Trè Samuels is the first to admit he can be perceived as a shy guy. “Most people think I’m super quiet, because I usually am if I haven’t had the chance to properly suss you out yet,” he laughs, revealing the quiet confidence of someone who speaks gently and reflectively, thinking carefully about what he wants to say.
And then you watch him sing – fearless – entirely lost in the moment. A voice imbued with soul, as though it was arranged for the specific purpose of singing R&B, and drenched in a yearning that belies his youthful 18 years.
“I started [singing] because of Michael Jackson. I remember watching You Rock My World and Smooth Criminal, trying to sing every note he sang and do every little step that he hit … He really helped me realise how deep my love for music actually was.”
Samuels, who describes himself primarily as a singer-songwriter, “randomly ended up in the fashion world” via a serendipitous journey to New York City in June 2015 to meet with a record label. On his way to meet his father in Chelsea for lunch he was approached by an agent who asked if he’d considered modelling. Within the week he was Milan-bound, travelling towards his runway debut – an exclusive for Prada’s Resort 16 show.
That walk caught the attention of Fashion Week tastemakers, and he was booked in quick succession for Dior Homme, Hermès, Valentino and Lanvin during the men’s season in Paris, before opening for Public School’s AW 16 show back in New York. He’s balanced a full schedule ever since.
“I love that I get to meet and connect with so many amazing people. Creative people, people that are always down to ride with new ideas and support certain visions that most people would shy away from.”
Vision is something Samuels has in spades, finding ways to let his platform as a model coincide with a blossoming music career. A forthcoming follow-up EP, Raspberry Wine, is in the works, but what he aches for in his future is quite simple. “I just wanna be able to look back and see that I’ve grown,” he says.
“[I want to] see growth when it comes to my music, me as a human being, how I treat others around me, transitioning into a man.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Sam Hendel
FASHION Bridie Gilbert
MODEL Trè Samuels @ IMG
GROOMING Kota Suizu @ Caren using Elemis Grooming