Oftentimes, we find ourselves being introduced to someone new at a social gathering. These situations are always interesting, sometimes exciting, occasionally surprising—and often begin with a simple question, “So, what do you do?”
"So, What do you do?" - Alexandru Aldea
In celebration of this societal staple of socializing, we are asking TKE Nation “What do you do?” For our collegiate members, career trajectory is a large part of what draws them to groups and organizations on campus. As one of the largest fraternities in North America, TKE claims a wide range of careers and more success stories than we can count! We want to share some of those stories with you.
On a semi-regular basis, or as frequently as we come across Tekes with an interesting career path, we will publish a “So, what do you do?” article. If you, or a Teke whom you know, has made a big splash in their professional life, please submit them to us at Headquarters. TKE strives to create Better Men for a Better World and we want to hear from them. Submissions can be emailed to TKEOGC@TKE.ORG with the subject “So, what do you do?”
Frater Alexandru Aldea (Alpha-Iota - Hamilton College) has recently left behind a long career as a lawyer to pursue a passion for acting. Alex stars as Martin Luther in the six-part CNN Original Series, POPE: The Most Powerful Man In History. The series debuted on CNN on Sunday, March 11 at 10 P.M. ET/PT and Alex stars in episode 4 and makes appearances in episode 6.
We caught up with Alex to learn more about this attorney and investment banker turned actor.
TKE HQ: From TKE to law school to acting. Not a traditional path. Let’s start from the beginning, how did your get started in TKE?
BB: I graduated college in 1999 from Alpha-Iota at Hamilton College. When I got to campus in 1995, I looked around at the fraternity options. I talked to a buddy of mine on the ski team. And he said, well, what about TKE?
TKE HQ:I understand that the Alpha Iota chapter wasn’t active at the time. What was the process like to get it started?
BB: I contacted Indianapolis and said, Hey, would you guys be willing to send someone out and get a colony going? And so they sent out, who else, Buckwheat! He came out and helped us get everything started. So I have the lowest scroll number of anybody there after like 1982.
TKE HQ: That would be a great experience, not everyone gets to start things from the ground up.
BB: I was so happy to be able to bring TKE back to campus, it’s a really cool story to be able to have. Several years later I even came back to speak at the college when they went from a colony to a chapter. It was really great. There have been so many great, amazing people that I have been able to meet have been great.
The TekeSpring 1997 Vol. 90 #2
TKE HQ: So you were on track with your law career. How is it that you ended up becoming an actor? Are you still an attorney or are you acting full time?
BB: I’m still licensed to be an attorney. I had ten years of active practice. Then, I’m in my late thirties and a buddy of mine said hey, do you want to be in my spec TV pilot?
TKE HQ: Sounds out of the blue. What does it mean to be in a spec TV pilot?
BB: So, spec means on speculation. You don’t get paid to be in the pilot. He was shooting something for TV about mobsters. You know, I’m from Jersey and this is being shot in Jersey so what else are you going to do? You’re going to do mobster stuff, right?
TKE HQ: So there you are, a practicing attorney, this opportunity comes out of the blue and you say sure why not – how did it go?
BB: I was on set, and it was just so much fun. That one day on set was more fun than ten years of law. I didn’t have a problem being an attorney, I didn’t dislike it. It’s a pretty combative role, I was a litigator. So being in court all day took a bit of a toll. So it wasn’t my perfect fit. And then I stumbled on acting, which I did a little in school. And here I am on a small set doing a TV pilot.
TKE HQ: Did you decide right away to take a chance on acting?
BB: I had to ask myself… can I at my age now, totally, radically change my career. And the answer came back on a gut level. Yeah, I have to do this. I have been acting full time since January of 2017.
TKE HQ:Not long at all. How is it working for you so far?
BB: I have been on a couple of tv shows already, I did a bunch of movies, mostly small stuff and a lot of shorts. I just one best actor for the Jersey City Pop Up Film Festival.
TKE HQ: Let’s talk CNN and the Pope series. What can you tell us about it?
BB: The whole series was shot in Philadelphia at some really amazing venues. We went to Bryn Mawr College campus. They have some beautiful cloisters there. We turned it into Rome. And you get to see it through the eyes of Martin Luther.
TKE HQ: What is your role?
BB: I play Martin Luther. I am in the fourth episode which aired April 1st. The series itself begins on March 11th. It’s really a chronology of all of the Popes. Liam Neeson will be narrating it, which is pretty awesome.
TKE HQ: How did you land the role?
BB: They do not believe in wigs or fake mustaches or face beards or anything like that. So on some level, everyone involved had to have a pretty passing resemblance to the character. So when I read this, I submitted my self-tape. I got dressed up in a little bit of a medieval garb, put my hair down in like a monk cut. They called me back and said, You are our Martin Luthor.
TKE HQ: Well that worked out nicely. What did you have to do next?
BB: When I got to the set they said, We need you to get your hair cut like a monk for us. So I said… okay, what does that mean? And they said, well, you need to shave the top of your head like a monk. So, I said Go for it - and they did. In essence, I was tonsured, like a monk.
TKE HQ: Sounds like it was a good thing you weren’t attached to your hairstyle.
BB: They were impressed. It was kind of a long shot for them to ask. But it is my absolute passion to be an actor and I am over the moon to have been selected.
TKE HQ: Would you say this is your biggest role to date?
BB: I would say so. It’s going to be aired nationally, so that is pretty awesome. And I am very satisfied with my role and everything that came out of it.
TKE HQ: What is next for you?
BB: Right now we are in pilot season, so I am doing auditions as most actors do. Always looking for the next project to be on. And I am excited about all of the potential possibilities.
You can follow Frater Alex at @iamalexaldea or learn more about his career at alexaldea.com.