Cynthia Bailey is living the housewife life and loving it. Not only is she a thriving businesswoman but she is also a newlywed. She tied the knot with Mike Hill just four months ago and she is still floating on cloud nine. While she is still in the honeymoon phase in her romantic life, there is never a shortage of drama when it comes to her sisterhood with her Real Housewives of Atlanta castmates. She has been a focal point of season 13, with all the ladies coming together to plan her engagement party and bachelorette party to make the days leading up to her wedding super special. The bachelorette party turned into a scandal, deemed “Strippergate,” and became the talk of the town before the season even premiered. Last week, we got to see what happened in the dungeon and on this week’s episode, the ladies will have to return home and explain what happened to their significant others, which was cringeworthy for Bailey. I got to speak with her about about this season, how Hill reacted to “Strippergate,” if Kenya Moore broke girl code by exposing what happened when the cameras were shut off at Bailey’s bachelorette party and much more. Take a look below.
MadameNoire: How has The Bailey Wine Cellar, The Bailey Room and modeling school been doing since the pandemic started?
Cynthia Bailey: When the pandemic first hit it was really tough because we had to shut all the way down. However I was able to push through and keep my team intact. Unfortunately, a lot of small Black businesses were not as fortunate. I decided to use my platform to help support other Black businesses that are still struggling to stay afloat. I also decided to use my platform to celebrate the entrepreneurs that were created during the pandemic. A lot of people had to think outside of the box when the pandemic hit because a lot of people lost their jobs. I started doing a Black-owned business pop-up shop that I plan on doing for the rest of the year. It’s something that I definitely want to do at least three to four times a year to support small Black business. We’re not doing as well as we would have been doing without the pandemic but we had to reinvent ourselves and recreate how we were doing business.
MN: That’s awesome. Now, I know you and Mike were bi-coastal before. Are you both living in one place now?
CB: We have both been able to work from home so he was actually spending more time in Atlanta. When he’s not here, then I go to [Los Angeles]. We’re still kind of going back and forth but we spend more time in Atlanta because Atlanta is a little more open. I can’t talk about it too much right now but I will let you know that he did just start a new job that will pretty much put him in Atlanta. Pretty much I just told you chile [laughs]. We just don’t when that is going to happen but let’s just say when it does open back up, his new job that he just got, the studio is actually in Atlanta, Georgia.
That’s great because I know you don’t want to leave Lake Bailey.
He doesn’t want to leave his home either. You gotta remember me and Mike are both a certain age and we like having our own stuff. Ideally, we want to get something together but we like having a place in L.A and a place in Atlanta as well. We’re not mad at [the idea of] having a third home as well, like a nice vacation home somewhere.
MN: How is the married life with Mike Hill different from before? Especially with being in the midst of a pandemic and having to be more isolated.
CB: You know, it’s been great. We’re about four months in now. I’ve known Mike for three years now. For me, there’s a difference between being a girlfriend, a fiancée and a wife. As a wife, you’re definitely more invested. We even feel more like a team and just having each other’s back. When you become a wife you become one, or at least that’s how it should be. What’s his is yours and what’s yours is his. It feels good to– you know if you had asked me before I met Mike if I would be married again, you know, for a long time I just didn’t think that was in the cards for me anymore. I did the single thing and I did it very well. The “50 Cynt” era was a whole moment for me. But it feels good to have somebody to just have my back, that I can lean on, go on vacations with…It feels good to have somebody to enjoy life with. One thing 2020 taught us is that we can’t take life for granted.
I think what people really love about seeing us together is that it gives them hope. I wanted to find love again but I didn’t know I was going to feel like I really have my happily ever after. It’s just hitting a little different than it did before. I’ve been married before. He’s been through two marriages. It’s just really nice to find the person that you are truly truly compatible with and who is truly your best friend. We’re not perfect but we are truly perfect for each other. I found my happy and that is everything!
MN: Last week, what can be considered to be the most anticipated episode of the season aired. How did it feel to watch it for the first time since it happened?
CB: Mortified [laughs]. I was there and obviously we had a great time. The girls were so supportive and always come through for me. I was really surprised. I had no idea they were planning this thing. Just like I was surprised at the engagement party when I thought Joe Biden was gonna be there![laughs] I’m still lowkey in my feelings about that! But I’m just in a great place in my life so when the girls come together and turn all the way up to make sure I have a good time then that’s love. That’s what love is all about. Now, s*** did get out of control! I had to tap out after a while! But it was great.
MN: It looked like a lot of fun. You look terrified while in the Dungeon! What was it like for you?
CB: I’ve been to Kandi’s Dungeon tour before. I was the first one that participated but I didn’t do much chile. I just sat in a chair and got a lap dance and that was enough for me. But with that being said, I wasn’t ready [the night of the bachelorette party] but I had to get ready right quick! But it was fun! You’ll get your life next week when I have to come home and explain to Mike what happened.
MN: How did Mike react to the Strippergate drama? Did he watch the Strippergate episode?
CB: I tried to tell him as much as I could tell him but there was so much going on I couldn’t even remember all the stuff that had happened. When he watched it he thought it was a great episode but he was in his feelings a little bit. I didn’t do too much but I needed to see the receipts because I wasn’t convinced that Bolo’s stuff wasn’t real. Maybe I leaned on that a little too much for Mike’s comfortability. Mike is all about the rules. He had a bachelor party but he got to watch mine. I don’t know what happened at his. I never want to be disrespectful or inappropriate. But I wanted to have fun. Kandi went through a lot to make that party happen. I never want to disrespect my husband or make him feel uncomfortable. But we’ve talked and as husband and wife you have to decide what the boundaries are and what the rules are. What is inappropriate? I never had a bachelorette party before. All I know is the parties I’ve see on TV and the bachelorette does the most!
MN: On a scale of 1 to 10 on the “in my feelings” scale, how upset was Mike?
CB: It was between about a good 7 to 10. We definitely had to have a conversation. We didn’t agree on some things and we had to have more conversation. Then we had to let the conversation marinate. Then we had to come back to the conversation and now we are where we need to be.
MN: I saw that Latoya Ali was upset and felt that Kenya was taking a night that was fun and turning it into something negative by questioning who was doing what. Kandi even mentioned it being girl code to not say anything. What did you think?
CB: It’s tea. Anytime we are in a group and something happens we’re going to talk about. Lowkey, everything Kenya was asking the fans wanted to know too! By that conversation happening it made the episode more interesting. If we would have just wrapped it up and hadn’t gotten into all of that it wouldn’t have been all that juicy to me as a fan looking at the show. I never want to judge anybody. These are all grown a** women. They do what they want to do and who they want to do. I’m fine with it. I’m never going to be in a place of judgment for them. But if you’re going to do it in the house and we are all around you better believe we will be talking about it the next day.
MN: It looks like you were successful in helping Marlo & Kenya bury the hatchet. Why was this so important to you? How did their new-found friendship affect the rest of the season?
CB: Oh, well you’re just going to wait and see! I feel like Marlo has always wanted to be friends with Kenya. They were friends before. I really believe that in a lot of ways they have a lot in common especially with the whole mom thing. Marlo grew up in foster care and Kenya didn’t grow up with her mom. So I always felt like they could come together on the fact that they didn’t have that. I can’t relate to that…I just felt like it went on too long. It had gotten too petty, too toxic. For me, they didn’t have to be best friends but it was just like can we exist at a place of respect at this point and move on. I can’t sit by for too long and watch that kind of stuff. When you do, it’s almost like you’re condoning it in a way. I just tried to step in and do something.
MN: Lastly, you prove that age is just a number because you clearly don’t age. What do you do to maintain your health and youth?
CB: Well, you know I have a glam squad that keeps me together because Lord knows I don’t wake up like this. I just take care of myself in terms of my own self-care. I just turned 54 -years-old. If I want some fillers or some botox every now and then I’m gonna go get it! I get massages. I try to do things that feed my spirit. A lot of it is peace. These cheekbones have been helpful at keeping everything together.
Real Housewives of Atlanta airs every Sunday on Bravo 8:00 p.m ET.