“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” opened doors and now Cynthia Bailey says she’s putting in the work to break through in Hollywood.
Bailey said goodbye to “RHOA” in 2021. Since then she’s been adding to her acting resume and will next be seen on Season 2 of AllBlk anthology series “Terror Lake Drive.” The new season is titled “Terror Lake Drive: Single Black Female” and premieres on June 23.
As a Black woman over age 50, Bailey admits she feared Hollywood might not be welcoming.
“When I walked away from ‘Housewives,’ I’m a woman of a certain age, I’m a Black woman, who just turned 55 years old in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ house this year. This is a young industry, the entertainment industry is pretty much for young people, for the most part. So there was a little bit of doubt in my mind, like, ‘Oh, wow, I hope this works out,’” she told TheWrap.
But she was determined and cast her fears aside.
“It’s very scary to go into the unknown,” she explained. “But I prayed about it. I gave it up to God. And I just walked toward it, and I work hard every single day to just keep it going.”
We caught up with Bailey at the recent opening of her new CB Vior store at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. Her friends and fans snapped up hats, shirts and handbags at the grand opening as the drinks flowed and music filled the air.
Bailey, who spent 11 years on “RHOA,” said the Bravo juggernaut paved the way for a string of new opportunities, including her street wear line.
“I wanted to come up with a bag line, and just say urban kind of swag line that was stylish, unique, and affordable,” she said. “It started with our bags, and then we started doing sweatsuits, hats.”
Bailey started the line five years ago in Atlanta and is now branching out to Los Angeles.
The model and entrepreneur credits “RHOA” with giving her a platform and immense exposure.
“Bravo, NBC, Truly Original, they were always so generous with me just in terms of making sure all my business endeavors always made it onto the show. I got a lot of exposure,” she said.
Asked about some of the negativity surrounding the series — including criticism that it portrays Black women as always fighting and angry, and “RHOA” alum NeNe Leakes’ racial discrimination lawsuit against Bravo and the show’s producers — Bailey said she wants focus on the positives that came from appearing on the series.
“I would say, when I first joined the ‘Housewives,’ that was very negative. People thought very negatively of the show when I first joined it, but I feel like, you know, as time has gone on, reality TV is here to stay,” she said. “I think people can look at what the ‘Real Housewives’ does in terms of just being examples of Black women who are successful, who have businesses, who live behind gates, and are living the dream, and I’m saying it because that’s not everyone’s reality. So I’ve always focused on the positive part of the show. And I’ve always tried to be a positive example on show.”
After moving to Los Angeles with husband Mike Hill, Bailey said she’s focused on taking her acting career to the next level.
In March, she co-starred in the Lifetime movie “Cruel Instruction” alongside Emmy-winning actress Camryn Manheim, Morgan Taylor Campbell, Viv Leacock and Kelcey Mawema.
She just finished shooting a BET+ movie and Season 2 of AllBlk’s “Terror Lake Drive” premieres later this month.
“Now I’m able to really focus on [acting] and I am actually just blown away by the opportunities that are coming my way,” she said. “I’m all about doing the work. I don’t want anyone to give me anything. I want to work for it. I want to earn it and I want to be respected.”
Season 2 of “Terror Lake Drive: Single Black Female” premieres Thursday, June 23 on AMC Networks’ AllBlk