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Influencer Recruited to Promote NATO Summit Confessed He Thought It Was 'Sharknado'

Influencer Recruited to Promote NATO Summit Confessed He Thought It Was ‘Sharknado’
Screenshot via Twitter.

A Washington, D.C. social media influencer who was recruited by the State Department to film a promotional video for the NATO Summit admitted to a local news outlet that he initially thought he was being recruited for a Sharknado project.

Anthony Polcari, also known by his username @TonyPinDC on Instagram and TikTok, has made a name for himself in the online DC scene for his wholesome “positive masculinity” videos that are so earnest they’ve led more than one observer to wonder if he’s created “a satirical account, a guy doing an extremely accurate and realistic bit” or if this really is his personality.

“When I first stumbled upon Tony P’s page, I thought it was a bit,” wrote the Washington Post’s Travis M. Andrews in a September 2023 profile of Polcari. “My cynical mind, raised on Andy Kaufman and Nathan Fielder and poisoned by this job and this town, couldn’t accept that someone could just be himself. Be so normal. Be so seemingly happy, so effortlessly.”

Apparently it isn’t a bit, at least that seemed to be Andrews’ conclusion after interviewing Polcari, some of his friends, and even his mom. Polcari really does like zoning out to Law & Order reruns, working on improving his cooking skills, and just in general being the polar opposite to the misogynistic toxicity of the Andrew Tates of the social media world. He’s racked up over 200,000 followers on Instagram (and presumably a solid number on TikTok as well, but I watch TikTok videos like the rest of my fellow Gen Xers — a week or two later on Instagram — so our dear readers will have to find that on their own).

And now he’s the new mascot welcoming NATO Summit attendees to our nation’s capital city.

In a one-minute video posted by the official NATO account on The Platform Formerly Known as Twitter, Polcari serves as a digital tour guide, offering some friendly facts (including NATO being founded in D.C. in 1949) and describing the organization as “the world’s most successful political and military alliance” in the same chipper tone he usually devotes to sharing his breakfasts or outfits of the day.

Yes, but how did this golden retriever in a navy suit and white button-down shirt land the gig? reporter Helen Huiskes reached out to Polcari for the story, and he told her NATO reached out to his agent, along with an unusual admission:

Tony P says his agent—yes, Tony P has an agent—approached him about a week before filming with an offer from the State Department’s mission to NATO. (“When my agent first said NATO, I thought it was Sharknado,” he says.) People there wanted him to star in the welcome video, his agent said. Tony P is trying to get into TV hosting—his phone wallpaper is a photo of his idol Regis Philbin—so he jumped at the chance.

Sharknado is of course the film franchise launched by the original 2013 film starring Tara Reid and Ian Ziering and featuring tornados hurling ravenous sharks at the unfortunate humans. The preposterous plot delighted audiences and the film earned a cult following — enough to spawn five additional sequels, plus a commemorative re-release in 2023 for the film’s ten-year anniversary.

NATO, Sharknado, to-may-to, to-mah-to. Misheard aquatic predator movies aside, Polcari seems to have embraced his role as NATO spokesman with the same enthusiasm he brings to the rest of his daily life in DC, telling Huiskes that he supports the NATO mission and was happy to support the cause.

“NATO is such an important part of our world,” he said. “I was 100 percent in to help promote that.”

Source: Washington Post, Washingtonian