The name Suzette Samuel may not ring a bell to those who don’t tune in weekly to “Black Ink Crew: New York.” However, before she became a reality star or even the girlfriend of tattoo boss Ceaser Emanuel, Samuel could be spotted in some of the hottest rap music videos. But, not long after, she grew tired of the limelight and decided to take a turn toward entrepreneurship.
Recently, Atlanta Black Star sat down with the 33-year-old to talk about her days as an urban model and video vixen, the highs and lows of a fast-paced career and her life today.
Known on her social media handles as @suzette_therealtor, nowadays Samuel can be found helping individuals buy, sell or invest in real estate in the state of Georgia under her real estate company A&N Realty. When she’s not showing off lavish properties the Peach State has to offer, she’s assisting clients in repairing their credit or training them into becoming credit specialists themselves through online courses she developed with her second business, A&N Solutions, which she created in 2020. However, before Samuel became the owner of two successful businesses, she found herself at an extremely low point in her life that forced her to make some changes.
Years before becoming a business owner and living in Atlanta, Georgia, Samuel was a struggling mother of two in New York City. When she was pregnant with her second child, the realtor was told that she was high-risk and had to quit the job she was working at the time. She said she received no support from the fathers for either of her children and found herself receiving government assistance, struggling to provide for her family.
Pregnant and alone, Samuel needed to find a way to make money fast. One particular day, the New York native was scrolling through her Instagram feed and noticed different women modeling and flaunting their assets. Although she was still pregnant at the time, she believed that modeling could be her way out of her current situation. “You know, the amount of pain and hurt, anger and confusion that I went through when I was pregnant,” she said. “I was like, ‘Listen, I got to make some money, and I got to make it fast,’ and I was looking at these girls, and I’m like, ‘you know, a lot of them is not even cute in the face, and I have a cute face. So, you know what? When I drop this baby, I’m going into urban modeling.’ “
Samuel’s desire to enter the modeling world set her on a cosmetic surgery journey. Cosmetic surgeries such as Brazilian butt lifts have often gotten a bad wrap, but that hasn’t stopped many women from going through with the procedure. In fact, a survey revealed it is the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world although it has seen more deaths than any other cosmetic surgery. During a BBL, fat is removed from other parts of the body and injected back into the buttocks. Stars like Cardi B and K. Michelle both have shared their experiences with getting BBLs, with the latter removing her injections after facing life-threatening complications. The “Black Ink Crew: New York” star also faced similar circumstances later on, but at the time she felt that it helped her and her family get to a better place financially, explaining that “when your back is against the wall as a parent, you gotta do what you gotta do to provide for them kids.”
Her renewed physical appearance led her to more opportunities such as hosting events, bartending at popular nightclubs and ultimately gaining the attention of rappers, casting directors and other big shots in the entertainment industry, which landed her in music videos. But the reality star soon found herself going down a dark path. Feeling pressured to keep up her image, Samuel continued to get more injections, which she said nearly cost her her life. She wound up sick, later revealing doctors found traces of silicone in her bloodstream. She had no knowledge of the material being injected into her body. “That’s not the procedure that I paid her to do,” she explained. She said she’s now in the process of removing the material from her body.
As a result of her experience, Samuel doesn’t want others to find themselves on a similar path. She often has been vocal about her past in the entertainment industry and its lasting effects. Samuel believes over the years social media has fueled a narrative that has many young girls thinking that they must modify their looks in order to gain a level of success. She added, “It shouldn’t be that narrative anymore because people just see the glitz and the glam; they don’t see what we go through behind closed doors.” She further stated that the public only sees the lavish lifestyle and the fame, but are unaware of the dangers some have to go through in order to obtain those things.
Though she has no regrets about her decisions, it was also one of the many reasons she made a career shift. She continued, “Like I said, everything was tunnel vision. I did what I had to do. Do I regret anything? Absolutely not. I had fun doing it. I learned a lot. I’ve experienced a lot, and that shaped me into the businesswoman I am now.”
The former model said she’s working on a book that will detail her experience in the urban modeling world and what truly happens behind the curtains. As have many other celebrities as of late, Samuel also plans to remove her butt injections after falling ill after years of getting it done. She hopes to inspire young girls to think about other and safer career options.