It’s A Hard Knock Life
Born in Decatur, Alabama, Cynthia Bailey, star of the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) grew up in Tuscumbia, a small town in Alabama that earned its notoriety as the birthplace of Helen Keller. With her sights set on the big prize, she was the first African American to be crowned Homecoming Queen of her High School. At the age of 18, the Bravolebrity signed with Wilhelmina Models in New York City, seeking her fame and fortune.
Her parents worked tirelessly to make ends meet. Her dad worked at the local auto factory and her mother at a sewing factory.
“We had what we needed growing up, but there were no frills or anything extra,” Cynthia recalls. “For Christmas, my younger sister Mal and I would get one big present. For example, we could get a bike or an Easy Bake oven. We are very close in age, so it would always be something that we could share. We never complained, and it was always appreciated. We knew money was tight, so we were happy to get anything!”
Image: Mal & Cynthia via Cynthia’s Instagram
Cynthia’s success if in the hands of God & herself
Cynthia’s mother Barbara was a smart and beautiful woman. She had big dreams, but at the young age of 18, she met Cynthia’s father Elijah, and became pregnant with Cynthia. They were married and 11 months after Cynthia was born she became pregnant again with her sister Mal. All of her dreams and ambitions took a backseat to motherhood. Like any good mother, raising her children was her priority and her career was put on hold. The RHOA star looked up to her mother and respected her choices, but knew early on that she wanted a brighter future for herself. She chose not to walk down the same path.
“If you are not independently successful and have to depend on someone else for security, you have few options. Sometimes you end up having to settle because of your situation. I never want to settle,” says Cynthia. “The only person I want to depend on is God and myself. Everyone and everything else is a bonus. Instead of learning from my mother’s examples, I learned from her mistakes. She is my biggest inspiration, imperfections and all. I am fearless because of her and failure is not an option. My dreams were once her dreams, and now she is able to live them through me.”
Being a mom is Cynthia’s #1 priority
Cynthia has several business ventures, but none of them take priority over her most important job of being a mother to her 16-year-old daughter Noelle. With the help of Noelle’s dad, actor Leon Robinson, they are committed to raising their daughter together. Because of both parents’ busy schedule, they have decided to home school Noelle in order for her to spend equal time with both parents who are no longer together.
“I know how to be a mother, but I have no idea how to be a father. We are our daughter’s parents and we are also her mentors. We have found a balance that works for our family. By choosing to homeschool Noelle during her teenage years, it allows us both to focus on our careers while giving our daughter the proper education and attention that every child deserves and yet so hardly gets. If we didn’t make the decision as a family to homeschool her, we would never see her. She wants, and needs to be with her parents,” says Cynthia.
Noelle is an aspiring actress, model and a singer. David Tutera Celebrations on the WE network just recently filmed her Super Sweet 16. She will also be featured on Bravo’s ‘Below Deck’.
Image: Noelle & Tina Knowles via Cynthia’s Instagram
Cynthia is forever optimistic about her future and can eventually see herself moving back to New York or Los Angeles.
“Who knows? Maybe I will be a New York Housewife or a Beverly Hills Housewife one day,” laughs Cynthia. But for now, she’s still happy being Atlanta’s classiest housewife.
Heres the pictures from Cynthia’s glamorous shoot!