been fighting his way to the top ever since his first Friday Night Throwdown back in 2009. One of New York’s guiltiest pleasures, F.N.T. is an underground boxing event that takes place in random warehouses all across the Big Apple with no particular notice but twenty four hours prior to the show. This modern ‘fight club’ has drawn a lot of attention from both the press and the public mainly due to its unconventional concept where amateur models challenge pro-boxers and street fighters. Seeking more answers, we caught up with ‘Rockstar’ Charlie who spoke to us about his first night in the ring, the reasons why more and more so-called “pretty boys” are joining the competition, and all things bruised and broken.
What got you involved with Friday Night Throwdown in first place?
I got involved in FNT because the universe decided so. My friend met a guy named Bekim in an elevator at a random warehouse party and they were talking about boxing. Bekim told my friend about the FNT parties, my friend said “HEY, I know a boxer come meet him”. I was new on the map then, 18-19 years old , a nursery school teacher college student and I had just started fighting. Bekim said “hey man we like kids like you… Fight for me.”. That was the creation of “Rockstar” Charlie. He made that name blow up. Well 6 months later anyway when he called me and I had forgotten who he was and said “hey kid you’re fighting in 3 days”.
Like every true boxer, you got a nickname! What was the inspiration behind ‘Rockstar’ Charlie?
The name “Rockstar” Charlie came from my first coach Mike Smith. I trained at Gleason’s Gym at the time and I was one of the only white kids who fought, I was 6’3, 16 years old, wore tight black pants, cowboy boots, a studded leather jacket and had the mixed physique of Gumby and Mick Jagger. I was his only white boy, and he loved it. He called me Rockstar. It was making fun of me, not priding me. It wasn’t until Bekim announced WELCOME TO THE RING… ROCKSTARRRRRRRR CHARLIE and then Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle” blasted my way to the ring; that I realized I kinda liked that name.
Yes I recall my first fight night. I walked in and the first thing I noticed was that everyone was really good looking. It was like they took every hot person in NY and put them in one small room. I didn’t know that there were so many models, I knew nothing about it. I didn’t even know what an agency was. It sounded like a robot was having a seizure in the room ( this was the first time I was hearing dubstep). Bekim opened my eyes and ears… Fucking Bastard. I could have stayed a sober nursery school teacher/ Boxer. Well anyway. I didn’t know who I was fighting. Turned out to be a black guy a bit bigger than me I had seen and kinda knew around from the street. I beat his ass up. He was scared of me, he vomited in the back right after the fight. I couldn’t knock him out, I was a kid and not as strong back then.
When you get professional boxers versus models, the outcome is pretty much obvious, yet more and more models have taken a certain interest in this event. What is the reason behind this, in your opinion?
Think of it this way. If I a model fights a pro, they still look good win or lose. The only outcome they can have is looking ballsy I guess. I have noticed though more models are winning and putting up fights, because they wanna be the champ of this shit. Everyone wants a piece of me, everyone wants to be the champ.
Fuck no, I wouldn’t be a model if it wasn’t for this shit. Besides, no one has ever messed up my face, one thing I pride myself on is fast head movement.
What’s next for ‘Rockstar’ Charlie?
Keep on keeping on. Gonna keep boxing and keep working harder on my photography.. Things never stopped moving forward, I just hope it stays that way.
Photos : Easton Schirra © CHASSEUR MAGAZINE