Updated: Dec 8, 2020
For the debut Interview on Happy Smiley I have had a chat with the incredibly talented (and f**king beautiful) Sam Salter. I was really hoping to do this chat in person to be able to talk deeply with Sam, but Miss Rona isn’t making things easy for any of us, so WhatsApp Voice note had to do.
Sam is a professional dancer, model and social media creator who’s talent knows no bounds. From being an Attitude Mag cover start to dancing all over the world in the gloriously moving, Swan Lake, Sam has built up a dazzling career for himself. To warm up the interview, and give you guys a small insight into Sam's mind, we started with three ice breakers.
1. “What’s the one thing that never fails to make you smile?” to which Sam answered “Kindness” - this goes a long way folks, a smile to a stranger can make their day.
2. “What animal best represents your personality?” Sam replied “Tiger” - take that how you will.
3. As I ask all of you everyday “On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling today?” with a response of “6/10” - Pretty standard if you ask me, even someone who has a perfect life on the exterior won’t be 10/10 all of the time.
I’ve known of Sam for about four years know, but I've known him personally for probably around two. I actually used to be a big follower of his content (and still am) he just didn’t know if for the first 2 years. In todays world, being a male dancer is becoming more popular and less taboo, especially with the rise of platforms such as TikTok. It could be argued that being a male dancer is now desirable. However, this hasn’t always been the case. When Sam had his first dance class at the age of 10, he became obsessed with it and knew that it was his life was destined to be.
“It was like a silly movie moment, who know where Billy Elliot like dances for the first time and he like dances in slow motion. It just felt like oh my god this is what I want to do”.
Despite his adoration for the art of dance, he felt the need to keep it a secret for the next few years, he’d heard that male dancers got bullied. It’s saddening to think of anyone having to hide their passion in fear of being bullied, let alone for their sexuality. At the age of 13, Sam had the great opportunity of studying at a theatre school in London, a place that truly made him feel at home - “being at a theatre school anything goes”. This was a great environment for Sam to begin to thrive as there were openly gay kids from the age of 12. This of course makes being gay feel ok, as you’re truly not alone.
Despite his experience at theatre school, truly feeling in his element and like he belonged, Sam suggested that he hadn’t always been as confident as he is now. One thing that I think visually represents someones confident is their style and fashion expression, something that Sam had difficulty experimenting with in his earlier years.
“I remember when I went to college and I tried a snap back for the first time and I couldn’t wear it out, I felt that everyone was looking at me”.
It’s hard to believe that someone who is as expressive and confident as Sam would ever feel self-conscious about something that seems so normal to most people. This just goes to show that confidence is built and low self-esteem can affect anyone. Now, Sam claims to truly love fashion and that his confidence with what he wears has grown. Whilst fashion is a big passion and outlet of expression for Sam, he also finds the ability to present his body to be even more exhilarating. I mean, look...
For Sam (and most people within the gay community) confidence is a lot more than just fashion, it’s body image. Sam feels the pressure to be constantly camera ready for both his online influencing business as well as his modelling career saying specifically that “body is my business”. The pressure of body image doesn’t come from any external factors however, Sam states that any body image pressures are all put on himself, by himself.
However, the concepts of fashion and body image pale in comparison to the strength and courage that Sam has demonstrated in his biggest struggle, sobriety. These smaller factors all fed into Sam’s confidence, something that Sam lacked in his earlier years.
“The main thing that led me to substance abuse I think was lack of confidence. Substances really altered my energy and made me someone that I really wanted to be”
Sam’s earlier struggles with confidence started with an innocent dabbling for a boost on a night out on the gay scene, into a codependent relationship with substances and alcohol. This melded with Sam’s self-proclaimed “addictive personality”, led to the lack of an off off-button. Sam stated that the biggest challenge he’s ever had to overcome wasn’t getting sober the first time round, it was following his relapse 18 months later.
“I’ve just lost 18 months clean time, I don’t want to fucking go back to day one”
The idea of losing the progress he’d made was very hard for Sam and can make anyone feel very defeated. But, on 13/10/20, Sam hit the 18 months clean mark again. With him documenting his milestones in recovery on his Instagram IGTV, Sam talks through his emotions and feelings every step of the way, and is now back to where he was just before he relapsed - this time in a must more positive place. He even finished by stating “I don’t regret relapsing actually, it was very very important for me”, taking it as a very important moment of teaching.
Signing off of the interview, I wanted to know how today’s Sam, after the many challenges and struggles he has faced in his life, would reassure his younger self. This is not a part of the interview I wanted to quote only partially as Happy Smiley is all about advice and help, and this is the unfiltered advice that Sam gives:
‘I’d say “Sam, you’re doing good, you’re doing good. Keeping working hard, stay kind and do not let the little things bother you. Do not react to things, only respond. Keep working your program and stay connected to recovery! Look how far you’ve come in the last 3 years getting sober, and keep working hard on your graft. Stay connected to your friends and just love, don’t take life too seriously”’
Sam truly is an inspiring and beautiful human being, and we at Happy Smiley want to personally thank him for being the debut Chat for our family, and look forward to working with him again in the future.
Please connect with Sam online via the links below!