Toby Sandeman is a former UK Athletics national champion turned model. He won two gold medals at the European Athletics U23 Championships and has modelled for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and worked with Naomi Campbell. I caught up with Toby to talk about his career and plans for the future.
What parallels can you draw between modeling and competitive athletics?
The biggest parallel would be the need to always be ready while at the same time being patient. In the modeling world three weeks may pass and you haven’t booked one gig so naturally binge eating pizza and partying every night seems like a good idea. Suddenly you get a call, “Toby, amazing news. Tomorrow you’re shooting with Naomi Campbell for Vogue…naked”. All you can manage is a fake yay with a mouth full of pizza. Luckily, I’ve always stayed on top of my game – or at least haven’t been caught out yet.
I understand you were reluctant to model initially. Why did you have a change of heart?
In the summer of 2005 I saw two of the people I hung around with get 19 years in prison. Another friend was murdered and I was betrayed by two friends. I needed a change in my life – a big change. Modeling was a 180 degree turn from the life I had been living, so I took it.
What challenges have you faced as a model?
I’m a man who likes to put in hard work and contribute to my own success. The challenge modeling sets is that the outcome isn’t always in your hands. You’re born with a certain look and it’s either in fashion or not. There isn’t much you can do except not giving in to binge eating pizza.
What plans do you have for the future?
I just finished the production of my second film, Conversations of Ed-Dick-Shawn, which I also wrote. It is a 1940’s styled film noir piece about addiction. It explores what goes on in the mind of an addict that can draw a man like Phillip Seymour Hoffman back into addiction after 23 years of being clean. We will enter it at Sundance, Tribeca and the Cannes Film Festival which is very exciting. More information will be posted on my Instagram.
What does success mean to you?
Professionally success for me is fine-tuning my acting craft to the calibre and standard I have set myself. Personally, success is reuniting my family that is currently spread over the globe.
What have some of the highlights of your career been?
Working with artists like Bruce Weber, Greg Lotus and Patrick Demarchelier. There have also been fabulous locations and some great brands. Working with an artist who is so passionate about their work always takes the top prize for me.
If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?
Acting, as that is where my passion currently lies.
Follow him at @Tobysandeman