When you’ve survived the Marines, fought for your country, and lost a leg and a half in the process, summoning up the courage to strip down for a national underwear campaign might seem like no big deal.
And Marine veteran Chris Van Etten sure looks at ease in his new Jockey campaign, where he poses in boxer briefs that show off his bulging muscles.
The 25-year-old San Diegan is joined by firefighter Lisa Cusimano and new adoptive father Michael Cottone for the new ads, which spotlight “everyday heroes” and runs with the tagline: “Show ’Em What’s Underneath.”
“The ‘Show ‘Em What’s Underneath’ campaign encourages everyone to be comfortable with themselves — imperfections and all,” Matthew Waller, senior manager of corporate communications and brand partnerships, announced in a press release.
This isn’t the first time that Van Etten has flaunted that comfort he has in his own skin.
Last year, images taken of him by Michael Stokes, 53, went viral. The Los Angeles-based photographer shot an entire series of amputee war vets posing in next to nothing — or nothing at all.
Van Etten, of course, isn’t just good looking — he’s also incredibly selfless and brave, and has a remarkably upbeat attitude about what has happened to him.
“I don’t get mad at the fact that I lost my legs. My life changed for the better,” he says in a video for Jockey. “You have to keep pushing. You have to keep going against all odds.”
In May of 2012, Van Etten lost his legs — and a very close friend — when an IED was triggered in Afghanistan.
“At the beginning you’re still so shocked, and then I was so concerned about learning to walk again. And then when everything finally slowed down I was overwhelmed with all the mental aspects of it,” he told People Magazine.
But, he added: “I didn’t want something like that to control my entire life, so that’s something that I worked on everyday to show that I’m in control of my whole life.”
He’s clearly been making the most of his situation, inspiring others and now finding work as an underwear model.
“Not all of us are lucky enough to get a full life, and as long as I have mine, I’m going to make sure that I celebrate it the best I can,” he told the Today show.
While Van Etten seems to be getting the most buzz, the Jockey campaign’s other stars are also worthy of applause.
Cusimano, who is seen modeling a matching blue bra and panty set, says in a video for the campaign: “If you look at me, I’m not your typical, average firefighter.”
Her line of work, the 22-year-old added, “has really taught me to put others first. You become a selfless person.”
Cottone, 33, recently adopted a little boy named Vincent with his wife after they found difficulty conceiving on their own.
“I wanted to be a father to teach the life lessons I’ve learned … to guide him on the right path,” he said.