After 11 years on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Cynthia Bailey is chucking up the deuces to the drama. The model-turned-reality star announced her departure from the show in late September but, before she leaves, she’s doing one last stint starring in The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.
A few episodes in and we can already tell that Bailey has matured past the pettiness — loyalty and respect are what matter to her, as she’s learned to expertly set her boundaries. And for anyone who thought Bailey didn’t stand up for herself enough on Atlanta, they’re in for a surprise in Turks & Caicos. On Girls Trip, we see a slightly different Cynthia Bailey, one who doesn’t let things slide and stands up for the things that matter to her. No one gets a pass, not even close friend Kenya Moore, whose lack of loyalty causes a rift between the two. We caught up with Cynthia Bailey to find out what exactly went down on that trip, her thoughts on her time on RHOA, and what she’s up to next.
This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity.
The show is so new for everybody — the cast and the audience. What did you expect going into it?
CB: Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect. I know that the fans have wanted this for a really long time, so I just went in pretty open-mind, just planning on having a good time. The one thing about coming from Atlanta — [it] can be very cutthroat — so I was like, ‘If I can survive Atlanta, this will be a cakewalk.’ And it pretty much was. We had drama and conflict and all that stuff, but you didn’t have to worry about your man’s mistress joining you guys unexpectedly, or some of the crazy things that I’ve seen happen on Atlanta. It just wasn’t as dark and dirty.
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You talked about a tiff you had with Kenya and you mentioned that your friendship isn’t really the same leaving the girls trip. What changed with that dynamic?
CB: I will always have love for Kenya. I’m not the kind of friend who can just fall out of love with you because we are no longer friends in that way. Just because we’re not close anymore doesn’t mean that we’re not cordial and respectful. The unfortunate part about the show is [that], when you do make friends [and then] you guys break off, it becomes really ugly. You’re all on Instagram tearing each other apart and just being really nasty with each other. That’s something I’m definitely not interested in. So I like where Kenya and I are and I think there’s a respect there. I respect her. She respects me. I’m just really happy that wherever we go with our friendship, it’s not going to go to that ugly place because I feel like when it goes there, then how could these people have ever cared about you in the first place? If they really want to publicly try to humiliate you because you guys don’t agree on something?
Do you have any regrets about being a bit more confrontational on The Real Housewives of Atlanta?
CB: When I look back on my 11 years on the show, from my first season to my last season, I was always genuinely me. I never wanted to morph into some monstrous person who just became somebody else because of the show. I did it my way. I am who I am. I have great intentions and I’m always going to lead with love and light. That’s just who I am.
The type of women that I want in my life are always going to be receptive to that. They’re not going to look at it as like, ‘Oh, well, she doesn’t speak up enough or she doesn’t do this enough, or she’s too passive or she’s too this, that or the other.’ People that care about me and love me, take me as I am. Those are the kind of people that I want to focus my energy on because when I love you, I love you for the good and the bad.
You mentioned that The Real Housewives of Atlanta is pretty cutthroat. Out of all of the Housewives on all the shows, except for Atlanta, who do you think could hold their own in the RHOA cast?
CB: Oh, I definitely think Karen Huger from Potomac. Yes, I definitely think Giselle from Potomac and definitely Candiace from Potomac. And actually Wendy too. Yeah, most of the Potomac girls, to be honest. I think Potomac and Atlanta could just really mesh together.
You talked about the Shade Assassin and I would say, Candice.
CB: Oh, Candice is no joke. I just saw her recently and her reads and her little snapbacks… She kind of reminds me of when Phaedra is doing her reads, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, yes.’
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