Armand Peri – Hunk of the revue world

Founder of male strip club Hunk-O-Mania Entertainment and CEO of night clubs and entertainment enterprise New Age Productions, Armand Peri’s inspiring story from rags to riches makes him a truly motivational figure in the realm of fitness and entertainment. With over two decades of a journey starting from bodybuilding and painting to business, he has carved a niche for himself in the revue scene with a king’s ransom and stature. Here we get to know him a bit closer.

 

You are the founder of one of the most famous nightclubs, spanning across 20 cities in the US. However, you were born into a very humble family. What’s the inspiration behind this massive success. What kept you going?

The insatiable desire to succeed.

How did you develop an interest in the field of bodybuilding? Any incident that motivated you?

Struggling to find a place in life as an immigrant kid, I was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from my classmates, I decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform my physique. However, my goals were met with many obstacles as my family struggled financially at the time and I was unable to purchase a gym membership nor was I able to buy the necessary foods to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I overcame these obstacles by working at my school gym and was able to lift weights there three times a week. On Sundays, I would commute almost an hour each way from my home in New Jersey to Manhattan to work out at a commercial gym. At the time, commercial gyms were sparse and not as popular as they are today. But, by staying focused and determined, I was able to gain the weight I needed and eventually competed in my first bodybuilding competition where I went on to win Mr. Teen New Jersey.

Armand Peri

Struggling to find a place in life as an immigrant kid, I was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from my classmates, I decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform my physique.

How did you conceive the idea to start a venture like Hunk-O-Mania?

While in college, I met another fellow bodybuilder named Joey V and noticed that Joey was driving around campus in a new Corvette and constantly wore new clothes. I became curious and approached Joey one day and asked what he did for a living. He too was an aspiring bodybuilder but he also worked at a male entertainment revue called “ESCAPES” in Long Island. We hit it off and Joey introduced me to the world of male revue shows.

I was working part-time as a bouncer at the time but this job put me in many dangerous situations and I knew it was a job I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Once I started working at ESCAPES, I began making more money in two hours of dancing than I did working eight hours as security at a nightclub. I quickly left the security job and danced Fridays and Saturday nights and did side-gigs for three to four other entertainment agencies during the week. After finishing my education, I became a freelance architect renderer while working at ESCAPES on the weekends. Eventually, I made more working part-time as a male entertainer than working full-time as an architect. I saved up my earnings and started my own company in 1998 as I saw a void in the nightlife industry. Plus, I got tired of working for shady people who were driving three hours to a gig in Connecticut that’s not happening. So I embarked on my own journey and started Hunk-O-Mania. In the initial stage, I did everything: the door, I was the MC, the host and the dancer.

What differentiates Hunk-O-Mania from other clubs?

We provide a new style of entertainment that is a hybrid between a Broadway-style show and a high-end traditional male revue show. I started my company, Hunk-O-Mania, because I saw a market demand and a better way to do business. Growing the business into 20 locations and a dominant brand wasn’t luck. It involved investing the time in myself and the business.

Armand Peri

“I embarked on my own journey and started Hunk-O-Mania. In the initial stage, I did everything: the door, I was the MC, the host and the dancer.”

How do you select the hunks and train them for your clubs? Is there any specific regime, dance choreography or theatrical exercises that they learn?

Most of the dancers are locals, although a few relocated from other Hunk-O-Mania cities, specifically New York and Atlantic City. We get anywhere from 50 to 120 applications a week through the website HunkOManiaNYC.com. Also, my team and I are constantly travelling to fitness expos and competitions to find talent. These days a lot of people connect with me via Instagram to express interest. From there, we meet with the candidates and get to know about their personality. The thing I scout for in talents is that you can’t just look good; you have to be a good man through and through. We have guys from Brazil, Cuba and professionals who have worked for big designers and walked at New York Fashion Week so that way Hunk-O-Mania is a melting pot for talent. On the contrary front, many people take it as a part-time job where they’re able to pursue other endeavours. For instance, we even have guys who work on Wall Street or are studying to be doctors. This is just how they supplement their income.

Being the man behind many nightclubs, what advice you’d like to give to budding entrepreneurs?

If you are able to bring value and originality to the marketplace then your success will be undeniable.

What is the daily fitness regime that you swear by?

I go for eating low-fat high nutritious foods.

Armand Peri

“I started my company, Hunk-O-Mania, because I saw a market demand and a better way to do business. Growing the business into 20 locations and a dominant brand wasn’t luck. It involved investing the time in myself and the business.”

Being into such demanding fields with gruelling tasks might add to the pressure. How do you attain peace of mind?

Inner peace begins within one’s mindset. Your external success is heavily correlated with your internal success. By believing in yourself and getting rid of negative thoughts, you will be able to establish the necessary foundation to build the life you are looking for and the life you deserve. Scientists say that we only use 10% of our brain, which leaves 90% to be used to achieve greatness. However, many times people are held back due to negative thought patterns and unhealthy external forces. Their inner mindset is not at peace. They hold grudges against other people, focus on past negativities in life and prevent themselves from taking the next steps in achieving their hopes and dreams. I wrote a book entitled “Unparalleled Success” about this subject.

You have also worn hats as a painter right from teenage days. How did your interest in art shape?

As a young boy, I quickly showed a strong talent for art. I worked tirelessly and my talents were soon recognized by various national talent art competitions. I was even lucky enough to travel to Washington, D.C to meet with then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Not long afterwards my hard work paid off as I was accepted into the School of Visual Arts in New York City. My parents, however, had other ideas and pressured me to switch to a more stable and traditional career. After much deliberation, I made the decision to move my university major to architecture.

What fascinates your imagination for your artworks?

My everyday meetings with people from all over the world and my travels and experiences.

What’s that dream that is yet to achieve.

I think it is to travel to every country.

Armand Peri

“Inner peace begins within one’s mindset. Your external success is heavily correlated with your internal success. By believing in yourself and getting rid of negative thoughts, you will be able to establish the necessary foundation to build the life you are looking for and the life you deserve.”

Rapid Fire Questions

1. Things you practice daily for fitness

I Exercise with weights and I eat low-fat highly nutritious foods

2. Your inspirations in the field of bodybuilding

Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been a source of inspiration to me!

3. One habit you’d like to change

Be more kind towards myself, the way I am towards others.

4. What’s the best trait in your personality

Loyalty and honesty

5. What’s the healthiest meal you’d recommend for good health

Oatmeal with raspberries, chia seeds and egg white omelette

6. What are the best nightclubs you’ve been to

Besides mine (lol), Liv Nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida.

7. A favourite hobby of yours.

Reading

8. A place which has the most happening night scene

Definitely Las Vegas, Nevada.

9. A place you want to travel to next

Maldives

10. The essentials you always keep with you

My phone and my laptop

Armand Peri

“As a young boy, I quickly showed a strong talent for art. I worked tirelessly and my talents were soon recognized by various national talent art competitions. I was even lucky enough to travel to Washington, D.C to meet with then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan.”

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