In the latest “Celebrity Refresh,” a Web series showcasing home improvement and gardening with celebrities, rolling out sits down with “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey and her mother, Barbara, to discuss motherhood, modeling and business. Before Bailey became a reality TV star, she was best known for her modeling career and numerous associations with reputable retail brands, including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. One of the pioneering black models in the fashion industry, Bailey encourages young women who aspire to model through her modeling school, The Bailey Agency.
The lessons Bailey hopes to instill in her daughter and those who walk through the doors of the Bailey Agency is one of faith and a strong work ethic.
With a 13-year old how do you juggle work and motherhood?
Cynthia Bailey: I never want to have the appearance that it’s easy being a businesswoman and a mom. There is a balance that I have to create to make sure I’m handling my business, my [motherly] and wife duties. It takes a lot of work. It’s my one struggle to make sure I make time for my family, especially my daughter.
Cynthia started her career at a very young age, 19, do you have any advice for other mothers who may have daughters interested in modeling ?
Ms. Barbara: You have to be strong, and pray a lot. When she left, she was the first bird to leave the best. It was really hard for me. It was a struggle but I prayed for her. At that time I had just gotten a divorce and it was really hard. She was in the big city [New York] and I just sent her a care package every once in a while. Just follow your dreams. If your dream is to be a model, go for it!
CB: Adding on to that, by the time I had graduated high school, my mom being a single parent for the most part, she had already done such a great job raising me that I knew once I did leave for New York not only did I want to be successful, but I also wanted to make her proud. I didn’t want to make a lot of dumb choices and do a lot of things that would put me back in Alabama.
We talked about your mom having a green thumb, is there anything that you want to pass on to your daughters and granddaughter?
Ms. Barbara: I think that Cynthia has a lot of my mother’s characteristics. … We are both hardworking like my mother. She died when she was 98, but if she were living, she would be somewhere working now.
CB: Opportunity doesn’t always come, so when you get and you owe it to yourself to go for it. And when you get an opportunity to have your dreams and goals come true, you have to be ready to work. None of this stuff just happens to us. I worked for my life, I am still working for everything that I have.