Sam Tautua’s Samoan upbringing influence on his modeling success

Sam Tautua with his mother Tala Leiataua talking with Talamua in Apia today

BY Lance Polu

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 12 APRIL 2017: Samoan culture and modeling maybe two separate strands. But a young Samoan with a strong and strict Samoan upbringing sees it as a definitive aspect of what he is as a person and determining his life and style and success in the highly competitive modeling industry.

Talking to Talamua in Apia today where he is a guest of the Samoa Sinnet Fashion, both Sam and his mother Tala Leiataua acknowledge the strong Samoan influence and family upbringing that testifies to Sam’s success on the international circuit.

Although his name may hardly be heard of in Samoa, his impressive portfolio as the first Pacific islander to walk in the London Fashion Week in 2012 and 2013 and what the followed, is quite impressive.

“Maybe my upbringing was even more than other Samoan kids back home,” he explained.

Born to Samoan parents from Fasitoo-uta and Faleasiu villages in pursuit of the ‘migrants dream of success’ in New Zealand, Sam migrated to Australia when he was fifteen. In the corporate world, he worked in the financial services and was a Real Estate Agent for 6 years where his success and happiness did not rhyme.

“So my soul started speaking to me at 30,” he explained. He had the creative streak and “discovered himself as someone who likes to produce things with a team and get results.”  So he studied at the respected National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney that includes famous names such as Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman and Russel Crowe as alumni.

He became a designer and a TV presenter for fashion channels. But his natural and good looks were a more attractive and sellable product. And projecting his Samoaness added his edge in the competitive market for the Latino skin shades and faces.

And his timing was perfect as “there was nothing like that on the market at the time.”

While Samoan culture may have clear or grey areas of what and how people expect and see how things be done in life, Sam deliberately took his step away from all that to discover himself and develop a style that is himself and his own.

“Style is not particular to male or female. It’s your own thing. For it to evolve, we need people to redefine what fashion (should) looks like,” he told Talamua.

So he was Nominee for Britain’s finest Male Model of the year (2012) and the face for Australian Tourism among his many accomplishments.

He has modeled for some global brands such as BMW, Marlboro, MacDonald’s, FORD Motor Co., Budlight beer, Nissan, Sony and has been on many magazine covers.

In Samoa to share with local designers and models and promote the upcoming Sinnet Fashion Show in July, Sam encourages young Samoans “not to be too stressed in their young years trying to discover your passion; as life’s different journeys” will lead to discovering ones passion “and follow that gut feeling and you’ll never go wrong.”

Finding success in modeling after 40, Sam is naturally motivated because of what he is passionate about. He sees many who are stuck with what they think is success “and you’ll live an unhappy life.”

His mother Tala Leiataua also encourages young Samoans to stay close to their expected upbringing of respect and they should be able to exceed what Sam has achieved.

An Evening with Sam Tautua is at the Taumeasina Resort 13th April, 7.00pm

For more information, go Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show Facebook page or

You can follow Sam Tautua on
Facebook: @sam.tautua
Instagram: sam_tautua

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