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Sami Swanson

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What would you do if a 10-foot photo of yourself was hanging in the mall?

Well, if you're 14-year-old Sami Swanson – one of the spring 2008 "faces" of Abercrombie & Fitch Kids – you shoot off an excited text message to your mom, local TV personality Beth Ruyak:

"Mom, I'm in Arden Fair. Go see the pictures!"

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and Swanson, a freshman at Rio Americano High, is still trying to absorb her excitement. As part of the A&F Kids campaign, her image appears in stores across the country, on shopping bags and on the company's Web site, at www.abercrombiekids.com.

We chatted with Swanson – who was discovered in a Starbucks (really) – about what's ahead for the fresh-faced student, who turns 15 in February.

Q: This really was a surprise for you because you didn't actually hear from the company that they were using your photos, right? Is that unusual?

A: No. I've done several shoots for the company (starting in December 2006), but they don't tell you if they're going to use the pictures. These photos were taken last October in the Hamptons. My modeling agent in L.A. didn't even know!

Q: How did you find out your pictures were all over the A&F Kids store?

A: I received a text from friends who had gone to (Arden Fair) mall. They took a picture of my face and sent it to me. I'm a cheerleader on the freshman squad, and we had a basketball game that day, so I stayed for that and sent my mom to take pictures of my pictures.

Q: How did you get your start modeling?

A: My first job was in 2006, after we took my brother back to school in Santa Barbara. It was for Gant kids clothing, and it was shot on the beach down there.

Q: How has life changed for you?

A: Honestly, it hasn't hit me yet. The day after I found out, my dad took me and some of my friends to the store. People were coming up to me and saying, "Hey, that's you!" It's cool and pretty fun.

Q: You're wearing A&F Kids clothes right now. Are you a fan?

A: I shopped there way before I modeled for them. I have pretty much everything I wore at the shoots.

Q: Do you know how long the campaign will run?

A: I believe it will be up until the summer.

Q: So, is a modeling career in your future?

A: It definitely depends on the assignment. School is really important, and it's hard to miss a chunk of time, especially with French! As far as a career, I want to go to medical school.

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