Words and Images by: DeWayne Rogers
Hair: Nataki Minix
Makeup: Parra Thomas
Wardrobe Styling: Satchel Jester and Mychael Knight
There was a moment — a clearly unforgettable one — when it all began to make sense. For two-plus seasons I casually observed Cynthia Bailey as a cast member of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and there was just something about her that I couldn’t quite come to terms with. It wasn’t a dislike of any kind … it was more like one of those grammar school equations of the “which one doesn’t fit” variety. For whatever reason, whenever I saw her on screen, or heard her name brought up in casual conversation, that same feeling would return…
Something is different here.
Having never met the accomplished model and entrepreneur, all I could go on was the Bravo angle, and that really wasn’t sitting well with me. So when the opportunity came to photograph her for the cover of rolling out magazine, I knew that it would be a chance to settle this nagging feeling once and for all.
As she arrived at my studio — on time, by the way — for her 9 a.m. appointment, our initial exchange was pleasant enough. We discussed our ideas for the shoot, and how neither one of us wanted it to be a cookie cutter approach, as is often the case with black celebrity cover shoots.
“I just don’t want it to be the same old thing,” she would share with me. “If we can take it some place different, then I will be one happy woman.”
I wholeheartedly agreed.
By the end of the shoot, we would accomplish just that. As Bailey dropped her guard, and opened up to my camera, a side of her was revealed to me that is often unseen by the general public: