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Surprised by Tony P’s NATO video? He was too.
Surprised by Tony P’s NATO video? He was too.

A unique question took center stage in Washington this week as some of the world’s most powerful leaders gathered for a summit marking NATO’s 75th anniversary.

Why on earth was Tony P the face of the security organization’s official welcome video?

The soft-spoken 25-year-old Washington, D.C., influencer whose Instagram account promises “tips on cooking, fashion and adulting” probably wasn’t on anyone’s list — or even a long one — to post a one-minute video explaining that Washington is the birthplace of NATO and that its 32 member states “are working on the most important security challenges facing our world today and continue to work to strengthen NATO’s ability to keep our one billion people safe.”

One Reddit user was not impressed. “What was the point of all this?” he wrote. “Is this the only spokesperson DC could find? With all the people out of work in international politics, he’s the one we’re putting in charge of this work?”

A poster on X also expressed confusion, saying, “Career diplomats are being pushed out for a media job by a 25-year-old bachelor in DC. What on earth?”

To be fair, even Tony P, aka Anthony Polcari, was surprised.

“You want to work with me? Like, an influencer? I couldn’t believe it,” Polcari said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Really, just – I’m overwhelmed by it. And you know, any way I can help is just cool to me.”

Polcari, who said he was not paid for the video, is one of several dozen social media influencers invited by NATO, the Defense Department and the State Department to attend the high-level summit. As the alliance increasingly faces questions about its future, it wants to better explain its mission and bolster its image among young people who may have only a vague idea of ​​why it was created.

Polcari said NATO reached out to his agent a few weeks ago. After getting over the shock of the request, he read the short script and jumped on board. The video was shot in front of various Washington landmarks on a sweltering June day, with Polcari, simmering in a dark blue suit, delivering his lines without anyone seeing him sweat.

He believes the question may stem from the fact that he has become a more recognizable face in the district. His Instagram following – where he posts aggressively tame videos about his bachelor life – has grown from about 2,000 people a year ago to more than 200,000.

“They wanted someone who could represent DC, who was an influencer in the DC space,” Polcari said. As if on cue, a woman could be heard shouting “Tony P!” in the background.

But not all of his Instagram followers were happy about his new connection to NATO.

“I hate this so much,” wrote one. Another posted a puke emoji.

There were further taunts on X:

“God, this is embarrassing. You can’t be serious…”

“Congratulations! That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen!”

“DC really needs better local celebrities.”

Polcari ignores the naysayers.

“Some people say I’m one of those hated influencers in Washington. That’s just not true,” Polcari said. “It’s funny, the fact that people would take the time to criticize me for a NATO video kind of made me laugh. Because I use the old line from the series ‘Mad Men’: ‘I don’t think about you, but you think about me.'”

There is no place for negativity in Tony P’s world.

“I want to create a place for fun and positivity where people can come together,” he wrote after the interview.

By Everly