"In New York concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, lets hear it for New York, New York, New York!"
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
I moved from Huntsville, Alabama to New York City right out of high school. I was alone, scared, and had very little money. It was my first time going to the Big Apple, and also my first time on an airplane! I was very nervous, but I knew I had to be brave, because my mother was crazy with worry and would have changed her mind if I showed any signs of fear. I knew the moment that I boarded the plane and they closed the door there was no turning back. I was 18 years old, and there was nothing that I had learned in my “small town” upbringing that could have ever prepared me for my journey. As I sat in my seat, I suddenly started to panic, but I was embarrassed to cry in front of the passenger seated next to me. So, instead of crying, I prayed. I prayed for courage, strength, protection, and prosperity. I prayed so long that I fell asleep. When the flight attendant woke me up, I heard the words, “Welcome to LaGuardia Airport.” I remember thinking to myself that I had to win, because I had not come all this way to lose. I had already had my first victory by just getting on the plane. Looking back, I think that was the hardest part. I remember that day like it was yesterday, because that was the day my whole life changed.
There was, and still is, nothing like the energy of New York City. The hustle and bustle was intoxicating, and I was drunk with inspiration. I knew that I would be successful because there was so much opportunity. Even though I was low on cash, I had plenty of drive, ambition, and faith. I decided that I was going to be a big time model, and live in New York for two years. I never would have dreamed that two years would turn into twenty-five years! My first big booking was the cover of Essence Magazine, and things just kind of fell in place from there. I worked every day and lived an incredible life. I had an amazing career, friends, love, and money. The best thing about being a model was traveling. I had traveled the world by the time I was thirty. France, England, Austria, South Africa, Italy, Australia, Japan, Seychelle Islands, and all over the Caribbean. There is nothing like getting paid to do a job that you love to do. I could not believe that this was my life all because I made the choice to get on the airplane that cold morning in Huntsville, Alabama. Never be afraid to go for it, because you may never get the chance again.
I moved to Atlanta three years ago to be with my now husband, Peter Thomas. I was as excited to land at Hartsfield Jackson Airport three years ago, as I was when I landed at LaGuardia twenty-five years ago. I love New York, because it feeds my soul, and I love Atlanta, because it feeds my heart. New York will always be my first love, because that city made me who I am today. I will always need the balance of both. I have been so blessed, and try to bless others, because that’s how your blessings come back to you. I am human, and sometimes struggle to understand my feelings and choices that I have made in my life. I always have, and I always will, question things. The answers always come to me, and I always find my peace.
Thank you, Kithe Brewster, for finally putting yourself first and losing weight. Thank you to the Duke diet program for showing Kithe the way. I am so proud of you. You are a good friend, and I want you around for a very long time. You inspire me to never settle and follow my heart. Thank you, Russell Simmons, for your continuous love and support. You are someone that I am proud to call my friend. Continue to spread wisdom and change the world. You are a gem! Thanks to Pebbles for naming my school The Bailey Agency and Russell for adding School of Fashion. Thank you to my husband Peter for always pushing me toward greatness and being by my side. Thank you, Noelle, for all your unconditional love. You make me want to run when I feel like crawling. Remember, never mind who is against you, just focus on who is with you!
Love you guys,