“Concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh, there's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York.” -Jay Z
ALABAMA TO NEW YORK
In 1985 I graduated from Deshler High School in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and I was their first African American homecoming queen. You would have thought I won Miss America or Miss USA (wink), because of my excitement. As my school's queen, I was invited to compete in a "homecoming queen pageant" against other homecoming queens in the South. This was my first pageant ever, and I was super excited to take home the crown! I was still on cloud 9 from being my school's first African American homecoming queen, and almost demanded a re-count when I did not even place! Not even Miss Congeniality! OK, maybe I wasn't a beauty queen, but I know dang well I was nice! I guess you can't win them all. Or can you? Turns out that one of the judges for the pageant was a model scout for Wilhelmina Models in New York City. I was the only girl that was offered a 5-year modeling contract! I didn't take home a shiny trophy that day, but I was definitely the winner!
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
I love New York! I moved to New York from Alabama right after high school. Other than Alabama, New York is the only other place that I have ever called home. I lived there nearly all my life, until I moved to Atlanta 5 years ago. I always tell people that I was raised in Alabama, but I grew up in New York! Going from sweet "country bumpkin" to sassy "city girl" almost felt like it happened over night. I knew that New York was a fast train, and if I didn't jump on quickly, I would be left standing on the tracks. I didn't have much money but I had beauty, brains, faith, and a great attitude! I was young, positive, ambitious, and most importantly 5’10’’. Perfect model height! Failure was not an option! And the fashion gods and I were on the same page! It didn't take long for my modeling career to take off, and I have had much success working alongside some of the legendary beauties such as Beverly Johnson, Iman, Naomi Campbell, and Tyra Banks to name a few. My life in the city was incredible, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. My journey would have been completely different had I not taken that leap of faith, and caught that early morning flight to New York some 25 years ago. My life in New York shaped me into the woman I am today. I am strong, confident, and fearless! If I could make it there, I could make it anywhere!
I am loving you this season Cynthia. You are finally letting those girls have it in a very classy way. You are now my new favorite. For right now
Not only am I glad you spoke with Phaedra about her comment, but I'm even more pleased that you did it in a way that demonstrated that you are an adult and that you possess class. You didn't let that buddy of yours, Nene, make a fool out of you.
DallasIvy NeNe has never tried to make a fool a fool out of Cynthia, she has always had her back, remember Africia... That's why they're BFF boo... They let each other be themselves, and love each other for it, so respect her choices of friendship... You call her on class but insult her friendship at the same time... I'm just saying...
@SweetHarts You do realize that they are only friends as long as the cameras are rolling. Don't get it twisted.
DallasIvy SweetHarts you wish that 411 was true, but I'm/we're not buying your wolf ticket you trying to twist cause you're a NeNe hatter boo... There is no need to pretend that they are just friends while the CAMERAS are rolling, only inside your world of dreams... I'm just saying...
SweetHarts It's great that we are both obviously passionate fans of this very entertaining television show. Watching reality television shows like the RHOA is a guilty pleasure of mine and voicing my views about the cast members and giving an occasional "AMEN" to other fans who do the same is just another guilty pastime time of mine. Let's try to keep it in perspective.
DallasIvy once you stop questioning their friendship on or off camera, it will be just that, in perspective... I've heard them state that they are over and over again, I'm surprise that you've missed that message or would not even want them to be without proving so... I'm just saying why not boo...
@SweetHarts have you ever heard them talk about anything they've ever done together outside of the RHOA? You seem to have trouble with the difference between entertainment and reality. Don't question my choice to see through the facade and acknowledge the show for what it is, strictly entertainment and I won't question your choice to blur the line between reality and entertainment. And stop being an Internet Troll.
Not really a big fan of you or Phaedra. Just wanted to say I have never heard Phaedra used the F word or swear ever.
Glad to see that you are coming into your own. I am enjoying the Cynthia with more edge. Keep it up!
Hey Cynthia, I think that it was crass that Pheadra said the F word about you coming to her son's birthday event, it shows that she's not to be trusted and has no class. What people do and say behind close doors is scarey. I'm your fan all day! You took this opportunity to expand your brand. You have added resources to the community by hiring people for your business and helping young ladies get modeling work that is so needed in our community. Your doing a great job. Nene is not a NYer she will never be. Mabey with your help she'll get used to traveling by subway. I'm a NYer transplanted in another city and will always be a NYer.
imho, it seems Nene IS a New Yorker...love the gracious attitude, quick sideways glances, crass sense of humor and cool attitude. Go, Nene! Is she sure she didn't get that Glee job in NYC?
Aha, Nene was born in Queens!! Hey, Cynthia, you deserve much respect for your life and accomplishments (Essence!), but you never should have let Kenya treat you that way or talk to you that way on any occasion in the show. I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to keep watching it because of the way everyone let Kenya act.
labravo10 gracious attitude? NeNe was so obnoxious, fake and phony to her younger fans on the subway. She is getting quite an ego.
someone correct me if I'm wrong..but I thought that NENE is originally from Queens, NY (the 59th street bridge connects NYC and Queens) so why is she acting like she's from another planet? Never been on a subway or had a hot dog? PLEASE!! I can't..someone needs to control this mad woman!!
I don't think she grew up in NY though. Remember the reunion how she and Phaedra was going back and forth about how Nene knows her, that they grew up in the same town and that Nene went to high school with her brother or some family member. Nene might have been very young when she left NY and didnt have a chance to get to know it
You are right, there is nothing better than a NY hot dog. I can't believe that Nene acted like she's never seen a hot dog. You would think that she grew up in Buckhead instead of Athens, please! It's nice that you are such a true and loyal friend but don't expect the same loyalty from Nene. She's a user. Just ask John.
As a New Yorker myself, I couldn't help but enjoy watching you show NeNe the ins and outs of the greatest city on Earth. Among all the ladies, you hold yourself up with the highest amount of class. I like to believe that maybe that's because New York rubbed off on you in those years you were on the model come-up. It's no lie that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
u 2 r the only reason I still watch this RH series......w/o u 2 I woulda quit 2 seasons ago!
PS - did u work w any white ppl in NYC - u did nt mention any?
Cynthia, you are a beauty inside and out and with class, which you don't see often. It is good to see how you are a true and loyal friend to NeNe. You will do anything for her. Friends like you are very hard to find anymore. However, I can tell that NeNe is not as true of a friend to you as you are to her. I hope that you don't get too dissapointed when her true friendship to you is tested.
This was so needed, to hear you talk about your confidence in the face of scarity! You made it on your intelligence and your personallity,(of course beauty) which I feel is great. Bravo adding you to this RHWOA brought real class to the show and now Atlanta HW have to show some real restraint, class and elegance which wasn't there until you came!!
Hi Cynthia, you and Nene seemed to have a good time, but she had me cracking up about the hot dog on a stick. thank you for sharing the trip with us I felt like I was traveling with you guys. I wish you all a happy and safe holidays.
WHY must you mention the names of the designers??? No one cares about that or is checking to see what designers you all are "rocking". The focus was NOT the designers but rather NeNe getting the "NY feel". We know you support your girl 1000% but the way you talk as it relates to her and actually to her, it comes across as if you are kissing her rear. PLEASE STOP! She knows and we all know you have her back and is EXTREMELY proud of her. You didn't show Peter this much enthusiasm for Peter at his new club opening!! I'm very happy for NeNe and all of her accomplishments. Most of all, I am happy this season with her for being humble about it and is NOT screaming at the top of her lungs!
Cynthia you are one of my favorites from the Housewives series! I visited New York for the first time this year and I know I could never live there lol. Way to fast paced. But taking the subways was an experience and exciting.
Your a beauty inside and out..not many can say that. I wish Bravo would have showed more of your trip in N.Y.
Glad that you were able to make it in NY! I visited that place in the 80's, with my family; we got lost in the Bronx--and I've never been back since! LOL.
Kidding aside, I am glad to see that you and NeNe had fun. I hope that your assertiveness grows-but please remain classy.
Cynthia thanks for sharing you love of NY with us... We can see that you and NeNe have a wonderful time with each other, and it's a pleasure to see that you both let each other be yourselves... That's the true key to friendship... I've been ask often early on during my journey if I was from NY, but I'm a Southern Cali woman born and raised... At this time in my life I have
no desire to go to NY, but will enjoy the journey through others...
You're always special Cynthia and a true friend, remember to keep you spirit up at all times...
Hi Cynthia, I always enjoy reading your blog. I have been to new york twice, both times during the christmas season. I loved it. Seeing nene face on the subway was priceless. I enjoy you and nene friendship. I hope you, peter, noelle and the other housewives have a blessed holiday.
I like NYC too but only on the weekends .That's when the pace is slightly slower .You can eat at some wonderful places that are not expensive , see a show, and window shop.We take the Megabus up from Philly.BTW Judging how beauty queens act after their year of service is up. Ms. Bailey you didn't miss a thing