When viewers first met Cynthia Bailey in the third season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she was navigating her recent move to the peach state, creating friendship contracts, and raising her young daughter, Noelle Robinson.
Fast-forward to Season 13, and the model is more than a decade into her Housewives career with no sign of slowing down. As for the rest of her life, everything's coming together.
Cynthia's daughter is now grown and following in her mother's footsteps as a model / influencer. Viewers are also getting to see Cynthia's continued happiness with sportscaster Mike Hill, whom she wed on Oct. 10, 2020 (her planning process during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a key storyline on the reality series as well).
Though the Bailey Wine Cellar owner is often the voice of reason on the show, her bachelorette party threatened to change the dynamic of the group for good.
The event, which has been dubbed Strippergate, has been the subject of rumors for months, and fans finally got to see it all go down on the Feb. 19 episode.
Cynthia spoke exclusively with Distractify about why it was necessary to break the fourth wall at her South Carolina party, and she teased what the fallout will be for her and Mike. Plus, she dished on those Housewives All-Stars rumors.
Cynthia Bailey on why it was essential to shatter the fourth wall after Strippergate.
As longtime fans of Housewives will know, it's rare that cameramen or producers are seen, and the ladies hardly ever mention the fact that they're filming a reality show. However, franchises like RHONY, RHOP, and RHOBH all had epic moments in recent seasons when the fourth wall was broken. RHOA Season 13 was no different.
During Cynthia's bachelorette party in South Carolina on the Feb. 19 episode, production stopped actively filming after stripper Bolo the Entertainer did his routine. Once the cameras went down, things got a little saucy, and there are rumors that things escalated even further in one of the spare bedrooms at the rental house.
While the ladies thought that what went down would remain between them all, cast member Kenya Moore brought it up the following day.
While chatting with us, Cynthia said that it was disconcerting at first to realize that cameras did capture the aftermath of Bolo's performance. But she knew she had nothing to be ashamed of, and that she hadn't done anything to put her relationship in jeopardy.
"It was concerning, especially with the footage that we didn't know was being filmed. I was fine. I do what I do, and I always have my boundaries," she said.
Once it was clear that Strippergate would be a present point of conflict for the duration of the season, Cynthia was glad that the group could discuss all aspects of it, including how production had left for the night.
"After being on the show for so long, I actually like that we break the fourth wall a little bit more now," the veteran cast member shared. "People who have been watching this show for forever know that it's hard for us to try to defend certain situations that happen over the fourth wall. Usually, we can't speak about it."
By being able to talk about the presence of cameras, she said that the ladies could "explain [themselves] without having to protect the fourth wall."
Overall, Cynthia believes that this new element only makes the show better.
"Reality television is only getting better because we can break it, to be honest."
She shared that Mike "wasn't too pleased" after he watched the bachelorette party episode.
Though Cynthia wasn't involved in the rumors between Bolo and two of the other ladies, she did tell her then-fiancée about the ordeal as soon as she got home.
"He wasn't too pleased after he saw the Strippergate episode, and that provoked some conversations," she said. "I've never had a bachelorette party, so I didn't know what the rules were ... like what are the boundaries? What's appropriate, what's inappropriate?"
As her followers will know, Strippergate didn't get the best of Cynthia and Mike. The couple did get married in October of 2020, and they're still in a stage of utter marital bliss.
"Mike and I are doing great," she said. "We're happy, and he's my best friend. I really, really pray that I have found my happily ever after."
Though many viewers didn't think that Season 13 could get any juicier after what went down between Bolo and a few mystery women in the empty bedroom, the 54-year-old teased that the best is actually still to come.
"After South Carolina, the season is really just heating up. From this point on, viewers are in for a roller coaster ride of fun and entertainment," she shared, before adding that it was a special one for her to film. "Season 13, for me, was my favorite season so far. I went into it with a very grateful and humble mindset, and I wanted to have fun ... Once the wedding is over, you'll see fun Cynthia Bailey — I had my man, I was happy, and I was having a good time with the ladies."
Cynthia Bailey also dished on those 'Housewives' All-Stars rumors.
Though Bravo offerings have long had loyal fanbases, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many new viewers into the fold. On Feb. 24, The Jasmine Brand reported that there was a limited series in the works that would feature top Housewives from four franchises.
Two days later, Peacock confirmed to Page Six that a show called Real Housewives Mash-Up was in the works.
The rumored cast list that has been circulating online includes Cynthia and Kenya Moore from RHOA, Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan from RHONY, Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga from RHONJ, and Lisa Rinna and Kyle Richards from RHOBH.
It is important to note that the cast has yet to be confirmed.
While Cynthia wouldn't explicitly divulge the show's existence or her involvement, she did hint that an All-Stars Housewives is an "amazing idea."
"This is something that the fans have wanted for a long time," the model explained. "I'm bicoastal between Atlanta and Beverly Hills, so people always wanted me to go over and play with the RHOBH girls there. That comes up a lot in my conversations."
Cynthia also said that this type of crossover show would give fans something that they've never seen before.
"I've been on this show for a long time, so I know what it's like to go into a house for a trip with the ladies on RHOA," she noted. "I have no idea what it would be like to go into a house with women from other franchises."
The concept is intriguing for her as someone who is a Housewives fan as well.
"As a Housewives fan, I'd be like, 'Woah, what would happen if you put Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, and New York together in one house?'" she teased. "I'm excited to see how that plays out, and I think it's a great idea for Bravo and Peacock to bring that to the fans."
It can't come soon enough for many Bravoholics.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.