Dec 9, 2013

Ivo the Bulgarian Bodybuilder


I arrived in Los Angeles on July 3rd, 1985, and stayed with my friend Tom in Van Nuys while looking for an apartment.  Things fell into place very quickly: by July 10th, I was working two days a week a "contributing editor" at Muscle and Fitness.  And I met Ivo my first day on the job.

Ivo was a "stringer" for the magazine, reporting on minor and amateur competitions all over the state.  About 30 years old, with short brown hair, a boyish open face, massive shoulders, and slates for abs.

He invited me to lunch at a place near work, and told me his story.  In retrospect, it didn't add up -- like that of the Norwegian hustler who stole my boyfriend a few months later -- but I was new in town, and I believed everything.

1.  His family fled Communist Bulgaria when he was a kid.
2. His father was a professor of economics in Harvard.
3. He graduated from Yale in 1976 and went to work for The Wall Street Journal.
4. In 1982 he returned to Bulgaria to help his cousin get out.
5. He won a Turkish oil wrestling contest (it's a real sport).
6. He was arrested and imprisoned for six months.
7. His book on the subject was coming out from Random House.

The full story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.