Soul Artist Management and the #MODELSofSOUL are proud to bring you #MindBodySOUL, an exclusive weekly feature highlighting SOUL models and their respective sport. This week, we sat down with Toby Sandeman to talk about his wildly successful career as both an Olympic runner and a model.
Photographed by Ashton Do. #AshtonDo
SOUL ARTIST MANAGEMENT: How old are you and where are you from?
TOBY SANDEMAN: I’m a London Boy, and a model should never tell his age 😉
SOUL: Describe yourself in 3 words:
TOBY: Cheeky, relentless, home-body.
SOUL: You are a world-class runner who competed in the European and World Championships, and even made the Olympic team. How did your passion for running start?
TOBY: It all started with a school race that I lost. I was determined to come back and win it the following year progressing me to the city championship that I lost again. The following year, I made it to what would be equivalent to the state championships. This winning and losing kept happening until I made the English schools championships, which is our Junior Olympics for school kids. I was just spellbound by how large the event was and I remember being so excited. From that moment on, I knew I needed to keep this competitive feeling going.
SOUL: What do you feel was your greatest moment as a runner?
TOBY: When I became No.1 in Europe and a double gold medalist in the 200m. To set a high goal and achieve it, there is no other high like it.
SOUL: You wear a UK jersey in the shoot. Tell us the reason you brought it and the story behind it.
TOBY: I put so many years of blood sweat and tears into becoming the fastest 200m runner in Great Britain. That’s something I’m very proud of, and so I thought it would be great to bring to the shoot with me as it is a part of who Toby Sandeman is. They just don’t give these away. You need to earn it.
SOUL: Do you feel like running is more about your mind or physical body (or both)? Why?
TOBY: In any elite field, it is always the mind that is most paramount. Many people, not only in my Olympic sport, but in modeling and even businesses in general, “crack” under the pressure when times get tough. But like my mum (yes British spelling) taught me, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
SOUL: How did running transition into modeling? How were you discovered? How did you land at SOUL?
TOBY: A famous hairdresser in London, Trevor Sorbie, discovered me. He was the one who said I should model and from there, at the tender age of 17, I started part time in London. My booker in London, Sarah Vickery (who is still my booker to this day) fitted me with Jason Kanner and I have been represented by him ever since.
SOUL: What is the proudest moment in your modeling career to date?
TOBY: Shooting British Vogue with Naomi Campbell under the lens of the amazing photographer Patrick Demarchelier is definitely up there in my highlights. Getting to work with two powerhouses such as themselves at the same time was monumental.
SOUL: Are there similarities between modeling and running? Do you use skills developed from running as a model?
TOBY: I think both careers have periods where you’re up and other periods where you’re down and it’s about navigating through these times, as with life, with a positive attitude.
SOUL: Where do you run in New York City? How often?
TOBY: I feel like life in New York is so crazy that I’m always running… especially for plane flights (LOL). I like to run along the riverbank of the Hudson River in West Harlem. It’s really gorgeous and it takes you away from feeling like you’re in a busy city.
SOUL: What is the “must-have” item for running?
TOBY: Music. Running is the most painful activity if you don’t have music.
SOUL: Do you play any other sports or participate in other fitness or wellness activities?
TOBY: I love boxing to keep fit and I still work out in the gym like I’m an athlete against the best in the world because it’s all I know. I love pushing until I can’t go anymore and feeling that soreness last for the next day or for days.
SOUL: Do you have any passions outside of running or modeling that you devote yourself to?
TOBY: Acting is a new passion that I’ve fallen in love with. I wrote a short film, which I also directed and acted in. It was accepted into Sundance Film Festival and propelled me into being signed by the Gersh Acting Agency.
SOUL: In either modeling or running, was there ever a moment of intense struggle or a plateau that you had to overcome along this journey?
TOBY: There will always be struggles to be the best in any field, what is important is your perspective in these times. For me, I try to see these times as challenges, and it’s when I over come those challenges that I feel my most fulfilled.
SOUL: How has modeling changed your life?
TOBY: Modeling has not only taken me to many parts of the world I may not have otherwise visited, such as Ghana or the Alps, but it has exposed me to many people from many different cultures.
SOUL: Are you good friends with anyone in the SOUL family? How did you get close?
TOBY: I would have to say, out of everyone, I’m most close with my head booker and owner Jason Kanner. He has repped me for what will be 9 years now, and over that time it’s only natural that he ends up not only knowing you but being a part of your life, seeing you through your triumphs and tribulations.
SOUL: Do you have any recommendations for younger/new faces in the industry?
TOBY: I see a lot of kids arrive into the modeling scene and quickly become obsessed and jealous with what jobs other models are booking. If you have a great team behind you, like we do at SOUL, you need to trust in them and know that your time will come. So just do your part, and be at your best when it does.
SOUL: Any fun moments behind the scenes on the #MindBodySOUL shoot?
TOBY: It was great seeing some people I hadn’t seen in a long time who were part of the crew. As a model, you live for high-energy shoots that you just feel the comfort and freedom to try different things. That’s what makes it fun, and that’s what shooting #MindBodySOUL was like.