Why Suzette Priester Is Already A Hit
Suzette Priester is the Founder of Hit Club Pro and the owner of Victoria Productions. A lifelong wrestling fan from Columbia, SC, she developed relationships in Atlanta and Los Angeles as both an actress and model.
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Inside Monthly sat down with Suzette at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC to learn about her past and how it is shaping the future of independent wrestling.
When did you decide to become a wrestling promoter?
Suzette: I always knew I was going to start a wrestling promotion. I just didn’t know when. When my brother and I were little we would build arenas out of VHS tapes and boxes. The two of us would have like 50 action figures and each of them would be stacked inside of NOW CD’s that we put together. We had very creative storylines with like WWE on this day and WrestleMania on that day so yeah…I always knew what I was going to do. I had just never seen anyone like me like behind the scenes.
I always wondered what it would be like if someone like me added their own touch [as a wrestling promoter]? How would it affect things and what would it look like?Click Here To Follow Hit Club Pro On Instagram
Was fitness a part of your upbringing as a child?
Suzette: To be honest, no. Like my family, well my mom’s side…COUNTRY! So no, it’s always been collard greens and stuff like that. I have always been a bigger girl which is why I’m a plus model. I always kept that in mind when I thought I was going to be a wrestler. I would have my gym membership and have my inspirational pictures of like Trish Stratus or Victoria or China or someone like that.
What books, content and/or people inspired you growing up?
Suzette: During those times my mom was very close with Fabulous Moolah. She was like a grandmother to me. Me being a kid, I wasn’t aware of her legacy; but seeing that and later realizing her impact and how she paved the way; I thought that was pretty amazing! As far as people, my escape was writing and wrestling was my safe place of course. If I could find something to watch that was wrestling related, then to me, everything was fine!
It doesn’t matter if you’re the only woman and the youngest one in the room. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have as much money as other people doing the same thing if you have confidence and you stand on yourself.– Suzette Priester – Founder of Hit Club Pro
How did you stay motivated [during the pandemic] over the past two years?
Suzette: I got to spend time with my family, my biological family. I just hadn’t been spending much time [with them]. And then living in Atlanta, I was always on the go and just always trying to figure out my next move [with bookings]. And then when COVID happened, it kind of made you feel like okay…calm down…breathe…relax…you got this! It really made me just tap into myself creatively and just enjoy the smaller things. At first it was a little nerve-racking but [it was great] just being able to reflect and be away from everything and not have a lot on your plate.
What experiences in business have shaped you as a person?
Suzette: I guess just surrounding yourself by people you want to be like. When I got my camera [I started by volunteering] at an acting studio. I would help out there and then when they would film demo reels for actors I would be on set [during] production. I would just reach out to the director and say ‘Hey I’m trying to do what you do, can I stand beside you?‘ And with wrestling I would reach out to other promoters and say ‘Hey I’m trying to do what you do. I respect what you’re doing. Do you mind if I come and take notes and just ask questions and learn from you?’ Just reaching out [is so important], especially if you feel alone and you don’t have a team.
There have been situations where I’ve wanted to just kind of put my foot down and just kind of stand up for myself to say HEY this is how it needs to be. But everyone looks to me like the angry black woman, so feeling like you’re walking on eggshells with your every move kind of sucks.Click Here To Follow Suzette On Instagram
Did you have doors open in Atlanta that did not exist in other places?
Suzette: There are more resources. There are tax incentives for film. There are more agencies and just a lot more creative spaces. Where I’m from (Columbia, South Carolina) there are not any acting studios. In Atlanta, you can find an actor that was just on TV with a self taping studio in their living room that you can pull up on at midnight and do your audition. If you compare campus life when I was in Columbia [at USC], everyone dresses the same and everyone just moves the same. In Atlanta, everyone has their own style and they’re just living life how they do it. In a big city, there’s a community for everyone. So if you’re trying to get into film, trying to be a model or if you’re trying to be a wrestling promoter there’s a community; or there’s [at least] a group of people there that are probably already doing that and you can kind of reach out to and say ‘hey’. And then when you surround yourself by certain people that you want to be like I feel like it’s just a little more obtainable. Considering my success, it just feels a little more realistic versus people that have never been around successful people. It’s not really a goal or something that they’re reaching for because they have never seen it.
Atlanta has a lot of younger people doing things, a lot of younger black people. It’s just the world of opportunity, especially if you’re entrepreneurial. I would definitely recommend somewhere like Atlanta in film because there’s a million and one opportunities. A lot of people aren’t waiting for agents or different things to pick them up. They are just like, ‘okay if there is no room at this table, I’m going to build one myself!’ That’s kind of like the mentality in Atlanta.– Suzette Priester is the Owner Of Victoria Productions
What kind of stories do you want to tell with Victoria Productions?
Suzette: I bought a camera. I just invested in myself like I never had before. I just knew I was going to start a production that was going to turn into a wrestling promotion. I didn’t know where my team was going to come from or how it was going to do it but I knew it was a starting point. During the pandemic when nothing was really open, I bought a camera…bought lights…just bought a bunch of things and started on my own production company. I was like ‘okay I’m gonna do short films, but morph into wrestling and just kind of have it kind of like full circle’ so that was definitely the start of my journey. Just having that time and riding it and being creative.
What’s something in business you feel as a black woman you have to take a different approach to?
Suzette: Real stories or raw stories. So I mean I’ve been through a lot and I mean A LOT in life! Just being able to kind of show that story to people. I just want to be living proof that dreams do come true; if I can translate that or just let people know I understand. One of the main things I want to shed light upon would be mental health in the black community, specifically black men. During the pandemic, a couple of my friends (male black friends) just ended up in a really dark place mentally. Counseling and things like that just didn’t seem realistic to them because growing up it just wasn’t something that would be encouraged or feel like an option. Just kind of shedding light on that and seeing [firsthand] how the pandemic affected people, especially young black men.
Did you have to promote your event in order to find talent?
Suzette: Once I put myself out there, a lot of wrestlers reached out. A lot of people wanted to hop on the wagon. They were like ‘Hey, I see what you’re doing and I would love to be a part of it.’ There were people that I already had in mind that I wanted to ask to come from the Atlanta area just because in North Carolina you see a lot of the same wrestlers and a lot of the same faces. There are people that watch these wrestlers in other states (online), but they never got to see them (in person). So just kind of bringing that to them and giving it a little twist by mixing it up a little bit. But yeah a lot of people reached out to us with emails and we reached out too, so it was kind of a balance.
Alright, we’re going wrap it up. Do you have any final words?
Suzette: I’ve done some acting so if you want to contact me personally you can follow me on Instagram @SuzetteVictoria. If you are interested in Hit Club Pro, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve done some pretty cool things as far as modeling and acting recently [that are not out yet so I can’t talk about them] but yeah…they are pretty cool.
I’m excited about our first show ever. We have a pretty good venue at the Firestar Arena. We have some names like ‘ AJ Gray’ and ‘David Ali’ . We also have Myron Reed of MLW and AC Mac. AC is the IWTV World Champion right now and you’re going to see a lot of these people doing a lot of big things in the future.– Suzette Priester – Founder of Hit Club Pro