Cynthia Bailey

Cynthia explains why she loves New York.

on Nov 21, 2012

“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!