What has new Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey learned from being on reality TV? "It looks so easy from your living room couch, but it's not easy!" she says. "It's very emotionally and mentally exhausting."
That's right. Drama doesn't just manufacture itself. The producers have laid traps everywhere, and Bailey says it's work trying to navigate. "Before you go to shoot scenes, you always feel like you're being set up for sabotage [Laughs]. You have to mentally prep. 'OK, I'm getting ready to go have dinner with Sheree. What could she be getting ready to throw at me?' It's tiring trying to figure out what landmine I'm about to step in."
TVGuide.com: In last week's episode, your Mother's Day brunch kind of devolved into...
Cynthia Bailey: A cross between Girls Gone Wild and the Food Network?
TVGuide.com: That's a good way of putting it. (For those who missed that scene, check it out here.):
Bailey: Can I tell you that was the first time we had all got together? I'm new. I had no idea what we were going to talk about, but I didn't think it was going to be an episode of Real Sex. What's funny is the ones you'd think would be conservative in bed? They're the ones that want to pop a pop tart up there! It was crazy and slightly mortifying. Kandi's telling us about how she got her mom a dildo, she and Phaedra are talking about what sugar does to your vajayjay. ... I was like, "What is happening here?"
TVGuide.com: Phaedra has done a lot of fascinating things so far, from putting a rosebush in her hair to saying she wanted to deliver her baby prematurely. During your shared limo ride with her, she more or less said your fiance was "dirty" because he had kids from previous relationships.
Bailey: That limo ride was the first time I had been around her. ... I'm not used to people just offending me to my face like that, and I didn't even realize what was happening. I got out of that car and thought, "Wait, I think she just completely threw us under the bus!" Peter [Bailey's fiancé] and I couldn't get out of there quick enough. We looked at each other afterward like, "What have we done? What is going on? Who are these people? Who acts like this? Who dresses like this? This is insane!"
That definitely didn't make me a big fan of hers, and as you can see, she doesn't have a whole lot of nice things to say about me so far: I'm not pretty enough to be a model, my house is not nice enough...
TVGuidecom: Any thoughts you care to share about her pregnancy photo shoot?
Bailey: As soon as I saw her walk out with that pickle jar — and I've been modeling for 25 years — I knew that was going to come off really cute or really awful. You decide.
TVGuide.com: Do you think she's aware of how she is coming off on the show?
Bailey: I cannot imagine that this was her plan, that this is the way she wanted to be received to the world. ... I will say I think she's a great addition to the show because if I'm going to get up to grab a sandwich or go to the bathroom, it won't be during any of Phaedra's segments. I don't want to miss anything.
TVGuide.com: You've said some unflattering things about Kim during interviews. (When we talked to Kim last month, she wasn't very happy about it either.) Do you two have history?
Bailey: You know, the press asks me about everybody, and then they run with what I say about her. I wasn't targeting Kim. They'd say, "Do you think Kim is Celine Dion?" No, I don't think she is Celine Dion. We definitely had some text messages about this situation.
I respect Kim. I didn't get to shoot with Kim a whole lot, so I don't have a great relationship with her to say a whole lot about her. But this show is about opinions. I don't see how it would work if you didn't have them. It's nothing personal. As for my opinion? I think Kim is an OK singer, and I don't think I'm alone with that. However, I'm completely supportive of any ventures she wants to do when it comes to singing, I'm fine with it.
TVGuide.com: Why did you join the show?
Bailey: I hadn't seen it, and it's not something I set out to do, but it's such a great platform. I mean, I've seen it now, and I don't know anyone who doesn't watch the show. I've been in fashion for so long, I decided at this point in my career it would be nice to challenge myself a little bit and jump into something different.
TVGuide.com: So far, you're relatively drama-free. Why do you think you were picked to join the cast?
Bailey: I was very clear in my interview process: I'm not a huge confrontational drama mama. I'm quite normal and rational — peace and love. The producers told me at the time that they wanted to mix it up because they'd been getting some letters from viewers who felt they couldn't relate to the women on the show.
TVGuide.com: What do you have coming up this season?
Bailey: I started out very slow. They've really been letting people take their time getting to know me. But starting Sunday and on, forget about it — you're going to be sick of me. I've got a wedding, and internal drama with me and Peter, just so much stuff. It's like my life exploded and I had more drama than everyone on the show put together. Phaedra had the bigger opening, but we have the bigger closing.
Watch a preview of Sunday's episode (10/9c on Bravo):