Besides being a natural in front of the camera, he also has a knack for playing video games.
WWhen a New York-based modeling and talent management agency asked Sammy Pandolfi if he was interested in modeling after seeing the videos he posted on social media platform TikTok, his first thought was, “This is a scam”.
Pandolfi, an 18-year-old Berkley resident, researched the agency and then called the New York phone number. Soul Artist Management’s message turned out to be legitimate. Due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID, the agency has turned to social media as a testing platform instead of traveling to Europe.
“They were interested in talking to me and my feelings went from skepticism to pure excitement,” says Pandolfi, who signed a contract with the company at the end of January.
In March, he traveled to New York to personally meet his new agents and do his first professional photoshoot. The photos were for an online portfolio, which is used to promote Pandolfi to magazines, designers and others looking for models.
“He has an incredible face,” said Sarah Hamilton-Bailey, director of Soul Artist Management agency. “He’s also a perfect size. Our clients respond to him extremely well. We have had big, big brands finding out about him. He confirmed the YSL (Saint Laurent) show which is truly unheard of with a whole new face.
“Now we have a lot of editorial magazines around the world touring America that ask for it as well. It attracts the attention of fashion stylists, art directors, designers.
Within a few months of his March trip to New York, Pandolfi has already been in Vogue, had castings – auditions – with some great designers and traveled twice in Europe.
One of those trips was to the south of France, where he only spent 41 hours before returning home because he didn’t get the modeling job.
“He handled everything with incredible grace,” said his mother, Stéphanie Pandolfi, of her two-day trip to France. “When I asked him if he was okay, he said, ‘I had a great experience. I learned what these castings are all about, I met some great people and I got to come home with my beautiful girlfriend. ‘”
The second trip was more successful. Pandolfi has been selected to participate in the Saint Laurent Spring / Summer 2022 Menswear Collection Fashion Show in Venice, Italy.
The iconic fashion company took him to Paris to make sure he was a good fit for the show. There he met Anthony Vaccarello, Creative Director of YSL, who liked his look, and Pandolfi got the job. He was one of the 54 models in the series.
From Paris, Pandolfi flew to Venice, filling nine days of photo ops, tours and, of course, the parade with very expensive designer clothes.
Pandolfi, who had no previous modeling or acting experience, is more of an exception than the rule.
“We have new faces coming in, and we are testing them, and sometimes it just doesn’t work,” Hamilton-Bailey said. “Sammy has a face the camera loves. It is a little natural.
Pandolfi graduated in 2020 from an online school and decided to take a gap year before college. He was supposed to backpack around Europe, but COVID has put an end to those plans. Instead, he found ways to earn money, play video games, and hang out in a skate park. He still plans to continue his studies, but for now he will continue to expand his modeling career.
Besides being a natural in front of the camera, he also has a knack for playing video games. In 2018, at the age of 15, he was playing at a professional level and making money in Fortnite tournaments and on Twitch, a video game live streaming service.
Due to a chronic inflammatory disease called eosinophilic esophagitis, Pandolfi attended online school. The condition prevented her from sitting in class on certain days. The disease causes a series of stomach problems, including severe pain, the inability to swallow food, and vomiting. His symptoms have since improved, but one of the things he hopes to do if his career takes off is to use modeling to raise awareness and fund the fight against the disease.
“Although I am doing better and can function normally, there are a lot of people who are not,” he said.
Pandolfi loves to skate and travel. While in Venice, he met a group of Orthodox Jews. He approached them and said, “Shalom. I am an American Jew; How is it going? I didn’t really know what else to say other than that.
Her other interests include spending time with family and friends. Pandolfi has stated that he appreciates the time he has to be with the people he loves because he doesn’t know how often he will be traveling. In addition, a move to New York will eventually be necessary for a modeling career.
“She’s my favorite person to hang out with,” her mom said. “He’s confident and comfortable with who he is, but not pushy. I am proud of his attitude and the way he manages while remaining down to earth.