How Losing a Beauty Pageant Helped Cynthia Bailey Become a Model

How Losing a Beauty Pageant Helped Cynthia Bailey Become a Model

When a door closes, a window opens. 

By Jenny Berg
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Cynthia Bailey may have initially made a name for herself a model. But, The Real Housewives of Atlanta pal has more than runway-walking on her resume: she also owns a modeling school and helms a mini fashion empire that's creating more gorgeous products by the day. 

So, how did Cynthia become such a force in the fashion industry? It all started when she lost a beauty pageant. (Seriously!) The Alabama native was recently featured in She's The Boss, an interview series hosted by Madame Noire, and she touched on her surprising start in the  competitive industry.

"I never knew that I wanted to become a model until I was presented with an opportunity," Cynthia shared. "I was actually homecoming queen at my high school, and with that, I was invited to be in a homecoming queen pageant."

As it turns out, one of the pageant's judges was a scout for the legendary Wilhelmina Models in New York City. And though Cynthia didn't win the pageant, some could say she won something even bigger. "I was the only contestant that was offered a modeling contract," she said. (Not a bad consolation prize!) 

Since her fortuitous entrée into the world of runways, Cynthia has gone on to start her own modeling school. (It's the next natural step, when everyone asks your advice on breaking into the business!) She's also quite the entrepreneur: 

After watching Cynthia Bailey Eyewear take off, the fashion pro launched Cargo by Cynthia Bailey. The line of stylish leather goods includes backpacks, overnight bags, and weekend bags. And, there's more to come. A candle line called 50Scents, a hat collection, and watches are all in the works. 

A boss lady never sleeps! As Cynthia pointed out: "Once you become successful, that's just part of it. Then you have to stay successful." 

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