Smirnoff’s Spicy Tam invites everyone to embrace their spicy, sweet moves

Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and Spicy Tam
Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and Spicy Tam / Smirnoff

For many people, the flavor combination of spicy and sweet hits just right. From the perfectly balanced cocktail to an impeccable food recipe, the taste can make people want to get up and dance. Smirnoff’s Spicy Tam, aka Samantha Barriento, is shaking up some refreshing moves with a little encouragement to get everyone moving to that bold beat.

Although some people might recall a movie line about never leaving a girl in the corner, the reality is that dancing can be a fun, engaging moment. Even if some people might have more rhythm than others, the ability to let the music take over and enjoy the diversion should not be muted.

Recently, Smirnoff launched Baila con Smirnoff in collaboration with its Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind flavor. While the alcohol brand took inspiration from that dancing emoji, the concept is more than two-dimensional. When people feel empowered, want to express themselves, or otherwise embrace to enjoy the moment, they should feel free to dance the night away.

As part of the campaign kick-off, the brand partnered with celebrated dancer, performer, and actress Samantha Barriento to bring Spicy Tam to life. The talented performer has both the elegance and the flare in her dancing abilities.

Given that Spicy Tam celebrates the sweet and spicy combination, that contrast can be seen in some Latin dancing.  That juxtaposition of bold passion and sweet romance captivates the audience as dancers move around the stage. Barriento has honed her craft and can bring those deft movements to life.

During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Samantha Barriento shared her thoughts about bring Spicy Tam to life, her partnership with Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and advice about being willing to step onto the dance floor.

As a performer, Barriento often uses movement and dance as a form of expression. When asked how she thinks the Baila con Smirnoff campaign could encourage people to express themselves through movement, she said, “My hope is that by creating a relationship between movement and special events that gather us together, more people will associate moving their bodies with joy and community. That moving is not a solitary experience, but that movement unites. This Baila con Smirnoff campaign is centered around the idea of dancing together, which in itself celebrates community.”

By taking over the “Spicy Tam” persona, Barriento was able to bring the character to life. As the embodiment of the sweet and spicy flavor of the Smirnoff spirit, the personality needed to make a statement.

According to Barriento, “Spicy Tam is the embodiment of confidence and expression, and she’s all about encouraging others to find the main character energy in themselves. So, whether you’re looking for delicious cocktail recipes, a fresh new playlist or OOTD inspo, she’s your queen of celebrations and making the most of every moment. She is strong willed, passionate, and uninhibited. She knows that expression and freedom through movement are special keys to the best experiences of life!”

Although it might be easy for Spicy Tam to jump up and dance, some people may not be as emboldened. Speaking as the character, Barriento wants everyone to feel ready to get off the couch. She said, “As Spicy Tam, I’m hoping to inspire others to find joy in movement and dare to be bold. If it feels vulnerable, close your eyes and start to move in ways that feel GOOD! If it feels good, you’re doing it right.”

While Spicy Tam might be strong and confident, that duality is her personality can be a good thing, just like the sweet and spicy flavor of the Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind. When asked about the complexities in her own personality, Barriento said, “Without question, I have so many dualities that create my personality, much like the combination of sweet and spicy flavors that make Spicy Tamarind so unique. Like the best meals or the best cocktails, having that duality and boldness make me a multifaceted human being. And as far as my dancing, I make choices that will always showcase each of these parts of who I am.”

While there can be multifaceted parts to people’s personalities, a well-balanced, layered food and beverage are equally as intriguing. When asked about her favorite way to enjoy the Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind. Barriento commented, “I LOVE the Piña Picante cocktail! It’s made with tart pineapple juice and Spicy Tamarind and it’s a hit every week at my family’s Sunday dinners. Some of my favorite meals to pair it with are ones that have a savory flavor profile that complement the sweet, tangy, spicy flavors of Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind, like chicken fajitas, arroz con pollo or even something simple like chips and guacamole!”

Samantha Barriento as Spicy Tam
Samantha Barriento as Spicy Tam / Smirnoff

A great food and beverage pairing can get people excited, but that experience does not end once the table is cleared. On her Instagram account, Barriento offered some advice to her younger self. When asked how she would encourage other aspiring dances to take that first step into the longer journey, she shared, “The best advice that I can give aspiring dancers is to GO FOR IT. Be wrong and strong. Be fearless, even when you aren’t. Do it afraid! This is the key to getting people to respect you as an artist because so much of what we do is scary. It isn’t easy to be told no or to feel like your efforts are not being seen. You can never deny someone who is consistent and willing to try.”

That willingness to try, keep going, and never let an obstacle sideline the goal is key for any performer. Some days can be triumphant and others can be less than stellar. Barriento recalled some curious moments in her career.

She said, “There have been some really funny and challenging moments for me FOR SURE. Once, I was on stage and the heel of my shoe got caught in my skirt. It was terrifying because I was partnering and my partner wanted to help me but didn’t know how. I had to hop around until it came loose and continue dancing because this was a duet: no one else was on stage. At the end of the performance, I apologized to my partner and we just laughed. The truth is, you have to give yourself grace. We had rehearsed this piece many times without issues and of course on stage this happened. No show is perfect and things will happen! You have to learn to forgive yourself.”

While Spicy Tam is always ready to put on those dancing shoes, Barriento has many projects in the works. Specifically, she shared, “I am currently in the process of developing my own dance and fitness platform that will be virtual but also become a studio of my own in the future. It has been a passion project of mine for years because I love the idea of making movement, specifically dance, accessible and fun for all. I hope to incorporate Spicy Tam’s personality and zest into this brand because it will celebrate Latinas and my Puerto Rican and Dominican background.”

Whether it is dancing to your own beat, letting the music whisk you away, or just grooving a little around the house, take some inspiration from Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and Spicy Tam. Life is full of sweet and spicy surprises and that duality flavor makes any day a little more enjoyable.