Since first appearing on our television screens last August, Alik Alfus, the fresh-faced, boisterous and cheeky chap from New York has stolen our hearts – and that of girlfriend Louise Thompson – as one of the newer cast members of Made In Chelsea.
The eligible 26-year-old, who attended the exclusive Riverdale Country School – where tuition fees rank among the highest in the world – is the co-owner of a successful textiles company called Libra Leather, alongside his father and sister. The Jewish family-owned business sources the most exotic and luxurious skins from around the globe.
With the 10th series recently launched on E4, Jewish News this week caught up with Alik to ask him whether wedding bells are in the air, if he prefers living in London to New York and why Jamie Laing, Spencer Matthews and Sam Thompson always seem to have trouble in love…
JN: You’ve been part of Made In Chelsea for a year now. What have the past 12 months been like for you?
AA: Oh my gosh, it’s been a complete rollercoaster. I was just a normal Joe selling skins in New York City and then suddenly I was on reality TV with Made In Chelsea: New York. I didn’t know anybody beforehand. I started dating Louise and when the summer season ended, I was invited to come to London. So in the span of a week I packed up all my stuff, moved out, put it into storage and flew to the UK.
JN:When you joined the show, did you expect to find love with a British girl?
AA: Expect to find love? When does anybody expect to find love? When you expect to find love, you find nothing at all!
JN: We’ve heard that Louise is planning on moving out to New York. Should we all be rushing out to buy hats for your wedding?
AA:I wouldn’t say “rushing”, but the conversation is certainly on the table. I guess we are at a point where we are very comfortable and in love, so the next step is to be in the same country and live together. My work prohibits me from being in London. I’m very fortunate enough to be the owner’s son of a very successful leather company in New York. Had I not been his son, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up and leave for a year and then come back. I’m very aware of how fortunate I am to have been given the opportunity and have such a great experience with it.
JN:What does your family think of Louise? Has she been welcomed into the fold of the Alfus family?
AA: She’s very sociable. She fits in well and is able to roll with the punches. My family are fans and my father is happy. It makes him happy to see me happy.
JN: Have you introduced Louise to any Jewish customs or traditions?
AA: (Laughs) She gets a kick out of when I sing Chanukah songs! I guess my mannerisms and personality is very Jewish. She has second-hand exposure to the culture through my expressions, my personality, my attitude – that’s all very Jewish.
JN:You work in the family business, Libra Leather, alongside your father and sister. Is it nice working with your family? Are you closer as a result, or does it cause more arguments?
AA: It’s a double-edged sword. Working for a family company means I can talk to them like they are my family. It causes issues when one person thinks their way is better than the other person’s way. But, overall, we work very well together. My father, Mitch, is very experienced and it’s impossible to ignore how successful he is, so that automatically means we take his word over whatever opinions we have. Even if I have another opinion, we go with him. We butt heads and sometimes he doesn’t like to listen to other ways or more modern methods, but other than that, there isn’t really a struggle, it’s seamless. My younger sister heads up the LA-based operation. When she was in New York, she was very competitive and trying to prove herself, but now there’s a nice balance.
JN: The cast all went off to Los Angeles recently. Can you see yourself swapping New York for London or Los Angeles permanently?
AA: Not in a million years! LA is a whole other ball game. People don’t go off to work until 11am – what is that? You’re missing out, there’s too much to do. New York’s got an energy, it’s got pace, it’s got a pulse, it’s got pizzazz. You walk the streets and you feel part of the community. LA, you’ve got to drive everywhere and your day’s done. I don’t know how anybody gets anything done over there!
JN: What have been some of the more shocking moments during your time on the show?
AA: First and foremost, being accused of cheating when I hadn’t cheated at all! I quite enjoyed throwing it in everybody’s face, to be honest with you. That was a shocking moment. In fact, I think the most shocking moments have been to do with all the cheating by the other cast members. What’s going on? I have no idea, man. I guess it’s a Chelsea thing.
JN: You’ve managed to hold down a stable, loving relationship – what makes you different to the rest of the guys, including Jamie, Spencer and Alex, who all seem to have disastrous love lives?
AA: It’s the difference between a man and a boy! A boy doesn’t understand discipline or restraint. A man should understand all those things and be able to adjust whatever wants and desires he may have at any given moment. So you could say Louise definitely has a man!
• Made In Chelsea continues on Monday, 9pm, on E4