Cynthia Bailey

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Cynthia Bailey
Born (1967-02-19) February 19, 1967 (age 52)
Decatur, Alabama, United States
  • Model
  • television personality
  • actress
Known forThe Real Housewives of Atlanta
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)

Cynthia Denise Bailey (born February 19, 1967) is an American model, reality television personality, and actress. Born and raised in Alabama, Bailey moved to New York City at the age of 18 to pursue a modeling career. There, she signed a five-year contract with Wilhelmina Models, and subsequently appeared as a model in various magazines and advertising campaigns. She also worked as a runway model in Paris and Milan.

Bailey has acted in films, including Without You I'm Nothing (1990) and For Love or Money (1993), and on television programs, such as The Cosby Show. Bailey joined the reality television show The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2010; the series focused primarily on her marriage to club owner Peter Thomas and her friendship with NeNe Leakes. Bailey married Thomas in 2010, and their divorce was finalized in 2017.

Early life[edit]

Cynthia Bailey was born on February 19, 1967, in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Tuscumbia.[1][2] Her father, Elijah, worked at an auto factory and her mother, Barbara, worked at a sewing factory.[2] Barbara was 18 when she was pregnant with Cynthia, and had another daughter, Malorie, roughly a year later.[2][3] While growing up, Bailey was inspired by her grandmother, Mae Frankie Ford. who worked in a sewing factory, sold hotdogs and hamburgers, cleaned houses, and volunteered to care for an elderly woman. She described Ford as "the first female black entrepreneur in [her] life".[4]

Bailey enrolled in freshman-level courses at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and also competed in local beauty pageants.[5][6] She was the first African American homecoming queen in her high school.[2] After winning the event, she participated in a homecoming queen pageant. Even though she did not win, she was contacted by a Wilhelmina Models talent scout.[7] At age 18, she moved to New York City and signed a five-year contract with the modeling agency.[8][9] She had raised the money for the move through part-time work at a mall.[2]


1985–2009: Early modeling career[edit]

She appeared in the 1985 low-budget film The Dark Power and the 1989 music video for New Order's "Round & Round".[10][11] In 1990, she played Roxanne in the film Without You I'm Nothing, and remained friends with its star Sandra Bernhard.[12][13] Naomi Campbell was also considered for the role.[9] Bailey appeared in a 1990 episode of the sitcom The Cosby Show.[12][14] Her audition for a role in the 1991 film The Five Heartbeats was featured in the 2018 documentary The Making of the Five Heartbeats.[15] In 1993, she played a model in the film For Love or Money,[13] and the following year, she appeared in the music video for Heavy D's single "Nuttin But Love" from the album of the same name.[16] She played a masseuse in a 1995 episode of New York Undercover.[12]

After working as a runway model in Paris and Milan for a year, Bailey returned to New York City and modeled for Maybelline, Oil of Olay, and Target and in magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Elle, and Vanity Fair.[6][9] She appeared on two Essence magazine covers in June 1995 – her first job as a model – and 1997.[9][17] The magazine's then editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor described Bailey as one of her favorite models.[9] Bailey's favorite modeling job was a Vanity Cover shot by Annie Leibovitz and featuring Iman, Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell, and Tyra Banks;[6] Iman had invited Bailey to participate in the shoot.[18]

2010–2016: The Real Housewives of Atlanta and other work[edit]

In 2010, Bailey joined the reality television show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which featured her relationship with club owner Peter Thomas and her friendship with NeNe Leakes.[9] She was introduced in the show's third season along with Phaedra Parks.[19] Bailey was initially uncertain about joining the show, describing it as "too dramatic", but changed her mind after viewing it as a business opportunity. She was contacted by Bravo shortly after moving to Atlanta with Thomas; the network said that they "wanted to bring more class to the cast, and feature more women that already had successful careers before the show".[2]

In 2011, Bailey opened her modeling school, Bailey Agency School of Fashion in Atlanta;[2][4][7] the following year, she held a model search in several cites in the Southern United States as part of a contest to win representation by a New York modeling agency.[4] Bailey appeared in a trilogy of music videos ("Age Ain't a Factor", "Baby x3", and "Chase Forever") for Jaheim's 2013 album Appreciation Day.[20][21][22] In the "Age Ain't a Factor" video, she was shown in a fictional Essence article on "Ageless Beauty", alongside LisaRaye McCoy and Vivica A. Fox.[20] The "Baby x3" video focuses on infidelity with Bailey and Thomas portraying "secret lovers".[21]

Bailey appeared in the 2015 documentary series Black Friday, which is about how little consumer spending is retained within black communities.[23] The same year, she acted in Kenya Moore's television pilot, Life Twirls On.[24][25] For the character, she used a Jamaican accent.[12] In 2016, she had a minor role in the film Sharknado: The 4th Awakens,[25] and guest starred on The Next :15 alongside former The Real Housewives of Atlanta costar Claudia Jordan.[26] She was also featured on a celebrity edition of Cupcake Wars with Nene Leakes.[27]

2017–present: Continued work[edit]

Bailey was a guest judge for the preliminary and finals competition of the 65th Miss Universe competition.[28] In 2018, Bailey signed a contract with the New York-based agency Major Models; her daughter is also signed with the company.[8] In April 2018, Bailey underwent surgery to remove a lipoma tumor from her left shoulder blade. The procedure was successful without any reported complications.[29] In 2019, Bailey guest starred in an episode of Last Call,[30] and acted in How High 2, the sequel to the 2001 film How High.[13] She also started a line of bags, named CB VIOR,[17][31] as well as a line of candles, leather goods, and eyewear.[17]

Bailey plans to open a wine bar, Bailey Room Wine Cellar, and an event space, The Bailey Room, in Grant Park, Atlanta;[32][33] the wine bar opened in July 2019.[34] The same year, she had a partnership with Seagram, creating a signature drink, a Bellini cocktail.[33][35] It was sold in April 2019. The launch party was shown on an eleventh season episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. In it, Leakes is angry that Bailey had invited Kenya Moore to the event without her knowledge.[33] The incident was discussed during the season's reunion episodes,[36] and Leakes and Bailey publicly ended their friendship.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Bailey dated Jayson Williams in 1996,[9][38] and he proposed to her during a Brooklyn Nets halftime show.[39] She rejected the proposal and returned the engagement ring to him.[39][40] She also turned down a marriage proposal from Russell Simmons.[40] Bailey had a romantic relationship with Leon Robinson, and on November 9, 1999, she gave birth to their daughter, Noelle.[15][41]

Bailey married Thomas on July 24, 2010 at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History;[42] the wedding was shown on a season three episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.[43] They publicly announced their separation in 2016, and their divorce was finalized in March 2017.[44][45][46] Bailey moved with her daughter to a house that she calls "Lake Bailey". She initially wanted an apartment, saying that she wanted "the New York City sort of lifestyle", but producers from The Real Housewives of Atlanta convinced her to purchase a home instead.[47]

Bailey publicly announced her relationship with Fox Sports correspondent Mike Hill in August 2018.[48] Hill and Bailey became engaged in July 2019, with plans to wed in October 2020. [49][50]



Title Year Role Ref(s)
The Dark Power 1985 Tammie
Without You I'm Nothing 1990 Roxanne
For Love or Money 1993 Model


Title Year Role Notes Ref(s)
The Cosby Show 1990 Sheniquah Watkins episode: "Just Thinking About It"
New York Undercover 1995 Masseuse #2 episode: "Catman Comes Back"
The Real Housewives of Atlanta 2010–present herself
Black Friday 2015 Herself documentary series
Life Twirls On 2015 CeeCee TV pilot
The Next :15 2016 herself
Cupcake Wars 2016 herself contestant; episode: "Celebrity: Hello Cupcakes"
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens 2016 Tech Addison TV movie
Last Call 2019 Eloise episode: "Fifteen Minutes"
How High 2 2019 TV movie

Music video appearances[edit]

Title Year Artist Ref.
"Round & Round" 1989 New Order [11]
"Age Ain't a Factor" 2013 Jaheim [20]
"Baby x3" [21]
"Chase Forever" [22]


  1. ^ Berg, Jenny (February 21, 2019). "Cynthia Bailey Shows How 'Birthday Dinner' Is Done With This Epic Plate of Food". Bravo. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Cynthia Bailey: Cyn in the City". Millennium Magazine. September 7, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (October 3, 2018). "Cynthia Bailey's Sister Malorie Opens Up About Her Struggles and Hopes to Help Others 'Start Living Your Best Life'". Bravo. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Temple, Chanda (January 21, 2012). "'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star Cynthia Bailey kicks off model search today in Birmingham (updated)". Archived from the original on April 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Temple, Chanda (January 15, 2012). "'Real Housewife' Cynthia Bailey brings model search to Birmingham". Archived from the original on April 25, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Bio". Archived from the original on August 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Berg, Jenny (October 23, 2017). "How Losing a Beauty Pageant Helped Cynthia Bailey Become a Model". Bravo. Archived from the original on October 26, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Palmer, Tamara (May 31, 2018). "She's Back! Cynthia Bailey Signed a New Modeling Contract with a Major Agency". Bravo. Archived from the original on August 5, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Palmer, Tamara (June 27, 2012). "Cynthia Bailey Through The Years". Essence. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Tatum (September 24, 2010). "Cynthia Bailey's 1985 Film "The Dark Power" Trailer". Wetpaint. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "New Order - Round and Round (Official Music Video)". YouTube. October 18, 2013. Archived from the original on August 7, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e Hawkins, Kayla (April 12, 2015). "Can Cynthia Act? The 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Model Does Have Some Prior On Camera Experience". Bustle. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Cynthia Bailey". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017.
  14. ^ a b @CynthiaBailey10 (December 28, 2012). "Me as Shaniqua Watkins on THE COSBY SHOW! #cynthiabaileyflashback" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (December 6, 2018). "Cynthia Bailey Reveals a Detail About Her Former Romance with Leon That Proves Fate Is Real". Bravo. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "Black Music Month: Models in Music Videos". Essence. June 29, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c "Cynthia Bailey". Bravo. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019.
  18. ^ Bailey, Cynthia (August 24, 2011). "Cynthia Bailey: From runways to 'Real Housewives'". CNN. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 3 Cast Info". Bravo. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Sangweni, Yolanda (August 8, 2013). "LisaRaye, Vivica A. Fox and Cynthia Bailey Dish on Starring in Jaheim's 'Age Ain't a Factor' Video". Essence. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c "Go Behind the Scenes of Jaheim's 'Baby 3x' Video". ABC News. September 6, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Daniels, Sharifa (October 24, 2013). "Vixen Exclusive: New Video Jaheim 'Chase Forever' [Video]". Vibe. Archived from the original on March 2, 2016.
  23. ^ a b "'Black Friday': Filmaker Ric Mathis' Examines African American Spending in New Documentary". Blavity. 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Life Twirls On: TV Pilot". YouTube. May 8, 2015. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c Rosenfeld, Laura (June 3, 2016). "Sharknado 4 Is Just the Beginning of Cynthia Bailey's Acting Career". Bravo. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Bellino, Damian (22 January 2016). "Jennifer Williams Is Recording a Song with Benzino, Cynthia Bailey's Giving Laura Govan Advice, + New York's Putting Hands on Carl Butler in theThe Next :15 Trailer". VH1. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016.
  27. ^ a b Rosenfeld, Laura (19 July 2016). "NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey Just Proved Their Friendship Is Going Strong". Bravo. Archived from the original on 21 July 2016.
  28. ^ Boardman, Mickey (February 4, 2017). "My Time as a Miss Universe Judge". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 26, 2018.(subscription required)
  29. ^ Mazziotta, Julie; Quinn, Dave (April 4, 2018). "Cynthia Bailey Underwent Surgery to Remove a Lipoma Tumor: 'I Was Scared'". People. Archived from the original on April 23, 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Last Call to Premiere on Bounce Mon. Jan. 14 With Two Episodes Back-to-Back at 9pm and 9:30pm ET". PR Newswire. January 10, 2019. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  31. ^ "About CB VIOR". Archived from the original on April 21, 2019.
  32. ^ "Cynthia Bailey Is Opening a Wine Bar in 2019 — Here's Everything We Know". Bravo. December 20, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  33. ^ a b c Berg, Jenny (March 18, 2019). "Get Your First Look Inside Cynthia Bailey's New Wine Tasting Venue". Bravo. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  34. ^ Quinn, Dave (July 26, 2019). "She Said Yes! Real Housewives of Atlanta Star Cynthia Bailey Engaged to Sportscaster Mike Hill". People. Archived from the original on August 1, 2019.
  35. ^ Lemoncelli, Jenna (March 29, 2019). "RHOA'S Cynthia Bailey Has Had Enough Of NeNe Leakes Slamming Her Ahead Of Finale: 'Get Over It'". Hollywood Life. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019.
  36. ^ Hope, Clover (April 2, 2019). "Cynthia Bailey Is Not Here For the Drama". Jezebel. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019.
  37. ^ Telusma, Blue (April 22, 2019). "Cynthia Bailey and NeNe Leakes end nine-year friendship during RHOA reunion". The Grio. Archived from the original on April 22, 2019.
  38. ^ Wong, Matt (September 29, 2012). "Jayson Williams speaking freely". ESPN. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  39. ^ a b Valiente, Maria (May 12, 2011). "Cynthia Bailey Dishes About the Long List of Men She Turned Down". Wetpaint. Archived from the original on May 12, 2016.
  40. ^ a b "'RHoA': Peter Thomas on Cynthia and 'Housewives'". Essence. November 19, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  41. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (November 9, 2016). "Cynthia Bailey Posts a Trippy Birthday Tribute to Her "Babydoll" of a Daughter". Bravo. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017.
  42. ^ "Bridal Bliss: 'RHOA's' Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas". Essence. February 11, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  43. ^ Wolfert, Cari (January 28, 2011). "Real Housewives of Atlanta's Cynthia Bailey talks wedding details (and shares the story behind her platinum wedding dress)". Brides. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018.
  44. ^ Drew (November 2, 2016). "Real Housewives of Atlanta's Cynthia Bailey Confirms She's Divorcing Peter Thomas: 'I Will Never Marry Again'". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017.
  45. ^ Quinn, Dave (November 6, 2016). "Cynthia Bailey Begins Divorce Proceedings From Peter Thomas in RHOA Premiere". People. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017.
  46. ^ Rosenfeld, Laura (March 13, 2017). "Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas Are Officially Divorced". Bravo. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018.
  47. ^ Quinn, Dave (November 17, 2017). "Cynthia Bailey Would Never Have Found Her Dream Home if It Weren't for RHOA Producers". People. Archived from the original on April 23, 2019.
  48. ^ Rosenfeld, Laura (February 19, 2019). "Cynthia Bailey Reveals How Boyfriend Mike Hill Differs from Exes Peter Thomas and Leon Robinson". Bravo. Archived from the original on February 20, 2019.
  49. ^ "Cynthia Bailey of 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' is engaged to Mike Hill"".
  50. ^ "Cynthia Bailey Announces Her Official Wedding Date and Some New Hashtags, Too"".