Aleksey Vayner, a Yale student who catapulted to Internet infamy with a disastrous video resume he sent to a prospective employer, has been found dead at his home in Queens, New York.
Aleksey Vayner has died at the age of 29, according to the New York City Medical Examiner – and reports from relatives suggest that he may have experienced a drug overdose
A spokeswoman for the medical examiner told Ivygate that a man matching Aleksey Vayner’s description under the name of Alex Stone died at 8 a.m. on January 19th at Jamaica Hospital, Queens.
She said the cause of death was still to be determined and the autopsy will take several weeks.
“It looks like he took some drugs or medicine, had a heart attack, a friend of his drove him to the hospital, and they couldn’t resuscitate him,” said Boris Vayner, who identified himself as Aleksey’s step-cousin to Gawker.com.
“Not exactly sure though, I’m too far away.”
Public records confirm that Aleksey Vayner had changed his name in April 2012.
It is believed that he decided to go under the name of Alex Stone after the video resume he sent to UBS for an investment banking job in 2006 went viral online and was mocked by millions.
In the video, titled Impossible is Nothing, a gravely serious Aleksey Vayner attempts to prove his mental and physical fitness by talking about the meaning of success while lifting 495-pound weights, smacking tennis balls faster than 140 miles per hour, ball-dancing with a scantily-clad woman and breaking 7 bricks with his hand.
“Ignore the losers, bring your A-game, your determination and your drive to the field, and the success will follow you,” Aleksey Vayner says in the video.
The video was forwarded around Wall Street and quickly went viral.
The New York Times called it The Resume Mocked ‘Round the World, and Aleksey Vayner told the newspaper that he thought he might never get a job in the financial industry as a result of the video’s popularity.
While the video became the laughing stock of Wall Street, Aleksey Vayner said he was not amused.
“He said he feels like a victim,” the Times reported in October 2006, three months after the video was recorded.
“The job materials that were leaked and posted for public view included detailed information about him that allowed strangers to scrutinize and harass him, he said.”
Even before he arrived as a freshman at Yale, Aleksey Vayner had become known for exaggerating his own feats.
At a 2002 event in New Haven for high-school seniors who have been admitted to Yale, Aleksey Vayner told current students all about his abilities and specialized skills.
He told Jordan Bass, a freshman student at the Ivy League college, that he had taught tennis to Jerry Seinfeld and Harrison Ford and that the Dalai Lama had apparently written his college recommendation.
“He talked for, like, six hours straight the first night,” said Jordan Bass to the New Yorker magazine after they investigated Aleksey Vayner in 2006 following his notorious video job application.
“He had a lot of affiliations with élite institutions. He was an action star, an espionage expert, and a professional athlete. He would be on the C.I.A. firing range one day and, the next, at a martial-arts competition that took place in this secret system of tunnels underneath Woodstock, New York.
“Then he was at a skiing competition in Switzerland. He told us the Russian Mafia had him forging passports.”
Struck by the outlandish claims of the prospective student, student journalist Jordan Bass investigated and eventually wrote a title for the Yale campus tabloid entitled CRAAZY PREFROSH LIES, IS JUST WEIRD.
Attending Yale despite the attention of the article, Aleksey Vayner arrived with a CV that now boasted he had begun modelling for the price of $200 an hour, written a book about the Holocaust and founded a charity for troubled children.
He also claimed to have won two tennis matches against Pete Sampras, retired from professional martial arts and mastered the art of “bone setting”.
These amazing claims informed part of Aleksey Vayner’s video résumé which he sent to UBS and included the further claims that he was a an international rumba dancing specialist and could split a stack of bricks with his bare hands.
Today, Aleksey Vayner is listed online as the manager of a company called Ultimate Success Systems, LLC, and a nonprofit called Empower a Child.
It has also been reported that Aleksey Vayner may have been married at some point.
He has maintained a YouTube channel where he posts videos of himself performing athletic feats, such as punching through a block of wood and cracking bricks with his palm.
In an interview from 2010 with motherboard.vice.com, Aleksey Vayner described how the spread of his video had made him feel “like that Star Wars Kid” – referring to Ghyslain Raza, the Canadian boy who had to seek therapy after a secret video of him playing with a mock light saber turned him into a laughing stock.
“I hit rock bottom.”
The videoed interview took place at ROFLCon during which he outlined his continuing passion for weight lifting, martial arts, tennis and Buddhism.
However, a dramatic comment left by a friend on Facebook on January 18th, the night before his death, suggests that Aleksey Vayner’s state of mind may not have recovered from the lashing he took online all those years ago.
“Do not, anyone, sell this idiot ANY pills!” it reads, while the rest of the post is written in Russian and says: “Damned egoist, pick up the phone, who’s going to take care of mom? [you could] sell your source code and f**k off to costa rica. [even] paypal would pay you 2-3 hundred thousand. pick up the phone, bastard.”
In response, at 11.16 p.m. the same night, Aleksey Vayner angrily wrote back to his Facebook friend by responding: “Volodia, go to hell” in Cyrillic.
The news of Aleksey Vayner’s passing was first announced in an email to a group of his friends from Yale.
According to the email, his sister, Tamara and mother, also called Tamara are devastated by the news and are planning a memorial service for January 26th in New York.
The author of the email recounted how when he last saw Aleksey Vayner in December, he was applying to law school, coaching tennis, in good spirits and looking forward to the future.
In his cover letter to UBS, Aleksey Vayner said “as a world-level athlete in several sports, I have developed an insatiable appetite for peak performance and continuous learning”.
On his resume, Aleksey Vayner cited experience as an investment adviser at a firm called Vayner Capital Management. He also claimed he did charity work at an organization called Youth Empowerment Strategies.
The websites for both of the companies went dark shortly after his video resume went viral, however, and there was no evidence that either of the organizations was legitimate.
Arriving in New York from Uzbekistan with his mother at a young age, Aleksey Vayner had recently started his own company and was trying to recover from the debacle his video resume had caused him.
ALEKSEY VAYNER’S COVER LETTER TO UBS:
UBS’s reputation as one of the top investment management firms in the world motivates me to consider a career with your firm.
The fast-paced environment and focus on results and excellence that define UBS would be an ideal place for me in terms of both personality and skills.
I strive in intense, competitive environments. As a world-level athlete in several sports, I have developed an insatiable appetite for peak performance and continuous learning. My trainer and world martial arts champion often said, <<Impossible is just someone’s opinion.>>
I live by those words. My unique mix of previous work experience and my record as a professional athlete demonstrate a level of focus, a pattern of setting and achieving objectives, as well as adaptation to change. I live everyday with passion because I embrace change as a daily challenge.
Nothing will prevail over genuine human relations because we succeed as a team, or we fail as individuals.
The skills outlined on my attached resume, along with my work experience, CFP and RIA certifications demonstrate my aptitude in finance. These skills and the personal qualities and beliefs I bring to my work fit well with UBS work ethic and make me an ideal candidate for a career with UBS.
I would welcome the occasion to further discuss career opportunities with UBS, and look forward to hearing from you soon.