Chasity Samone – Focused
Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis
Chasity Samone is a model, activist and Army veteran who has accomplished quite a bit over the last few years.
The Dallas native and I discussed her time in the military, relocation to NYC, work with companies like Karmaloop and Playboy,
women equality and more.
Let’s start with your background. Where are you from and how did you grow up?
I’m from Dallas, Texas. My mom and dad had 11 children together and I’m number 7 of that 11. I graduated from Carter High School and joined the Army afterward for 3 years and 1 inactive. I moved to New York afterward.
Were you a military brat?
No, I wasn’t. My older sisters were. My father worked for the federal government but was a retired solider as well.
Was your dad the reason you joined the military?
Yes, also I was very active in ROTC in high school so I just knew what I wanted to do. I literally enlisted while I still was in high school and I went in right after graduation.
Okay. I’m an Army brat, myself so I grew up around all of that and moved around quite a bit. I’m intrigued by it, especially being that a majority of my closest friends joined the military.
Oh, wow. Did you join?
No, I went straight into college and then into the entertainment side of things, lol. Where were you stationed?
I was stationed at Fort Jackson, SC. I was a 42 Alpha, a human resource specialist.
Okay, cool. A lot of people that join end up staying until retirement. What made you decide to get out early?
I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way some of my battle buddies and I were treated. Women didn’t have a voice. Also, I was reading and learning a lot and it wasn’t for me anymore though I did want to rise in rank and do a lot of that great stuff.
How would you compare women’s obstacles in the military versus the entertainment business?
It is still the same thing but I have room to grow and make my voice heard. I have many options. I’m not caged in to anything. When I was in the Army, I was caged in and didn’t have a platform to be heard.
Okay. So once you got out of the military, what landed you in NYC? Also, what borough did you move to?
I was a local model at first. A woman named Ashley Williams posted a picture of me on Facebook and asked her friends if anybody knew me. People started to tag me and she ended up offering me my first photo shoot opportunity. Once I did that, I never stopped doing photo shoots and after a year, I felt like I had outgrown my city. So, I decided to move to NYC. I moved to Brooklyn for 2 years and then I lived in Harlem for a year.
Was modeling a dream of yours early on?
Yes, even my friends today mention how I used to say I was going to be a model. I always had it in me. I guess I was never granted the opportunities early on.
In general, people don’t get discovered as much as they used to without actually putting the work in. How did it feel to have someone see you and ask, “Who is this?”
Great because she didn’t have to believe in or see anything in me but she did and for a complete stranger to do that is always a great feeling.
Things sound like they went perfect for you. Is that the case? Did things just fall into place?
Of course there were hard times and stuff like that but when I moved to NYC a lot of things did fall into place for me. I met my (ex) manager who was also from Dallas and had already done a lot of groundwork managing artists. So, I got to work with Karmaloop and a lot of the streetwear brands in NYC. I’m really blessed because now that I think about it. I worked hard.
That always intrigues me. NYC is my favorite city. I’m from Indianapolis originally and relocated to Atlanta because we have a lot more ties here but NYC is next in line for me to live. It is just a big leap and extremely expensive up there. What did you do to navigate through that? Did you already have ties there?
I gravitated towards the people who gravitated towards me, found a tribe and we all came together and helped each other. It was very hard. We were all very young living up there and we made sure that we shared opportunities with each other as they presented themselves. So, I had like a whole family that I still love and talk to everyday. All my friends are doing great things.
How did you decide what route you wanted to go in the modeling world being that there are models who do print, runway, etc.? Did you receive any training or did you just learn as you went?
Those were definitely hurdles that I had to get over, for sure. I had to figure out what type of model I wanted to be and what lane I actually fit in. After NYC I moved to LA because it was more of my lane. I am a beauty model. I’m not a runway or fashion model, although I do a lot of fashion now. It was a little tricky but you’ll find out who your clients are eventually when you see who is consistently booking you. You just go wherever they are.
So, break down how Playboy came about.
In 2016, I was Playboy News of the Week. That was an online feature on their website. They asked for photos of me and did the feature. Then, a lot of things happened. The company changed over the years and then they came back doing nude modeling again and I thought “Ooh, that’s lit”. I had come across the casting director of the Playmates. I had always wanted to be a Playmate so I DM’d her on Instagram, she replied to me and now I’m a Playmate, lol. That was in 2018 that I sent that DM.
Dope. Taking a chance works out sometime, lol. You mentioned that things had changed and as a lot of us know, Hugh Heffner passed away a few years back. Are you familiar with the publication enough to where you know how things worked prior to his passing vs. after? What kind of major changes have taken place?
They stopped doing nudity after his passing for I don’t know how long. Maybe like a year or something? Also, it is quarterly now whereas it was a monthly publication before so only four issues a year. I also share my issue, the Equality issue with two other playmates. So, Jan-March is who is in the equality issue.
I didn’t know that. I hadn’t heard much about Playboy after Hugh’s passing. Publications as a whole have had to make those adjustments and a lot of us have switched over to focusing on digital more and doing less prints.
Yes, Playboy will be a definitely be a collectible item/magazine so I’m excited for that.
Right. Let’s talk about equality a bit. What is your take?
Right now, women equality is my thing. Equal rights and equal pay for women vs. our male counterparts is my main focus for equality, for sure.
Okay. So, within these last few years, women empowerment has been doing very well and the #metoo movement has been on the rise. Even in our community, it is said that black women as a whole are more educated, they have more jobs, are doing better, etc. than the males are. If that is the case, what type of things do you go through that make you feel the way you do? Break that down for me.
As far as being a black woman, we still have to realize that the ratio of the amount of dollars to cents compared to how much a man is being paid in the corporate world is very much off. Although a lot of black women are entrepreneurs now and we are doing better, that doesn’t mean we aren’t being treated unfairly behind the scenes.
Gotcha. One of the big reasons we moved down to Atlanta is that there are so many black people down here doing well. Of course we’d like to see that happened all over the place as well. In the Midwest, the murder rate is high and there aren’t as many outlets available in some of those cities. Everyone can’t move to Atlanta because there just isn’t enough room so it’d be great for things to expand.
Exactly. It is more to talk and fight about. Of course, Atlanta is Black Hollywood and a lot of people thrive there but there are a lot of other cities in the nation that need to have the same concept or have politicians in place to implement some laws so things can change.
With that being said, how are you feeling about this upcoming election?
I am feeling pretty optimistic about it, you know? I haven’t really decided who I’m going to go with and I still have some things that I need to figure out before I decide whom I want to vote for. I don’t think we’ll get let down this election time around and I’m very positive about it.
I understand. Other than Playboy, what would you say have been some other highlights in your career?
I got a lot of eyes on me when I did Wale’s Pretty Young Thing music video. I was the main girl in that video. I did a lot of music videos for a lot of high profile artists. I’ve done a lot of make up campaigns. Everything has been a big opportunity and a big blessing for me.
Lastly, what kind of advice can you give to those who are trying to get in the door?
Stay focused, consistent and think about your long-term goals and why you’re doing it. Place yourselves in places you need to be to achieve those goals and keep moving. Don’t let anyone tell you no. If they do, create your own opportunities and don’t let a man, your parents, siblings or anyone else tear you away from your dreams.
Follow Chasity Samone on Instagram @chasitysamone or on Twitter @chasitysamonex.
Photo By Brandon Hicks