British boyband, The Vamps, have one fan they just cannot hide from, and she studies here at Kingston. Sammy Apted tells Amelia Cunningham what it takes to get the attention of the band and reveals her secrets to becoming chums with the foursome.
An 18-year-old girl who loves The Vamps would not strike anyone as uncommon. But one who shares hotel floors with the band and rides the tube with their manager, most certainly does.
With a twitter account followed by thousands, Sammy Apted, KU’s very own eyes and ears to everything “The Vamps” perches down beside me by the river at Knights Park. She crosses her Doc Martens out in front of her and tucks a strand of her blonde hair behind one ear, smiling as she begins to talk. “If you follow someone around so much, it’s hard to not to be known as a stalker.”
The obsession started two and a half years ago when the boys, who shot to fame through their YouTube channel, were discovered by a then 16-year-old Sammy. “I came across one of their covers, I watched it, and I liked it. I then realised Connor had joined their group that day and that’s why they were trending.”
She proudly recalls the first time she successfully secured free tickets to one of their shows. “I followed them on twitter as soon as I discovered them and I tweeted them asking if I could come to their next show. Their management team got back to me straight away and I got two free tickets.” And the rest, as they say, was history.
Tweets, re-tweets and mentions from the band once made her cry out of disbelief that the band had actually shown her attention, but now the KU student is fully embracing all the acknowledgement she can get from her “first and last boyband crush”.
Sammy was lucky enough to get close to the band during one of their first meet and greet sessions, over two years ago. “I remember I was shaking. It was all a big rush. I was just so excited to finally have a photo with the boys I love,” says Sammy.
She adds: “When I first met them, I was all like ‘ah’ but now I’m like ‘hi, how you doing’.”
With over 40 concerts and meet and greet sessions to date, the first year architecture student certainly knows how to make an impression on the boys. She reminisces about the time when she was on the tube making her way to The Teen Awards when The Vamps’ manager happened to be on the same carriage as her.
“I always say hi to him at shows, but there he was sat right across from me on the tube. I looked up and he spoke to me first asking me what I thought of their new songs.” She proudly points to her hair and thanks her signature look for making an impact on The Vamps and even their manager. “Two blonde buns at the top of my head, everyone knows Sammy’s coming.”
“When I am at the meet and greets, other girls just stand and smile for their pictures. I don’t do that. I have to do like ninja kicks,” she says grinning from a pale pink matte lip, and kicking her knee-high grey socks up in the air to impersonate her brave but fun pose.
She adds: “They always know that I am going to do something. They get bored of the usual. They already knew me from the London show so when I went to Newcastle, they were like ‘oh hello again’.”
Sammy received more than just a fright this Halloween at a meet and greet at The Royal Albert Hall when Brad Simpson followed her back on Twitter. “Brad always tells everyone that he will follow them back and never does so when he did that same night, I thought it was fake.” She gained 30 followers just from Brad’s follow and proudly states that none of her friends are followed by him, “yep just me”.
This was also a moment for a starry-eyed Sammy to take a step back and allow her friends to point out that her crush on Brad may in fact be mutual. “My friends say he actually flirts with me. When we were at BBC Radio’s meet and greet he came over to me after and said ‘I like your hair, I like your glasses, I like your dress, my friends always tease ‘oh he likes you’.”
“We got to watch their BBC Radio interview before we had our meet and greet session and there was a moment where he actually looked up at me.” Sammy cheekily raises her eyebrows to mimic the look Brad gave to her.
She also uses her vlogs to interact with The Vamps. She tells of the time when she videoed Brad impersonating her for an introduction to one of her vlogs. Their banter must be seriously enviable for star-struck fans trying to get close to the band.
As well as her own perseverance and dedication, she does admit luck may have been on her side once or twice in getting so close to the band. “It was my 18th birthday, and we were staying at a hotel near the O2 and I heard their manager’s voice. I looked outside the hotel and there were loads of fans. I thought to myself ‘no this can’t be real’. Later in the night I went out to get a drink and Brad came out of his room at the same time from across the corridor. I had butterflies.”
Sammy has received hate tweets since getting close to the band but insists she does not stop anyone from meeting them. “I’ll always let other fans go in front of me in the queue for meet and greet. I’d rather girls who haven’t met them before, meet them before me, but people think ‘urgh they’ve met them again’.”
It’s not just when she’s securing tickets for The Vamps that luck is on her side, as she once got front row tickets to see Justin Bieber on the day for just £100 which saved the Crawley resident almost £1,000.
Sammy describes the boys as caring, loveable and “just a bunch of people that seem really fun to hang out with”. She clasps her hands and grins wildly as though she will hang onto their fame for as long as she can.
Next in the life of Sammy will be The Vamps world tour in 2017.Tickets go on sale later this month, but it is almost guaranteed that there will be a lot more fun and banter between her and the boys between now and then, ninja kicks and all.