When most young girls were figuring out school work, puppy love, and other growing pains, this Brit with the rock star name was busy with part-time modelling at 13 and being the face of a major Burberry campaign when she turned 15. No big deal. Now, at the age of 22 and armed with a CV most models would define as a retirement plan, she’s one of the few new-gen models continuing to rewrite the rules of the high fashion game.
MANIFESTO: You were scouted to be a model at just 13. Has starting out in modelling at such an early age been advantageous? Or on hindsight, you’ve not had a normal childhood?
SAM ROLLINSON: I definitely found that it had advantages. I may have missed a few sleepovers but ultimately it was worth it for getting the experience before I went full-time. When I eventually went full-time at 18, I was ready.
M: What is the toughest part about modelling that those on the outside don’t realise?
SR: The (sometimes) very long hours, and spending a lot of time on your own. Also, dealing with a lot of rejection.
M: Though it is still early days to think about it, but what would you like to be remembered for?
SR: In modelling, probably my bob. In life, that I’m kind and fun to be around.
M: Your toughest photoshoot or runway experience to date?
SR: A magazine shoot I did went from 9am to 3am. I was knackered!
M: Who would you consider as your mentor in this industry?
SR: My mother agent Michelle. She knows the industry inside out and she guides me through it with great love and care.
M: Modelling is as much of a social media game now. Do you enjoy that aspect?
SR: I think it’s absolute madness that you could get a job based on your following. But it’s just part of the job now and I get on with it.
M: How much of what we see on your Instagram page is the real Sam Rollinson?
SR: All of it. All the posts I write the captions for. But photos of me and my mates/boyfriend, are more me than say a photo of me thanking someone for a bag.
M: You love your tea. How many cups do you drink a day? And which tea flavour is your cup of tea?
SR: I like good old Yorkshire tea best. I’ll probably have between two to five cups a day.
M: What is your go-to drink at the bar?
SR: Gin and tonic.
M: What is an essential item in your luggage for a frequent flyer like you? What is one essential beauty item too?
SR: A good book. Also a good hand cream, I really like L’Occitane en Provence.
M: What was the craziest experience you’ve had when travelling?
SR: Getting a plane diverted to Newcastle that was meant to go to London via New York. It was fashion week as well, so loads of models (and Anna Wintour) had to try and navigate our way back to the capital at 3am!
M: How would you describe your childhood? What kind of kid were you in school?
SR: I would say I had a pretty normal, happy childhood. I was always good at school, never a troublemaker, apart from maybe talking too much. I like to see myself as the joker of the group.
M: You love your music. Who is getting a high rotation on your playlist now?
SR: Blossoms. They’re a new indie band. I genuinely have had them on repeat for days.
M: Name three songs that best describes you.
SR: The Courteeners’ Not Nineteen Forever, Arctic Monkeys’ When the Sun Goes Down, and Jake Bugg’s Gimme the Love.
M: Which has been the craziest music festival you’ve been to?
SR: My favourite festival is Benicàssim in Spain, it always has an incredible line-up, is the most fun ever; and has the advantage of being able to spend the day at the beach and see the bands at night. It’s a festival and a holiday rolled into one.
M: Where is the most beautiful place you’ve been and why?
SR: The Peak District. You can’t rival English countryside, especially if it is in Yorkshire.
M: Your favourite movie of all time?
SR: Good Burger. Me and my brother would watch it religiously as children, and I still find it really funny now.
M: When was the last time you were star struck?
SR: I went to the GQ Awards and Ricky Gervais was at the table next to us. That was pretty cool.
M: Name one famous person you would like to meet.
SR: Florence Welch.
M: Do you have a guilty pleasure that isn’t Pokémon Go?
SR: I could happily sit and watch Come Dine with Me all day.
M: Dream holiday?
SR: I really want to go to Thailand for Christmas next year.
M: Do you cook/bake? If so, what’s your signature dish?
SR: I do a mean spaghetti Bolognese, and I’m pretty good at a Victoria sponge too.
M: Who is your best friend? And how did you meet?
SR: Charlotte Wiggins. We met at a Burberry shoot when I was 15 and she was 16. We’re like peas in a pod, and we have a great laugh wherever we go.
M: Do you dress up for Halloween? What would you be dressing up as this year?
SR: I do indeed. I want to go as Gandalf and my boyfriend as Frodo from Lord of the Rings. I think that would be quite funny.
M: Craziest Halloween experience?
SR: Last year, my group of mates and I went to this huge Halloween party. I went as Tinker Bell and my other best mate Eve went as Miley Cyrus; everyone else was dressed really scary; we didn’t get the memo (Laughs).
M: The end of the year is coming. Completed your resolution yet?
SR: Oh God no! Resolutions are made to be broken within 15 days, aren’t they?
M: How and where would you be spending NYE?
SR: With my boyfriend, but the location is TBC.
M: Your life motto?
SR: Just roll with it.
[More pictures in the October 2016 issue of MANIFESTO]
Photography: Paul Empson
Fashion Director: Jonathan Yee
Styling: Sara Dunn
Styling Assistant: Dee Moran
Hair: Ben Jones
Make-up: James Molloy @ Premier
Agency Support: Women Management New York