You can tell a lot from the background in somebody’s Zoom. Although there are many limiting aspects about being in self-isolation due to the novel coronavirus, it has offered us a unique intimacy we would’ve never explored otherwise. And video chatting with people, giving them access directly into your sacred space is one of them.
So what could I tell about Real Housewives of Potomac star Monique Samuels when we connected on Zoom last week?
It seems like the mother of three is taking full advantage of this extra time with her family, including her former NFL husband Chris. Her hair looks amazing (Dare I say professionally done, but we all know Monique by now and she’s skilled when it comes to the laying of the edges); she looks as if she got a good night’s rest (even though her youngest, Chase, is nearing 2.) A ring light is illuminating her perfectly beat face and behind her are the calming trees of Potomac, a nondescript town in Maryland now made famous thanks to Bravo.
“Quarantine has been like a vacation for me, honestly,” she confirms. “I’m trying to be the best mom, the best wife, the best business woman. And then you have the reality show and all of these things that are just put on your plate, and it’s actually allowed me the chance to just kind of step back. I don’t have to get up and get dressed and leave the house and be gone for hours after doing an interview or doing press and then sitting in traffic—I’m here.”
The Not For Lazy Moms creator, who’s known on the series for using essential oils and alternative medicine to keep her children healthy, said she’s trying to keep her kids’ immune systems in good shape by encouraging them to take a daily vitamin, using probiotics and getting them active outside.
“Address the colon,” the podcast host advises of keeping your children healthy. “Make sure they’re on a good probiotic because if you got crap sitting in your system and it’s just sitting, you’re going to be more prone to get sick.”
The 36-year-old reality star has welcomed the long pause, especially after a tumultuous season of filming that spilled off camera. On a network that reminds viewers to ignore headlines and instead “watch what happens,” a fight between Samuels and co-star Candiace Dillard Bassett couldn’t be ignored. Cameras were rolling last October when, according to legal complaints, Samuels allegedly grabbed Dillard Bassett by the hair and pulled her down. Both co-stars faced assault charges after each woman filed counter-complaints, stemming from the October 16 incident. The charges were later dismissed.
Samuels tells ESSENCE she never wanted to involve the law when it came to the altercation. “I had no intention of pursuing any charge against Candiace,” she reveals. “I had no intention of trying to see her in jail or even trying to get any money up out of her. I just wanted to move forward. She had other intentions and it dragged out to the point where every outlet is covering it without all the information.”
In response, Dillard Bassett told ESSENCE in a statement, “As I sit here focusing on my own career and the preparation of the premiere of The Real Housewives of Potomac, I am extremely disheartened by the inaccuracies stated in the recent interview by Mrs. Samuels on ESSENCE. I absolutely love the ESSENCE platform and everything that it represents and look forward to speaking with ESSENCE soon with regards what actually happened. My fans and my brand are everything to me.”
Nevertheless, Samuels said she’s thankful “the court system was able to see through the BS” and dropped the charges for both women. Especially since she’s now ready to move on.
“Sometimes in life you find yourself in positions where you do things and then you look back and you’re like, ‘Man, how did that even happen? How did this even get to this point?’ To me, the most important part is what you do to move forward after that and making sure that you do things so that it doesn’t happen again. And I took that whole journey very seriously,” Samuels admits, noting she reached out to a professional for help.
“I started seeing a therapist,” she reveals. “I’ve always believed in good counseling, but I never saw like a professional therapist before who doesn’t know me, so that was new and it was actually a good thing. It allowed me to really investigate what my triggers were and to really understand what can push you. And I always thought that I was pretty much in control of myself, but then you get tested. So now that I know what my triggers are, you can’t test me.”
“I have way too much to lose, so I can’t be fighting people. So I’m just grateful that I was able to turn this negative situation into a positive,” Samuels concludes.
It’s one of the reasons she created a song — in true Real Housewives fashion — inspired by the altercation. “Drag Queens” is a play on what Samuels told Dillard Bassett last season that she’d “drag” her “pregnant and all.”
“It was my way of spinning a negative and making it positive and something that I could kind of use as an outlet to move forward…and add a little shade in there.”
Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac returns with a new season, and a new housewife Wendy Osefo, on Sunday.