Samantha, who I still have a hard time calling anything but “Peanut” (Instagram handles really do stick!), is a breath of fresh air and #fierce. We have been in contact for awhile about putting together a feature and finally, finally got to it just as she sets sail with Head Over Heels on Broadway. Samantha has determination to match her natural talent and embodies a lifestyle of mind, body, spirit wellness that is Fit for Broadway!
Note from Samantha: Hi! I’m Samantha Pollino. Friends call me Peanut or Sam. I’m from Baltimore and started out as a competition dancer. It only took one community theater production of Its A Wonderful Life for me to fall in love with musical theater! Other than Broadway, I like rap music and hip hop dancing. I love to travel and explore! I can often be found sitting in dog parks with my French Bulldog, Frankie.
Q: I’m so excited we are finally making this happen! 🙂 Can we start from the beginning… What’s been your journey to Broadway?
A: I got scouted out by a talent agent at a dance competition and began auditioning and working in New York City as a child! I made my Broadway debut when I was 11 in Hot Feet. After a slew of commercials and a Nickelodeon Tour, I went to a performing arts high school to focus on my voice and music skills. After graduating from The University of Cincinnati (CCM), I moved to Chicago to be a part of the original Chicago cast of Hamilton. I live back in New York now and am in Head Over Heels on Broadway!
Q: How have health and fitness been a part of your journey?
A: My body is my instrument. I can’t dance if my body is injured, and I can’t speak or sing if my voice isn’t taken care of. Learning how to maintain a healthy instrument and build up stamina and consistent energy has been a very important part of my career. That also has a lot to do with mental health and spiritual wellness.
Q: Top 3 tips for maintaining energy for your show.
- A solid warmup
- A good meal
- A lot of water!
Q: Any other holistic practices to stay #BalancedOnBroadway?
A: I have just recently started meditating for a few minutes every morning. It doesn’t take long and it puts me in a really great place to conquer my day to the best of my ability.
Q: Mental health is a buzz conversation of late. Do you have any other rituals or practices that keep you centered and feeling emotionally and mentally balanced?
A: I take walks and value me time. I feel like sometimes in this business we feel like we have to constantly be with people. Sometimes, it’s just as important to be selfish as it is to be social.
Q: How much of your training is mental vs physical?
A: It’s about equal, and I think they both work hand in hand. The better I feel physically, the better I feel mentally.
Q: You resonate with the mantra “You Are Enough”. What does that phrase mean to you?
A: This world is hard. It’s tough to be a working performer. You are forced to compete against your best friends, compare yourself to others, and you hear no a lot more than you hear yes. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of insecurity. I think it’s really important to know who YOU are, know what makes YOU different, and to embrace those things in times of need rather than focusing on things you may lack or don’t have.
Q: Top 3 products, companies or brands that are shaping your lifestyle right now.
- The Calm Meditation App
Q: Fill in the blanks…
A: The best part of working on Broadway is… giving people the opportunity to escape to a different place while also opening their eyes to what is happening in real time around them!
The most challenging part of working on Broadway is… maintaining health and stamina on an eight show schedule.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My friends and coworkers. Being around people that lift me up inspires me to be great. I have really amazing friends. And my mom! Always my number one supporter and cheerleader.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: Do not give up. I know that’s always said, but it’s really important. One person’s opinion does not define you or your career as a performer. For every yes you hear, you’ll hear fifty no’s. You have to stay persistent. And remember what made you want to start doing this in the first place. Let that be your motor.
BROADWAY INSPIRES ME TO BE_ bold! It gives us a place to express ourselves- values, opinions, goals, and dreams. A safe and accepting place to learn and grow. I’m lucky to be a part of this community 🙂
Photos & Interview by Jane Jourdan.