Sammy Ortega: Beyond the Crown

Courtesy of Sammy Ortega

Shanelle Tavarez

Samuel Antonio Ortega, or “Sammy,” is a 17-year old senior at Gaither High School.  On Oct. 12, Ortega was crowned Gaither’s 2019 Starlight Homecoming King.  Outside of his royal responsibilities, Ortega is a performer, practices meditation and is very social.  

“Winning homecoming king was so special to me because I would’ve never expected to win. It was truly an eye opener, that moment, to the fact that so many people rooted for me enough to vote for me, and I think it’s important that I use my platform to represent who I am and the people I identify with. Being openly gay and colored, I thought it was so special that I won and was able to show the school that being different doesn’t matter, and that my differences and the fact that I’m not normal got me the crown,” Ortega said. 

Ortega is a part of Gaither Thespians and the Vice President of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club.  Ortega didn’t consider himself an introvert until recently. His time in the theater program has helped him break out of his shell and get out of his comfort zone. 

“I’ve had to teach myself how to ignore and repel negativity, and because of this I’ve grown a thick skin and don’t care what people think of me, which is why I’m able to just enjoy school and don’t really have to face many hardships,” Ortega said. 

Outside of school, Ortega spends his time with friends or family.  He enjoys staying up late because he considers himself a “night owl.”

“I love to stay up late because I feel like we transform at night, being that when I’m alone at 3 a.m. I’m my truest self at that time when I can feel the moon and just everything. I’ve always found comfort by myself and when I’m alone at night is when I can just be me and can relax because nobody is watching me,” Ortega said. 

Ortega says that he is very spiritual.  He uses alone time to find peace settle his thoughts.

“When I say transform, I’m a really spiritual person, I feel like there’s a different side of us that comes out when we’re alone with the sun down and we”re surrounded by different energies.  There’s something really mystical about just being by myself and being able to not worry about anyone watching me anymore. I’m always in the spotlight or being closely watched by people, whether it’s to praise me or judge me.  At night time, there’s no judgement,” Ortega said.

Female rapper Nicki Minaj is a role model for Ortega.  He has looked up to her since 2nd grade.

“It all started when I heard her on the radio and was so interested at how she was able to be put in a song with all men and have a feature that showed more skill than any of the men in a song,” Ortega said. 

Ortega is also inspired by Elizabeth Eden Harris, known professionally as Cupcakke.  She’s an America rapper, singer and songwriter. Ortega finds her inspiring because just like Minaj, Cupcakke has been able to make a name for herself through her music.  Ortega once had the chance to FaceTime her and meet her in person.  Ortega now describes their relationship as, “best friends.”

When he graduates from high school, he plans to attend fashion school to earn his degree in fashion design.  Ortega’s dream is to become a fashion designer or model, since the fashion industry is something he’s always been drawn to. 

Sammy Ortega is family-oriented and friend-loving teenager with high hopes for his future.