Last year, I made a conscious effort to get to know everyone in my entry. But Alex Schidlovsky ’16 is still a mystery to me. No matter how much we hang out, I’m always left with the feeling there is so much I don’t know about him. Fortunately, this means every time we talk I learn more, and our interview was no different. I finally found out why why his cat is named Olie, how exactly he’s related to Russian royalty and why he always burns his popcorn.
So, Alex, are you 100 percent Russian?
By blood, yes, but I was born in New York. My parents grew up on Long Island, but my great grandparents are all from Russia. Then my grandparents moved to Long Island during the Revolution so my parents grew up totally American but spoke Russian at home. And then my dad got a job in Moscow when I was six months old, so we moved there and we stayed there for 15 years. Then I went to England for a year and a half for boarding school right outside London and then I came midway through sophomore year of high school back to Long Island. In Russia I went to Russian school and we only spoke English at home so that I would learn both languages. But yeah, Russian was my first language.
What was it like living in Russia?
It was a totally different life. People don’t realize. I had bodyguards and stuff, and I had a driver. It was for our safety because our neighbors were fighting. Everyone had drivers – all of my friends; everyone had bodyguards and huge fences around their houses with cameras up front.
How did everyone know that you were American?
Just because. And [the security] might be partly because my uncle owned a big company. He had a lot of bodyguards and a security car behind him driving all the time. My uncle had a house right next to ours and when [he and his family] moved, my best friends moved into that house. At one point they were redoing it, and they found all of these devices in the walls that I guess someone had planted to hear what my uncle was saying.
Rumor has it you’re related to Russian royalty.
It’s really distant. My grandmother on my dad’s side was born a duchess, but she didn’t marry royalty, so my dad lost all his ranks. But, yeah, on my dad’s side, I’m related to royalty. On my mom’s side, not really. We’re related to a bunch of generals in the army.
I think you would make a pretty accomplished general yourself! Being your accomplice in KAOS [Killing as an Organized Sport] last year was so much fun. Tell everyone what happened!
I had Chloe Snow [’16] as my target, and you had to interview her for an article, so before she got to your room, I hid in your closet. Then while you were interviewing her I just jumped out and shot her. It was kind of weird and creepy.
And our whole entry could hear her scream in my room from the common room! Who else did you kill?
I think she was the only person I killed. I kind of stopped playing. I had to shoot someone who was very protective and way too into it so I was like, “whatever.” After two days if you don’t shoot someone they [the Death Squad] come and get you, so they shot me. It was funny, they came to the common room while me, Antonio [Dominguez ’14] and Mark [Pomella ’16] were playing Mario World and Anthony [Evans ’16] and the lacrosse guys were [hanging out]. They came in and they’re like, “we’re looking for Alex Schidlovsky,” and we were like, “yeah, we don’t know where he is,” so they had no idea it was me and kept knocking on my door. They asked the lax guys after like 10 minutes, and they were like, “hey, he’s sitting right there,” so they shot me.
That’s hilarious! I hope they appreciated your door decorations – the Secret Santa gifts Molly [Leonard ’16] gave you last year were so cool!
Yeah. I have a weird obsession with Jennifer Aniston. [Smiles.] She’s my love. And she gets hotter with age. Molly put little photos of her on my door everywhere. It was kind of cool. I think it was there til the last day of school. That was really funny.
And the popcorn! I still think it’s funny how you burn your popcorn every time you make it. Molly’s gift was perfect.
Yeah, I love popcorn. Molly gave me popcorn with clear instructions on how to pop it. And it actually worked. I don’t know why I didn’t know how to do that before. I think I would put numbers in, like for how long I want to leave it in for, but she told me to just press the popcorn button, and it worked. In the microwave where I do it at home we don’t have a popcorn button, so I didn’t realize it actually worked.
Speaking of home, how’s the Oops doing?
So I have a 21-year-old, a 16-year-old and a six-year old as siblings. Mia, the six-year-old, is called an “oops” because she wasn’t expected. When my mom told us she was pregnant we didn’t believe what she said. I was like, “good one, Mom, let’s just order food.” And she was like, “no, I’m being serious.” She was definitely not expected but she’s awesome … My younger sister calls her an oops. I don’t think she understands what that means, but it’s really funny.
Does your family have any pets?
We have Olie, our cat, and a chocolate lab from Russia. She’s our little Happy Hippo, we call her [that] because she’s very fat. And then when we moved to America we got a cat [who we called] Olie because we found him “On the LIE,” the Long Island Expressway. He was a little kitten; he was injured and almost blind in one eye and needed surgery. We found him as a kitten and now he’s our cat.
Would you say that you and [your roommate and teammate] Blake [Mackall ’16] have a bromance?
Yeah. For sure. I don’t want to say all of us [sophomores on the tennis team] have a bromance it’s just… Yeah, everyone has a bromance with everyone. The sophomores in general, the five of us, we’re just super close. I think we’re closer than any other grade was, starting from the first week last year. We all clicked.
So Halloween is coming up. What was your Halloween costume last year? Didn’t you guys dress up together?
Blake and I were going to be Adam and Eve. I was going to be Eve, and then when we got the costumes [in the mail], we realized they were too small. Mine would have never fit. I think it was a small women’s size. It was just really unrealistic. Yeah, it was just a full-length nude-colored bodysuit with leaves here [points to chest and groin].
On a related note, do you believe in ghosts?
When I was a little kid in Russia we lived in a really old house. There was this one room in the house, the playroom, and two or three times a week, I’d look up into the corner of the room and follow nothing [with my eyes]. I’d be like, “look, Mom, it’s a man.” She was like, “whatever” and didn’t say anything. We went over to our neighbors’ house at some point that year – they had been living there for a while – and they were like, “oh, have you guys met the ghost?” and my mom was like, “what? That’s not possible.” I would be able to describe him – apparently he always wore some hat. So apparently I saw a ghost.
Any ghosts at [the College]?
[Laughs.] I haven’t seen one yet.