THE HUSTLE ISSUE
FRESH OUT OF COLLEGE, I moved to London to embark on my career, offering to work for free as a fashion assistant just to get my foot in the door. Strapped for cash, I traded nightly housekeeping duties at a hostel near Victoria for a bottom bunk in a room with seven Australian and South African guys. In the hostel’s lobby was a pool table, and with some coaching from my new roommates, my skills became fairly decent. My hustle was better. Good enough on most nights to relieve the American travelers who happened by of 10 to 20 quid—money for food and a tube ticket each day.
Before long I landed my first paying job in the fashion world. The way I see it, I’ve been hustling in one way or another ever since. And I’m not the only one. Americans are a nation of hustlers. Always have been.
In London, where I honed my game, the European aristocracy was still very much a thing. People were born into the upper class, or they weren’t. America may not be quite the meritocracy we like to think it is, but it’s long been a hustler’s paradise—even more so since the Internet hummed to life, turning seemingly anyone with a smartphone, a social media account, and a healthy dose of bravado into an overnight millionaire and a small-screen superstar.
Even in this golden era of hustle, there are no guarantees. But there is a chance. You figure out what you’ve got, and you exploit it to the hilt. You take your shot. Then you take another. You hit every angle. And sometimes you are a little shameless. You want it bad.
This issue of Maxim is dedicated to that lofty pursuit—the hustle—in its many forms. We enlist the brilliant Guggenheim-fellowship-winning novelist Philipp Meyer, author of The Son— an extraordinary multigenerational chronicle of a family of Texas strivers—to offer his own hustler’s credo (page 16). We catch up with Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (page 34) as he sets about turning his Super Bowl win into a would-be career as a pitchman. We introduce you to Alicia Vikander (page 24), the brilliant Swedish actress who’s about to take Hollywood by storm. We look at how the Atlanta Hawks, magnificently shot by artist Pelle Cass, are redefining basketball, turning hustle into a team effort (page 20). We delve into the bodybuilding underground, where some foolhardy gym devotees are risking their health to gain an easy advantage from a dangerous new class of muscle drugs (page 54). And we help you perfect your own hustle with this month’s Informer (page 90), a comprehensive user’s guide to optimizing your online dating strategy.
Meanwhile, we meet the new wave of gorgeous Instagram ingenues who live for a follow (page 42). They hate being called “Insta-girls,” and fair enough. So would I. But I sure do admire their hustle. Likewise David Beckham (page 18), who had plenty of hustle on the field and two years into retirement still can’t seem to slow down. And tech entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield (page 76), who created Flickr and scored an even bigger win with his new billion-dollar app, the workplace communication tool and hustler’s friend Slack. And Tina Kandelaki, the Russian socialite and marketing wiz tasked with reinventing the storied Ak-47—an icon of combat and fear—as a weapon of peace (page 84).
“Hustle is what separates the good from the great,” my creative director aptly pointed out when we discussed ideas for the issue. It’s working harder, faster, and smarter, or sometimes just having more swagger than the next guy.
Whatever strategy you land on, the key is to work it. From one hustler to another: respect.