Reality Star Cynthia Bailey worked the runway for Wilhelmina Models that led her from New York to Atlanta. She joined the third season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta and has been a regular ever since. She appeared on The Next: 15 as well as Cupcake Wars.
Her businesses include an eyewear line, a modeling school and a backpack line that launches on the show this season. Beginning season nine of the Housewives, Bailey is out to prove she gets by with a little help from her friends.
Windy City Times: Hi, Cynthia. I'm calling you from Chicago, so I'm hoping you can visit here soon.
Cynthia Bailey: I want to. I'm supposed to do the Steve Harvey Show at some point. My friend Jussie Smollett is filming Empire there. So I would like to hang out with him there.
WCT: You have been a Real Housewife for a long time.
CB: This is my seventh season. Can you believe it?
WCT: Kenya Moore told me that you are one of the most gay-friendly of the group.
CB: Well, I am. I didn't know if I am the most but I definitely love the gays and they love me as well, so sure. It's a win-win!
WCT: What is your new tagline this season?
CB: "I'm walking the runway and I'm ready to walk it alone." I just found out what it was the other day so I don't have it completely memorized.
It is a play on my modeling career and going through my divorce.
WCT: Are you tired of talking about the divorce yet?
CB: Kinda sorta. It is part of the healing process. The more I talk about it, the more I get through the next day. There will be a point where there is nothing to talk about in terms of the divorce. It will be over and Peter and I will move on respectfully.
In terms of the show this season, you definitely will see it all play out. Peter didn't film as much as he usually does. We have our moments on the show where we have to talk and sort it out.
WCT: Do you feel more independent and stronger now?
CB: Some days I feel like I can take on the world, and some days I feel like I don't want to get out of bed. It is one day at a time. Divorce is not easy. It is a very stressful process. Maybe it is easier if you hate each other, but if you still love and respect the person it is hard. I still love Peter and respect him. I don't want this to be a negative thing.
I feel like I have gone as far as I can go in this marriage. I am getting ready to turn the big 5-0 next year. I am at a point in my life where I am at a quest for peace. That is in all areas of my life. Along with that I would like this divorce to be peaceful. Peter and I were friends a long time before we were husband and wife. If we keep that in mind then we can end this and still be friends. That would make me happy.
WCT: Your hair should have its own hair show.
CB: That's a good idea!
WCT: Who is your hairstylist?
CB: Her name is Cynthia Bailey. Creatively, I always come up with what I want to do. I use a couple of people as stylists but sometimes they don't get my vision.
I know what I like. Even if someone doesn't get it I tell them what I want them to do.
When I first started the show the producers asked me to not change my hairstyle. They thought the fans wouldn't like it. I told them I am a model. I change. I would never wear just one hairstyle. I stuck to my guns on that. Now I am the hair girl on the show. They have changed and are excited to see my hair now.
WCT: The Bailey Agency School of Fashion is still going strong?
CB: Yesfour years and still growing.
WCT: Word has it that Sheree Whitfield's son is trying to join it.
CB: It is a school and about development. I do discover talent there because we do model searches. Sometimes a supermodel just walks in the door. When that happens I have the connections to refer them to New York or LA.
Kairo, her son, is gorgeous and a very handsome young man. He's pursuing his modeling career. On the show, you will see me being supportive of his efforts. Sheree is in full momanager mode. That gets interesting. I still come in peace! It is for the greater good of Kairo. Ultimately I do whatever I can to support him.
WCT: Would you ever want a spinoff show with your agency?
CB: I think about that sometimes. Yes and no. [Laughs] If I did both shows, then I would be filming 12 months a year. It would have to be down the road. It would be a great show. We have a lot of interesting drama at the Bailey Agency all the time. So yes, but not while I'm filming Housewives. That would be a lot on my plate.
I love filming the Housewives. Every season I get better and have grown. I am definitely part of the fabric of what makes the show work.
WCT: I was surprised to see that NeNe Leakes is not a regular cast member.
CB: We are friends outside of the show and see each other on the regular. She's busy doing other ventures. Ever since we made up we have been good. We don't see each other as much as we used to but we make time to see each other.
WCT: Viewers may get a different image of her on TV than in person. She's been very nice in my interviews.
CB: She is hilarious. If I want drinks and a good laugh, that is the girl I would call. She's the first person I connected with when I came on the show. I will always have love in my heart for her.
I feel that way about Phaedra also. We have been through ups and downs. We are really cool this season. I have a connection with her because we started the show together.
WCT: Phaedra is also going through a divorce right now.
CB: They have all been very supportive. A lot of them have been through it or are going through it themselves. We had a weird connection with that. I didn't know if I would get a lot of shade.
I will say to my face they showed compassion, god only knows what they say behind my back. I would like to say it was genuine but we will see when I watch the show with you guys!
WCT: Are you going to have a party to watch the premiere?
CB: I should have a party. I just bought a house on the lake.
WCT: But not a housewarming party like Kenya?
CB: Eventually I should because I want some fabulous gifts as well at Lake Bailey. It will be after the show and I will have a real life then. There are a lot things that I want from Williams-Sonoma. I will definitely have a gathering where gifts will be welcomed!
WCT: What makes the Atlanta Housewives different than the rest of the franchise?
CB: We just have organic drama that happens when the camera starts rolling. We have families, kids, and businesses. There is always something going wrong or someone is saying something.
Everyone brings their own element of crazy and funny to the show.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta throws shade Sundays on Bravo at 7 p.m. CT.