Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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January 31, 2008
You ought to be in pictures


Sami Swanson couldn't wait to get out to Arden Fair mall the day she found out she was one of the newly installed "faces" of Abercrombie & Fitch Kids.

But, first things first: As a school cheerleader, she had a gig at a freshman basketball game at Rio Americano.

"At halftime of the game, my mom (local TV personality Beth Ruyak) brought me some ice water and showed me photos she had taken of my pictures at the store," Sami recalls. "After the game, we went straight to the mall so I could see for myelf."

The picture above, taken by her mother, shows Sami posing with the entryway photo of herself and a male model. (The image also pops up online; click here to see it and more photos.)

I spoke with Sami and Beth recently about the whirlwind experience. The Q&A appears on today's Scene cover. But there's always more to talk about when it comes to fashion and having fun, right?

Sami is definitely the right choice for an A&F Kids campaign. As her mom says: "She just exudes joy in the pictures."

Sami was discovered in August 2006 in a Starbucks in Santa Barbara by someone in the biz who said (natch), "Have you ever thought about modeling?" One Polaroid led to another, and soon Sami had an agent in L.A. and bookings with Abercrombie. She's traveled to the Florida Keys, the company's home base in Columbus, Ohio, and the Hamptons in New York.

But for the time being, Sami is firmly grounded in Sacramento. She's about to turn 15 and has quite the busy teen schedule. In addition to cheerleading, she performs with the River City Theatre Company; they're in rehearsals for the spring production of "Swing."

She also swims on the Gold River Stingrays swim team, holds a 3.7 GPA, and maintains quite a connection with not only her friends in town but "model" friends she's met on her shoots.

"I recently heard from the guy who is in the picture with me," Sami says. "He messaged me to say he couldn't believe we were in the stores."

(An interesting note: Beth's parents, who live outside of Milwaukee, visited an A&F Kids store out there to see their granddaughter's pics. The store clerk informed them that the male model's grandparents were on their way in to see them, too. How's that for a coincidence?)

Anyway, Sami refuses to rest on her good looks. Eventually, she says, she wants to go to medical school and perhaps become a plastic surgeon - not so much for cosmetic clients, but to help veterans with scarring.

For now, though, there's nothing wrong with having a little reminder of your big accomplishment. In fact, Sami has two small shopping bags from A&F Kids, and one big bag, with, of course, her image on them.

"We call them 'Sami Bags,' " Beth says.

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