HANOVER, Pennsylvania — Adriano “Bubba” Almony’s memories of his childhood in Hanover return to his Catholic upbringing.
As a student at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic school in McSherrystown, Almony said he developed a strong sense of morals and learned to keep his faith close.
That faith is what has tethered him in the high-profile, and at times high-stress, career of bodyguarding the rich and famous.
From boxing champion Floyd Mayweather to Jersey Shore personality Vinny Guadagnino, Almony has served on the security details of numerous stars.
“A lot of people just think you’re just kind of there looking cool next to the celebrity,” Almony said.
Almony, 24, explained the job requires rigorous training, strong character and alertness. He has an extensive martial arts background going back eight years.
Much younger than most of his peers, Almony, who currently lives in Fairfield, New Jersey, wants to use his rapid upward trajectory in the executive protection field to uplift others.
“Work hard, make sacrifices and have a strong faith, and you can get anywhere with those three components,” he said.
Passion, purpose and calling
Nicknamed “Bubba” by his mother when he was young, Almony always imagined he would be a police officer or some type of bodyguard.
Mainly, he wanted to “help people and make a difference,” he said.
Almony started out with small security jobs, including working at the Dew Tour in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 17.
“Just right away, I fell in love with the field and really believed it was my passion, purpose and calling in life,” he said.
As Almony built his resume, he made more connections with influential people, like SwiftOnDemand, an artist and producer for rapper Cardi B. People seemed to quickly pick up on his trustworthiness, Almony said.
Over the years, Almony has worked for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ children, top eyewear designer Corey Woods, singer and songwriter Neon Hitch, rapper Young Doph and Tony Sunshine from the hip hop group Terror Squad, among others.
His Instagram account, which has more than 22,000 followers, includes testimonials from the likes of NBA star Dwight Howard and Grammy nominated record producer James Worthy. He has accompanied stars to top nightclubs and New York Fashion Week.
“I’ve just been really blessed to be around some of the people that I’ve been around,” he said.
But the most fulfilling moment of Amony’s career came last year when he worked on the 9/11 security detail for the annual ceremonies held at the Ground Zero Memorial.
The commemorative event is attended by the governors of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Police Commissioner, the head of the U.S. Army and former and current mayors like Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. The detail is tasked with the event’s security, and Almony hopes to have the opportunity again this year.
“That’s just something that doesn’t happen every day, and I’m just forever grateful for that,” he said.
Throughout his career, Almony has felt like God has put signs along the way that this is the career he needs to be doing.
“It’s almost like I’m living a dream sometimes,” he said.
Features of the job
Almony has a serious dedication to his craft.
“It’s not one of the things where you could just walk into it,” Almony said of his field.
He spoke of the sacrifices he’s made in his career, like avoiding going out and enjoying drinks and having to keep a tight circle of friends.
The discipline Almony has learned from martial arts has been a handy tool in his toolbox. In addition, he has undergone several trainings like First Aid, CPR, AED and emergency vehicle training.
“You have to be able to adapt quickly to change, you have to be able to tolerate high levels of stress,” Almony said.
Bodyguards must be cognizant of the body language and movements of potential threats as well as nearby police departments and hospitals, Almony said.
They need to be prepared for anything from assaults to stabbings, even if they don’t directly involve a client but happen in the general vicinity.
In one case, an altercation broke out between a client and another person at a nightclub, and the person ended up trying to strike Almony’s partner in the head with a glass liquor bottle. It was up to Almony to deescalate the situation.
“You’ve got to go with what you’re training says,” he said. “Just hope that God’s looking over you at the time, and do what you can to get your client out of there safely.”
Opening a door
Almony has a personal philosophy that one reaps what they give. That’s why he tries to help the less fortunate by donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, feeding the hungry and providing clothes for the homeless.
For Almony, success is not about status or money, but “who you’re inspiring, what you’re giving back and who you lifted up.”
He said he encourages young people to follow their dreams, whether they are from a big city or a small town like Hanover.
He referenced the Bible quote which states that “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” — something he fills is a key piece of scripture to live by.
“God is the only one who can open a door, and no one can touch that door,” he said.
Almony plans to continue working hard and hopes to be honored at a ceremony for bodyguarding in Atlanta next summer, although he acknowledged that awards aren’t everything.
For people interested in the field, Almony said he strongly suggests that they take the work seriously.
Thinking it’s “cool or fun” will only get someone hurt, he said.
Ultimately, the career track requires the kind of dedication that Almony has in spades.
“There’s not an ego with our shields or badges,” Almony said. “We’re human at the end of the day.”
Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesn’t come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux by giving a small amount monthly, or with a onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.