Cynthia Bailey On Motherhood, Children’s Book, Commitmentphobia
Yeah. I can’t do anything right by her. I’m not pretty enough to be a model, my house is not good enough, my baby shouldn’t be a model/actress she should be a lawyer… First of all, let me say she’s a great addition to the show. She’s definitely⎯during the casting process, in the beginning it was between the both of us but they chose us both because we’re very different. We’re night and day. So it’s interesting because she definitely has a lot to say but I feel like a lot of things she says don’t make a lot of sense. So I’m like Ok, I’ve been in the game 25 years and have all this success but you want to try to play my career like I just did a shoot at the mall. We didn’t do that much shooting together but I look forward to doing more scenes with her next season but I can take it for now. I’m a big girl. She puts it out there and I throw it right back.
Did your work as a model prepare you for female cattyness?
I think it was helpful for me coming from the fashion industry. I’m basically in a world with beautiful women where the competition is fierce. It’s very small and if there’s only a few jobs, the it-girl at the moment is going to get the jobs. So I think I had a lot of practice just being able to deal with rejection and just staying in my lane a little bit. One thing modeling has done is given me a tough skin and I don’t really take myself seriously or take things personally. I think that anything that’s for me, I’m goinna get and so when I moved over to TV with my new group of friends⎯I do me, they do them. It doesn’t necessarily have one thing to do with the other and I hope it comes off on the show that I’m very secure with myself and I don’t feel like I have to wave a banner like, “I did this and I did that.” I don’t have to validate myself to them. If they don’t get that I’m fabulous, then hopefully they will at some point but I can deal with it.
In general, what’s the fascination with the wives franchise with Real Housewives, Football Wives and Basketball Wives?
Women in general⎯I think we’re more interesting. We’re stronger and I think emotionally we take on a lot. We have to have children. I just think we take on more than men do so it just makes us more interesting people.
How do you balance your career with motherhood?
It’s hard because I really⎯Noel is actually 11-years-old today [Edit: Interview took place Nov 8] and her dad, thank goodness, is in Atlanta holding it down while I’m working and that’s the hard thing for me because me being a mother is the only job that I really do take seriously. I have to focus on my career as well because that’s all for the greater good of Noel⎯me being successful⎯that’s how that works. It’s really important for me to conduct myself in a way where I kept it real on the show. I really wanted to do it with integrity and didn’t want to do or say anything that Noel would be embarrassed about because she’s a part of the show so I couldn’t not let her watch it, her friends watch the show too. I just felt like I had to be a good example and do her justice on the show so I try to behave myself in most cases. But sometimes I did want to be open and be real and got caught up and if I had to go in I did, but that’s real and she knows that mommy can do that.
Can you elaborate on the children’s book you’re putting together with her?
She has a peanut allergy, which seems to be very common in children of this generation for some reason and she’s also the pickiest eater in the world so I decided to collaborate with her and do a cookbook. It’s something small, like maybe 25 recipes where I have her and the kids test out recipes or come up with recipes and it will be nut free. But it’s gonna end up being “The Pickiest Kid in the World Cookbook” or whatever with and illustrations and it will be Noel’s handwriting. I’m talking to publishers right now.
Another big thing with you on the show is that you’re a commitmentphobe. You talk a lot about being conflicted when it comes to marrying Peter what’s the root of the problem?
You will meet my mom on the show and she talks about her two marriages that she was in. They were two bad marriages with verbal abuse and physical abuse and I was around for all that stuff and I think what happened was I just remember being a little girl running around thinking I’m never gonna to be with a man whose an alcoholic I’m never gonna be with a man who hits me and carried around a lot of anger for my mom because she’s a beautiful woman but she just wasn’t as strong as I needed her to be at that time and now even when I talk about it, I’ve forgiven a lot but I always wanted to know why she couldn’t just walk away from. I didn’t understand because she was so amazing. It killed me to see her so helpless and I think because of her life I was so strong and determined to be independent and have my own money. It just felt easier to not be dependant on a man because I never wanted to be in a position where I had to and it really helped me become super ambitious and super successful in my whole life but it also left me kind of empty because I would get to a certain point in a relationship where even though I’d do the engagement thing I just didn’t get to marriage because I was carrying a lot of her baggage. And I finally let it go when I had a conversation with her about how I felt. We talk about it on the show so I can’t go into it too much. But it’s interesting because my sister is on the show as well and it didn’t affect her the same way it affected me. But I was the oldest so I think I took on everything trying to protect her a little more. So, it’s interesting that a lot of that stuff came out. I didn’t realize I really had an issue with it until I talked with my mom.
That advice do you have for women going through the same thing?
I would just say you can move forward. You have to get to the point in your life where you have to make the decision that you make a choice of what you deserve and what you want for your life and create it for yourself. If you’re in a domestic abusive, physically abusive, mentally abusive relationship, I totally know how it feels like you can be stuck but you have to find a way to lift yourself out of that because you can. And when you do there’s no way you can go back to something like that. You just have to break it and move forward.
That was a good interview cap but is there anything else you want to add?
I also have a line of headscarves that I’m working on, that’s my signature thing. And also I think in closing, it’s important for me to let everyone know that this is such an exciting new phase of my life. I get a lot of commentors on my blog⎯some good, some bad⎯but it’s so easy to sit on your living room couch and look at us and have your opinions about us but when you’re actually doing the show and you’re in that moment you’ll be surprised at what you can really deal with and what you cant deal with. So, I think the surprise for me was how hard it was to actually do the show to have cameras in your house three or four days a week and dealing with six different women, so one of the things that motivated me to keep going in terms of shooting the show is believing that my story that my life⎯different parts of it in some way⎯would inspire someone or motivate someone to do something positive or believe in themselves to make some good change in their own life. That really kept me going, knowing that I would be a platform to inspire people.