Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey made an appearance at the 20th annual Essence Festival in New Orleans over the weekend.
The model/entrepreneur took part in the Essence Empowerment Panel, Our Beauty of Confidence, alongside Kim Kimble, Chenoa Maxwell, Raquel Robinson, and Soledad O’Brien.
TheGrio’s Chris Witherspoon caught up with Bailey to talk about the impact Essence Magazine had on her early career as a model.
“Essence is like a second family to me. They have been supportive of my career since I was 18-years-old,” she said. “I feel like I am the Essence woman. I feel like I represent everything that Essence is about.”
Bailey also discussed the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion that aired on Bravo in April and turned violent when Porsha Williams attacked Kenya Moore.
Despite the violence displayed this season on RHOA, Bailey believes the reality show (headed into it’s 7th season) still empowers and inspires viewers.
“I don’t condone violence on any level. That’s just not what I’m about,” Bailey said. “However, it did happen on our show. It was unfortunate. I don’t think anyone really felt good about that situation.”
“I do think that in so many other ways we still are a great platform and are great examples of empowerment. We are businesswomen… People do find inspiration in watching our show,” The Bailey Agency CEO said.
“Sometimes things just happen, and the fight was unfortunate and hopefully the last time that’s gonna happen on our show, because I don’t think people really tune in to Atlanta Housewives for the fights, because we don’t usually fight. Those other shows do that, but that’s not usually us.”
Last week, Bailey’s RHOA co-star NeNe Leakes tweeted, “I’am NOT comin back 2 RHOA because I was fired, NO I quit, NO I wanted more money, NO they cut my salary & yes all this is BULLS—T,” which left many of her followers assuming she was abandoning the show.
Some of Leake’s die-hard fans took to Twitter to express their unconditional support of NeNe, claiming that they would boycott Bravo if she were to leave the show.
Bailey believes the RHOA is about more than just one housewife.
“I don’t think that the Real Housewives of Atlanta is about one person. It’s an ensemble, it’s always been an ensemble,” she said. “It’s never been about one person, and if it was, that one person would go on to do their own show, because they would have that much power to do it. This is a pie, and we all put ingredients in it, and that’s what makes it work. When you get to the point where you can do your own show, most people usually do, if they can carry a show on their own.”
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC .