Christmas is just one day away, but the holiday season is far from over. If you’ve been desiring to support more Black-owned businesses this season, but you’re not sure where to begin, consider checking out the Seagrams Escapes Holiday Marketplace — a joint venture between the adult beverage company, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey, and Eva Marcille. We caught up with Bailey to discuss the holiday shopping expo, her recent wedding, blended family life under quarantine, and her future with the Real Housewives franchise.
MN: Tell me about the Seagrams Escapes Holiday Marketplace. How can people who are interested get involved?
Cynthia: Basically, all they have to do is go to the website, www.seagramsescapesholiday.com, and it has all the information, but basically it is a platform that Seagrams and I created together to just help promote Black-owned businesses to give them exposure. As a Black-owned business owner myself, my most recent business being the Bailey Wine Cellar, was also hit during COVID. A lot of businesses, Black-owned businesses specifically, are definitely still struggling — the ones that even made it. So, we wanted to come together to create this platform to drive business to the business owners that need to stay afloat and also, one of the other great things, we’re going to be announcing in January that we also offer a $10,000 grant to three Black-owned businesses. It’s a lot of money when you’re already struggling to keep your business afloat so we have the grant e will be announcing that the first week of January, after the new year.
MN: Congratulations on the wedding! I got married on 10/9 several years ago so I definitely understand wanting the perfect date.
Cynthia: Well, I’m glad you did girl because I was getting a lot of heat about this date. Hindsight being 20/20, everything did work out. No one that came to our wedding tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of being at our wedding. I do have that to look forward to and that information is already out there. But you guys will see the process, the journey of the back and forth. We almost postponed it several times. We had a hurricane the week of my wedding. We tried to do everything outdoors because we did everything we could do on our end to make sure everybody was COVID-19 conscious. And one of the things I just wanna make clear is I was never like, if legally I could not have this wedding, then I would not have had it on the date but I was under the understanding that as long as I was following the rules and I was COVID-19 conscious and I gave everybody what they need it to be safe at this wedding that I could still have the wedding. And I think, you know, you guys will see all of that play out a little bit more. But that was it, like, I would never not take this pandemic seriously. You know, I just really thought about it like, ‘Hey, all right. Since we don’t know when we’re going to get to the other side of this thing and it looks like we’re gonna be in masks for all of 2021, how can I have it and be COVID conscious and you guys will see that play out.
MN: What is it like being a newlywed in a pandemic?
Cynthia: Well, one difference is that we weren’t able to go on a honeymoon because, you know, traveling internationally right now because of COVID is not ideal. The plan before COVID was we were planning a trip to the Maldives for our honeymoon, so there was no honeymoon. So that was one of the differences. The other thing is I think it’s a deeper bonding experience for me as a wife because, you know, usually you get married and everybody goes back to work and travel and live their life. But we are married and we’re in the same home together, 24/7. So it’s like, ‘Oh, we married, married.’
You have to realize with my husband and my career before COVID caused us to travel a lot. So Mike and I got extremely close during this pandemic cause this is the first time that not only have we’ve been together in the same house for this long since we’ve been together, like every day, you know what I’m saying. So if there was ever any doubt in my mind, if I ever had any question about marrying Mike Hill, the pandemic proved that we can weather the storm of anything that may come our way. I always joke about this. I always made it very clear when I met Mike Hill that I was thirsty. I was excited. I’ve always been excited to share my love for Mike with the world. I was always excited about him proposing, I was excited about getting married, I was playing about being married, I’m excited about it but I never said, I want him to go to prison with me. I never said that.
MN: You have experience in the stepmom department already, but what has blended family life been like during quarantine with your adult stepdaughters and of course, Noelle?
Cynthia: When you marry, you marry your man’s kids as well. Noelle and I have always been a package deal. That’s like one of my biggest deal-breakers. Obviously, if someone doesn’t want to be bothered with my kid or don’t want a woman with a kid, well a 21-year-old now, you know that wouldn’t work for me. So Mike and I were both a package deal so the blended family thing you know, it’s ideal to like try to make it work. Obviously, you know what you’re signing up for but it’s not always easy. We have girls that are like 21 and 18. These young adults. So they’re like they’re grown, but they’re not really grown, grown. They’re finding themselves. They’re trying to figure out who they are and it’s a lot. It’s all girls and I feel so bad for my husband He is inherited all of these women. It’s myself, Noelle, Kayla, Ashley and it’s us against him. That’s a lot of menstrual cycles every month.
I think everyone, blended family or not, even if they’re a regular family, anybody that is locked down with their families for three and four months at a time and you can’t go anywhere, you’re going to be tested. So, you know, we definitely tested. It was sort of fun and, you know, family dinners, we get to sit down at dinner together and we’re Tik Toking, but after a while, it was like, ‘Okay! Go to your space, I’m going to my space.’ We really started to be on top of each other but it’s all love and it’s all the same thing. that anyone else is going through. I feel like it definitely, at the end of the day, brought us closer together.
MN: I know that you previously spoke about potential cameos on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” due to your bicoastal status.
Cynthia: You know, I love those ladies. I love Garcelle and Dorit, and Kyle, all of them. Lisa Rinna, I have great relationships with those ladies. We plan to keep Lake Bailey on the Hill, gotta include my husband on the name, but the reality is we still have a home in LA. Home home for me will always be Atlanta, but my husband and I need to eventually decide what will be the one place we settle. We may keep the two places for now and now that the world has switched up and we can work from home, there hasn’t been so much pressure to choose which house we’re going to be at most f the time. Right now, it’s been Atlanta, but we also still have some strong ties in LA.