For Robert Rossi, moving back to his hometown of Phoenix is the start of both new beginnings and his legacy.
A talent manager who has called Los Angeles home for the past few decades, this is the start of his newest mission—working with kids in the Valley who want to break into Hollywood.
“Why should a kid who wants to be an actor not have a chance just because they live in Arizona and not California?” he asks.
Helping children establish acting careers is something Rossi has been doing for a while—teen sensation Daniel DiMaggio, one of the “it” teens in the industry and currently playing the role of Oliver Otto in ABC’s American Housewife, has been his client since he was just 3. Dickie Hearts of Tales of the City is another client, as is Ireland Richards, Reese Ganley, and Addy Thompson—and the list goes on.
Now, the Moon Valley High School graduate is heading back to the Valley to make his next impact.
For Rossi, helping people succeed is second nature. He has a magnetism about him that’s contagious. And, even though he’s worked with and hobnobbed with some of the biggest movie and television stars, he’s the most down-to-earth, go-out-of-his-way-to-help-you type of person. It doesn’t matter who you are—Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards needing to be guided into the theatre after she got separated from her group or Reese Witherspoon needing help with her dress on the red carpet after someone stepped on it (both of these happened) to Tony Rivera, a horse trainer with Rivera Stables he just met in Scottsdale who Rossi is now connecting with others, as he’s doing with Farrah, a woman he met who owns vintage store Sammie & Dannie in Phoenix that he’s now spreading the word about (it's also now where he's holding his official launch party).
Helping others is just his nature and mission.
Rossi is glad to be back home, among the city that he loves.
“Los Angeles will always be the town that made me who I am and showed me my career path, but I love Arizona.”
Rossi originally began as a performer himself, first as a varsity cheerleader, then co-caption of the Moon Valley Cheer Squad with Lisa Kerker. Rossi also taught cheer camps for high schools as staff for NCA (National Cheerleader Association), then University of Arizona. He was also a competitive Latin ballroom dancer. After switching career paths, his roles including being a personal publicist for a variety of celebrities, working with major clients handling their celebrity marketing, and more.
“I was in L.A. since 1982 and I worked my way up from receptionist at Abrams-Rubaloff to the highest you can go [in the industry], and I’m so proud of that,” he says.
Then, one day in 2008, Rossi went to a U2 concert, where he was part of the team that was filming Bono onstage. From where he was seated, he could see the interpreter for the deaf—and he was mesmerized.
“I said, ‘I need to learn to do that,’" he says.
That Monday, he quit his job, and went back to college to learn sign language, feeling that it was a calling.
Of course everything comes full circle, and today, several of Rossi’s clients are deaf actors. He pushes for inclusion in Hollywood, and it has become one of the things for which he’s known.
Rossi just enjoys helping people realize their dreams, no matter whether they face challenges hearing or aren’t local to Hollywood.
With ROSSI Talent Management, he will be signing kids ages 9 to 18 (18 to play younger parts), and will offer workshops where he will bring in professionals from Los Angeles such as acting coaches, headshot photographers, and stylists to help screen potential talent. The first workshop will be held Sept. 18-19 at Sammie and Dannie. Los Angeles-based photographer Robert “Kaz” Kazandjian will take part, as will Los Angeles-based hair and makeup artist/stylist Wesley O’Neil, acting coaches from Shari Shaw Studios, and scene study specialist Melissa Blanchard. The top 10 children will be called back and signed with my agency for representation.
"The workshops are going to be kind of cutthroat, because they need to be realistic, like auditions," Rossi shares, explaining that he will also be teaching kids and their families that while being in the industry is fun, it is also a job.
His specialty is sitcoms and movies.
As a talent manager, Rossi helps guides his clients’ careers. He isn’t an agent, and won’t be looking to book work for his clients locally, either.
“This is about making a difference in a kids’ life and a family’s life,” he says. “Why should a kid have to wait until they’re 18 to do what they want just because they’re 9 or 10? Let’s give it a shot. This is about giving kids options.”
In addition, he founded the Roll Model Foundation with model and actress Camerone Parker.
“At the end of the day,” he explains, “you, me, and everyone I know, we all want the same thing—we want to be healthy, happy, and raise kind children, and I think that’s my bigger calling of why I’m in town. I don’t have children, but I’m going to work with these children to help them follow their dreams. That will be my legacy.”
To reach Rossi, call 213.280.6351.