Cynthia Bailey’s first Essence cover in June 1995.

Twenty years ago, Alabama-born supermodel Cynthia Bailey moved to New York City to pursue a career as a fashion model. With nothing more than a high school homecoming queen crown and a few local beauty pageants under her belt, she knew that she had arrived when Wilhelmina Models NYC signed her to a 5-year contract. After signing with Wilhelmina, things really started to take off. Cynthia’s first booking was for the cover of Essencemagazine which became one of the magazine’s highest selling covers.

Cynthia’s second Essence cover in August 2002.

After the second Essence cover, Cynthia became a personal favorite of then Editor-In-Chief Susan Taylor and it wasn’t long before Cynthia found herself gracing the cover of Essencefor the second time. Taylor banked on Cynthia’s repeat appeal to her readers and it paid off – the second cover literally flew off the newsstands.

Cynthia’s next move was to Paris and Milan, where she could be seen strutting down the runways at Paris and Milan Fashion Week. After living abroad for almost a year, Cynthia returned to New York City and was in high demand, landing campaigns for Maybelline, Oil of Olay and Target. Magazine editorials for Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Essence and Vanity Fair soon followed. Over the years, Cynthia has become a very recognized face for Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Talbots, Chicos, and Target. One of Cynthia’s biggest career moments was being chosen over Naomi Campbell for a co-starring role opposite Sandra Bernhardt in the film Without You I’m Nothing.

Cynthia Bailey for Fashion Fair Cosmetics

From there she was on-call for her friend and acclaimed film director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) for all of his early movies and music videos. Bill Cosby cast the southern beauty for two episodes of the Cosby Show, and she made several other television appearances, including New York Undercover, Soul Train guest model host, and co-hosting spots on BET. Cynthia’s commercials include Macys, Levi’s, Mercedes-Benz and many more. In 2011, she became the face of Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

Cynthia considers her greatest accomplishment as a fashion model to be when she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair [see below] alongside Iman, Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. Her greatest personal accomplishment is her 13-year-old daughter Noelle Forde Robinson. Cynthia credits her strong will and spiritual background for her success.

“I believe in hard work, ambition, love, and positive affirmation. Everyone has a destiny. With faith in yourself and faith in God, you can accomplish anything. When you send that energy out to the universe it has to come back to you.” Owner + Founder, Cynthia Bailey

Cynthia is currently one of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta and was recently married on the show to entrepreneur Peter Thomas. They reside in Atlanta, Georgia. Cynthia is represented by Innovative Artists [Commercial] and Click [Print] in New York City.

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