June shared several of her extreme couponing tips, including how to buy bulk coupons on eBay, what to do with expired coupons, and the best newspapers and stores for couponing in Georgia.
How did you get into couponing?
June: My mom’s been couponing for years and said you can save money, but I never did like the thing. There were a couple of pageant moms that was on the pageant scene doing the couponing and posting pictures on facebook. So I said OK I’ll give it a try.
So I bought a couple of papers that weekend, did my first transaction and I was hooked. It’s all about catching sales and looking at your sales papers. I know for Atlanta the best paper to get is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. They may be a little bit more but it has some of the best coupons.
eBay is another good place if you’re looking for bulk coupons. You get them on there for like two or three dollars, it’s not bad. And there’s other clipping services, that’s pretty much what I use.
I haven’t been couponing in like a month, and as you can tell my couponing stockpile looks really sick. You wouldn’t think that because there’s like hundreds of products in here, but to me, my toilet paper’s like normally up to the wall and it’s not.
I’m actually going to go do some stuff today to stock it back up, because it looks sick. I’ve really missed couponing the past month because it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing, but you know I’ve been doing adventures with Alana.
How does buying coupons online work?
June: What you do is you go on eBay and type in what you’re looking for and it will pop up. Whenever you find the best deal or whatever you PayPal the money and then they send it out to you.
And if they’re from your area, a lot of times you’ll like meet up. Because there’s a lot of people online on eBay that sell out of Atlanta. Like the Woodstock, Marietta, Atlanta area.
What are some of the best stores in Georgia for couponing?
June: Dollar General, Kroger, Publix you can use a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon on top of one another. The same thing at Dollar General – a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon so it’s like stacking. CVS and Walgreens is the same way.
What we call stacking is you put a store coupon on top of a manufacturer’s coupon, so you max your deal out.
How do you choose which products to go after?
June: It’s really what deals are going on for that time. As you can see, if I can find the main staples – because there’s not a lot of food coupons – if I can find the staples that we need, then I can save on the other things.
What do you do with stuff that you don’t need?
Alana: We like help the community with it.
June: We help people who have been burned out, we take it to the school, they’ll call me if they like go to a house or whatever, the Sheriff’s office. It’s all about giving back.
Alana: We give it to the school, we give it to the Sheriff’s department, because we help. We help some stuff.
June: We do a lot of outreach programs besides coupons. We help at Christmas time with the kids here in Wilkinson County. We’ve actually got a fundraiser coming up in April. I know it’s a little early for Christmas, but we’ve got a couple of fundraisers coming up in April. It’s all about giving back.
Alana: It’s my birthday in April!
June: It’s not your birthday in April, your birthday’s in August.
It’s kind of a hard skill to coupon.
June: I actually taught myself. It’s not hard, I promise you. I’m almost blind, and for me to be able to coupon, it don’t take too much.
So it’s a skill that you have that you use to help others.
June: A skill, yeah. I like helping other people.
You have to be good with numbers and math though.
June: I mean it ain’t bad, sometimes I don’t make a list – most of the times I do – but sometimes I just wing it and whatever happens happens.
How much do you think you’ve saved overall?
June: I’ve been doing this since June, and I’ve probably saved close to $10,000.00, if not more.
June: Because each of these things right here are $2, these are like $4, and they’re absolutely free. The laundry detergent…
Alana: No they’re not. Coupons don’t make it free.
What are your top 3 couponing tips?
Alana: I know!
June: Watch your sales, watch your ads, Walmart now price matches, and get the max out of your coupons and do whatever for your family. This right here provides for my family. If I don’t coupon ever again, this stash would probably last about six or seven months.
If coupons have expired, is there any way to get around that?
June: Actually it is a good thing if they have expired, you can send them to Coups for Troops. Send them overseas and they’re able to use them for like up to six months at the commissary.
You cannot do that here that I know of in the state of Georgia, but I do know that you can send them overseas and at the commissary they can use them up to six months. And a lot of people do that.
What’s the difference between this and that show Hoarders?
June: I’m an organized hoarder!
So you would say that you’re a hoarder?
Alana: If you go on Facebook and look at the picture in there that it was all over the floor, this couponing mess – you will see she’s a hoarder.
June: People say she’s a hoarder, I would prefer them to say hey she’s an organizer. Because it is very organized, it’s all together. It’s all in the same category.
Alana: No it’s not! Look at this! Look at this Brawny! It is supposed to be in there!
June: You’re goofy.
Alana: You don’t know how to organize! Your daddy – your boyfriend has to do it.
June: OK boyfriend do it – your daddy.
Anything else you want to say about couponing?
Alana: I do! Because look at this Brawny! It’s supposed to be in there, and you don’t know how to separate, so your boyfriend has to do it
Alana do you help organize or clip coupons?
Alana: Yeah, but most of the time you don’t let me!
June: Yeah, I’ve gotten very anal when it comes to couponing and my stockpile. I can know when something’s out of place or when they’ve come and gotten something. You can’t get nothing and me not know it.
Alana: Yes you can!
- To learn more about Alana ‘official Facebook fan page.Child’, join her
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‘When you’re a child star you try to be normal,
but really, you’re a freak.’
In 2005, Debbie called us from the set of her Playboy photoshoot, but we couldn’t say anything at the time because it was top secret. The next day, she hopped on a plane to Atlanta to perform at the Civic Center where we got to meet her backstage.
Now Debbie’s up against Teresa Giudice, Victoria Gotti, George Takei, Clay Aiken and more on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice (dare we say this is the gayest season yet?), premiering tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.
When did you first realize you had so many gay fans?
I started performing in gay clubs when I was 16. I’d do a teen club, a straight club and a gay club all in one night. The gay clubs always seemed to have the most receptive audiences.
I remember one time watching my mom collecting the ticket money from a huge, six-foot tall drag queen at a club in Miami and thinking, ‘I’m not in Long Island anymore!’
Why do you think gay audiences have been so receptive?
Gay fans seems to be the most loyal, they really stick with the stars and songs they love. I just performed at a club in West Hollywood the other night to a mostly gay audience, and they knew every word.
So why the name change from Debbie to Deborah?
My real name is actually Deborah. When I got my first record deal, they wanted to call me Debbie, so I went with it because I understood it from a business standpoint.
But after a while, it was strange calling myself something that wasn’t really my name, so I decided to go back to Deborah. It’s funny, because I’ve seen other stars do the same, like Joey Lawrence going back to Joseph.
Do you mind when fans still call you Debbie?
[Laughs]. No, I totally get it. I would never slap anyone for calling me Debbie.
Which do you like better, recording music or performing on Broadway?
(Gibson played Eponine in ‘Les Miserables’ on Broadway and starred in U.S. tours of ‘Grease,’ ‘Funny Girl,’ ‘Gypsy, ‘Cabaret,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Chicago’ and ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.’)
There are pros and cons to both. To me, pop music is the ultimate freedom of personal expression. However, I can have a bad vocal night and a good vocal night, and the audience will scream just as loud. They just want the body on stage and the image.
In theater, you show up with a certain kind of dignity, knowing that not everyone can do it. It’s sort of like being an Olympic athlete: if you miss a day of training, you might hurt a vocal chord.
Of course, I love playing different roles and interpreting other people’s material. I sound very different on stage now than when I did ‘Out of the Blue.’ I’m a belty broad when I’m on stage!
What was your favorite Broadway show you’ve star in?
I love all of them, but I would say ‘Cabaret’ for a couple of reasons. The acting was something I could definitely sink my teeth into. Rob Marshall and Sam Mendez directed it, and everything about it was just amazing.
Would you say it was your most challenging role also?
‘Cabaret’ was challenging, but ‘Funny Girl’ was probably more challenging. All performers can identify with the curtain going up and having to go out there and smile and be on, even if you’re having a bad day. I loved telling that story… it was very me.
You were a judge on ‘American Juniors’ which was hosted byduring the first season of ‘ .’ Was there any truth to a romance between you two?
[Laughs]. No, I was going through a really hard relationship with my boyfriend at the time, and I think the press just wanted to make a story up. ‘Star’ kept calling and wouldn’t leave us alone.
I know they probably had to make a story up for Ryan because he works so much. He’s so busy. I’ve actually never seen him outside of professional work.
Did you have flashbacks of your own career when you were judging the kids?
Oh God, yes. I tried to spend as much time with them off camera as I could. I started doing theater and commercials when I was five. When you’re a child star, you try to be normal. But really… you’re a freak. Other kids don’t understand why you have to go to work instead of to their birthday party.
So how did you stay sane? You didn’t get into trouble or spin out of control like other child stars.
You know, I’m so lucky to have grown into adulthood unscathed. I had a really good family. My sisters would be like, ‘We don’t care if you were out performing all night, it’s your turn to do the dishes.’
Also, I don’t think that was really in my nature. There was a lot of pressure for me to be edgy and cool and all of that, but I was into a very disciplined and kind of geeky mode. I made sure I was in bed on time, had my steam and steamed my throat.
I’m not sure that would be possible today with all the pressure that’s out there to be sexy.
Would you call yourself a diva today?
Well I think the world ‘diva’ is overused. If being a diva means you know how to command the stage and turn it on, then yes, I am a diva. If it means walking around with a bunch of attitude like you’re better than everyone else, then no.
I’ve shared the stage with a lot of performers. We should be able to support each other and all go out there and do our own thing.
Do you have any fond memories of Atlanta?
Oh yes, in 2000 I performed at the AIDS Walk in Piedmont Park. I sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ That was a really special moment for me.
What project are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on something that’s a little provocative and something a lot of people wouldn’t expect me to do. I’m 34 now and comfortable with my own body, let’s put it that way.
Got any bottles of ‘Electric Youth’ perfume still lying around?
[Laughs]. I’m sure in a warehouse somewhere with all of my old tour costumes. It’s funny, because when you’re young and that stuff comes out, you don’t think about holding onto it. Now I’m seeing that people are making a fortune off of it on eBay!
- To learn more about Debbie Gibson, visit Deborah-Gibson.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
“Bring people into your life.”
You’ve probably seen Dr. Oz on the cover of the new January issue of O Magazine, telling Oprah in an in-depth interview that “Every person has the right to look and feel like a million bucks.”
I had my own chance to interview Dr. Oz recently during his visit to Atlanta for Georgia World Congress Center.‘s O You! conference at the
(I had no idea how many women have a crush on Dr. Oz – kind of scary!)
Since the holidays were coming up, I decided to ask the host of The Dr. Oz Show for his #1 tip on how to deal with holiday stress.
Here’s what Dr. Oz told me:
“Stress is a big issue for everybody, we all know that. But you have to realize it’s the energy you bring to the equation that creates most of the stress.
If you create positive energy, if the motivating force for you is love, stress rapidly diminishes.
The best way to deal with stress is community. Bring people into your life.”
From O You:
What’s the quickest legal route to joy?
Sex with someone you love. The increased life expectancy is a fringe benefit!
What makes you still?
Meditation at the end of a yoga routine.
What words do you live by?
Always show up in your own life.
What’s one thing that’s always overrated?
New Year’s Eve.
What/how did you last surprise yourself?
I just went on 15 rides with my kids at Universal Studios in Orlando without vomiting!
What’s the most daring thing you’ve done?
Swim with sharks in Bora Bora.
What’s left on your ‘To Do’ list?
What do you ask yourself most often?
‘Why am I running this maze?’
What do you know for sure?
We fear failure and that we don’t be loved. Tip the scales to toward what you want your life to be. Deciding to do something and doing it are very different things.
Daytime Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show and co-host of Ask Oprah’s All Stars on OWN, Dr. Mehmet Oz also currently serves as Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and has co-authored seven New York Times best-sellers, including the YOU book series. Dr. Oz is also a regular columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine. He is the host of a daily talk show on Sirius XM Radio’s Oprah Radio and was a featured health expert on The for over five seasons, spanning 55 episodes. Show
What is your #1 tip for dealing with holiday stress?
“You have to live for the time
you don’t even see coming yet.”
Kandi Burruss is not only a musician and reality star, she’s also a serial entrepreneur.
The single mom and star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta started out in the Atlanta-based group Xscape when she was in high school.
But unlike other young artists who later went broke, Kandi now runs four successful businesses. She’s a Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and music producer but also owns a clothing store (TAGS Boutique) in Smyrna, a sex toy line (Bedroom Kandi) and a game app (Kandi Koated Spades).
I recently caught up with Kandi to find out how she became one of the only (actually) very rich Housewives of Atlanta…
“When I was in high school, my mom always told me, ‘Good credit better than money.’ A lot of my friends didn’t learn that lesson. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a lot of money if you don’t have good credit.”
“I have always been a firm believer in living below your means. The first car I eve rhad was a BMW 325i that I bought, but I had been out on tour selling millions of albums before I every bought that car. I was still driving the old car that my momma had given me in high school, even though I had an album and hit songs on the radio. I waited until I had $100,000 in the bank before I went out and bought my little $30,000 car. I didn’t want to go out and buy the biggest Benz just to impress other people.”
You don’t want to put on for other people
so much that you become broke in the process.”
“I didn’t want to go spend spend spend to put on an image for everyone else. I don’t think it’s important for to go, ‘I got millions of dollars. I want everybody to see it by spending way more than I’ve got. If I’ve got a million dollars but I’m two million dollars in debt, I’m still not a millionaire.”
“You have to live for the time you don’t even see coming yet. A lot of people are living for today. Just because you’re making a lot of money today, doesn’t mean you’re gonna be making a lot of money 20 years from now or 10 years from now. Unless you set yourself up in a way to where you will be able to make money off the money that you have.”
LL Cool J once told me, ‘always have
a house and a car that you own.”
“LL Cool J once told me, ‘always have a house and a car that you own.’ So every time you get a check, throw a little money to the principle so you can pay off your house. So that’s what I did, and those were words for me to live buy. Every time I got a check, instead of balling out to impress people, I paid more toward my house. I paid toward things that accumulate in value.”
“Take care of your credit and pay your bills on time. You don’t ever want to be one of those people who is putting on for other people so much, that you go broke in the process.”
Who is your favorite Real Housewife of Atlanta?
“When you know better, you do better.”
Wednesday night I caught up with Dwight Eubanks, owner of the Purple Door Salon on Edgewood Avenue and former star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Eubanks was at Grady High School for CNN Dialogues: LGBT. “I thought it was very informative, and I’m very pleased that I came out,” he said.
On Midtown’s LGBT community:
“We need support for these types of things [CNN Dialogues], not just in our community, but in all communities for us to move forward. We have to have dialogue and conversation because we are so segregated. We’re still very divided. We have a lot of work to do.”
On gay bullying and homeless youth in Georgia:
“Bullying happens at home, in our community and at school. We have alarming numbers of gay homeless youth here in Georgia, and it happens at age 13. How do we have such a large gay population and no outreach center in Georgia? Hopefully we will see some changes very soon to address those issues.”
On coming out:
“For the black community, coming out is hard. It is very different for black Americans to be out because we are not comfortable with our sexuality. We don’t want to talk about it in church, in school, and we most definitely don’t talk about it at home. We learn about our sexuality out on the street.”
On HIV & AIDS:
“A new generation of parents have to become comfortable with sexuality and talking about it. We would not have the problems of HIV and AIDS in our community if we talked about it. We act like it doesn’t exist.”
“I do not miss being on that show particularly,” Eubanks said when I asked if he missed being on The Real Housewives of Atlanta (he was phased out last season).
“I did not watch it last year but I do hear a lot of comments about it. It was fun and footsteps in the direction I was going in. I’m still great friends with them and love them all, but I feel that when you know better, you do better.”
“Being on television was great, it had its advantages and disadvantages, but it’s not over yet. There’s a whole lot behind this door that America has not seen. It seems as though reality TV isn’t going anywhere, but let’s have some substance.”
Do you miss Dwight on The Real Housewives of Atlanta?
“I can’t even count how many
men in heels I’ve seen down here.”
Last night I caught up with at Grady High School for the CNN Dialogues: LGBT forum.
Weir, who is usually much more flamboyant, chose to wear an all black suit instead of his usual attire.
“I wanted to be very serious and downplayed, because I’m in quite a mixture of people and I’m the weird, crazy one on the end. I wanted to blend in for fashion,” he told me.
“This is my serious look. I’m in a high school, so I can’t come with my feathers and nipple tassels and all that. But I have seen so many men in high heels down here, I can’t even count – especially from.”
It’s funny he said that, because a few minutes into the forum, Purple Door Salon owner and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Dwight Eubanks walked in and sat down right next to me (I’ll post my interview with him soon).
“I’ve been very much attacked for being gay
by the media outlets of the world.”
Weir said he would talk about whatever the group wanted to discuss, because “I’ve been there. I’ve been through it all. I’ve been very much attacked publicly for being gay by the media outlets of the world.”
“If me being here can shed some light on issues that I’ve had and that people around the world have had, then I have to be here to talk about it.”
Weir also told me he loves the southern charm and culture of Atlanta. But that’s not the only reason. Weir recently got engaged to an Atlanta man – Roswell High School and Emory University graduate Victor Voronov.
“I have an appearance in Greenville, South Carolina tomorrow,” Weir said. “Then I’m coming back to Atlanta to meet the in-laws!”
“Christmas is the time to get rid of those
people who are dragging you down.”
I recently got to interview Peter Walsh, host of Extreme Clutter on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
Peter was in town for O Magazine’s annual summit, O You!, along with the rest of team … Nate Berkus, Suze Orman, Dr. Oz, Lisa Ling, Bob Greene, and more.
I asked Peter for his #1 tip on staying organized during the holidays, which was ‘Make a list.’
I was surprised that he said to not only make a list of the people you want to come to your holiday party, the things you need to do, and the things you need to cook, but also the people you want out of your life for good.
‘If you’re going to de-clutter, Christmas is the time to get rid of those people who are dragging you down,’ he says.
‘IKEA has beautiful stuff, elegant design, and a fair price which is a home run,’ he says.
“We have to get to the point where we
regard homophobia the same as racism.“
Jane Velez-Mitchell has Issues… and likes to talk about them! The HLN journalist, bestselling author and host of ‘ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell‘ comes to Atlanta this Wednesday, December 14th to moderate ‘CNN Dialogues Presents: LGBT.’
We caught up with Velez-Mitchell, one of the few openly-gay journalists on television, to talk about everything from replacing Soledad O’Brien [see our prior Soledad O'Brien interview], to addiction and coming out, to Casey Anthony and Michael Jackson…
Do you think it helps to have an openly-gay moderator for this event?
Yes. Soledad’s fantastic, but I think I bring a little something extra to the table because I’m an out lesbian. I’ve been there and done that, you know what I mean?
How hard was it for you to come out of the closet?
I will never point the finger at anyone for being in the closet, because I was in the closet for decades. In my book ‘i Want,’ I talk about how I tried very hard to be heterosexual. I was married to a man and gave it everything I could. I didn’t have a path that I could see, even subconsciously.
I tried very hard to be heterosexual.”
People I consider my heroes like Ellen DeGeneres and others showed me how you can do it. I was able to first acknowledge to myself that I was gay, then to friends, then to family, then I came out on the radio.
Then I was in a parade – both literally and figuratively! I rode in the West Hollywood Pride Parade in 2010.
What are some of the issues you’ll bring up at CNN Dialogues?
We’re going to talk about gay marriage, teen bullying, relationships within the LGBT community, transsexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, how to lead an authentic life, etc. There are a lot of questions to address!
But the main question is has increasing openness in the LGBT community led to more acceptance, or is it the other way around? I think it’s both.
What do you hope the audience takes away from CNN Dialogues?
The most important thing is for them to get a sense of what it’s like to be gay. I hope they walk away knowing that they have more options.
Maybe they’re gay and feel like they can’t come out at work. If they’re straight, I hope they learn that the gay community needs straight allies.
[Editor's Note: In addition to a local Atlanta audience, CNN Dialogues will be televised.]
Are you worried about moderating Johnny Weir?
No – I can handle him! It can be controversial – let’s make some news! I don’t think we have to be scared of conversation.
is fabulous. Look at what
she’s done for the transgender community.”
You often fill in for Nancy Grace on her show.
Nancy is fabulous. Look at what she’s done for the transgender community by embracing Chaz Bono and standing up for him on camera.
I sent Nancy an email and said, ‘Thank you. Coming from you that means a lot.’ She’s a champion for anyone who’s been treated unfairly.
What are your thoughts on PETA protesting the Georgia Aquarium after their Pride party this year?
I think it’s important that the LGBT community stands up for persecuted minorities. The most important minority are animals, because they have no voice. They cannot speak.
I believe the LGBT community should be
at the forefront of the compassion movement.”
People may go, ‘Oh there’s nothing wrong, they’re just swimming around.’ But they don’t know the back story.
I believe the LGBT community should be at the forefront of the compassion movement.
Which trial was more difficult for you to cover – Casey Anthony or Michael Jackson?
Wow – they were difficult in different ways. Casey Anthony was just fascinating, but it was an entirely different group of people. I was out there with the people who were massing outside the courthouse.
There were mothers who had children the same age. They were angry as mothers. There was a whole group of people who had very strong feelings – as they should – about the horrific treatment of an innocent, helpless, voiceless child who was relying on adults her whole life to survive, and look what happened to her.
I may have yelled at, ‘You’re beautiful!’
But I was just reporting the facts!”
It was totally different scene with Michael Jackson’s fans. I was talking to people from all over the world – Sweden and Spain and Germany.
These fans think of him as more than just a musician. They think of him as an ambassador for peace; almost a demigod.
It was a very serious case, but I enjoyed being out with the fans every day.
Once I might have gotten a little excited and yelled at Janet Jackson, ‘You’re beautiful!’ I may have gotten a little carried away… but I was just reporting the facts!
During the Casey Anthony trial, you followed the lawyers to lunch. Where do you draw the line for privacy during a trial?
OK here’s what happened. I was interviewing someone, and all of a sudden there was a commotion of people. We just started running after them.
Here’s the thing, there is a private way for the lawyers to go to lunch without having to confront the cameras. They knew it, we knew it, everyone there knew it.
They would go out every day past the cameras, then complain! They could have taken other ways. It’s just theater.
It’s ridiculous that we’re fighting this war on drugs,
when the big problem is prescription pills.”
Was there anything during these two trial you think the media could have covered better?
With Michael Jackson, I think HLN did a good job of covering addiction. We live in an addictogenic culture, where we’re encouraged to get hooked on a variety of different things.
I talk about this in my book, ‘iWant.’ I’m a recovering alcoholic, so I know what it’s like.
More people are getting addicted to prescription pills than illegal drugs. The Michael Jackson trial encouraged us to look at who is prescribing these drugs.
HLN covered it a lot because we have Dr. Drew. It’s ridiculous that we’re fighting this war on drugs, when the big problem is prescription pills.
When many problems can be cured naturally or with alternative medicine.
Right. Or with therapy, which hardly anyone does.
Do you think Michael Jackson was a drug addict?
Michael Jackson was a great artist, but I think he was also an addict. He had a dependency. I got into Twitter disputes, because the Jackson family didn’t want him described that way.
He was taking huge amounts of Demerol, and couldn’t sleep without Propofol. He had 15 different aliases.
I’m not a doctor and I didn’t know him myself, but as a recovering addict, that’s what I saw.
With all of the murder trials and stories you cover, how do you keep smiling?
It is depressing to cover a lot of these stories. I try to point out the redeeming aspects. There is a pattern to these killings that we see on the news.
So many women stay in dangerous situations.
They don’t realize what these men are capable of.”
Interrelationship violence is a big problem. If something is going south, don’t sit there and wait for something else bad to happen.
So many women stay in dangerous situations. They don’t realize what these men are capable of.
We’re seeing this right now on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Yes. I’ve done a lot of stories on that. When you allow cameras into your life for a reality show, it’s very hard to create boundaries.
It’s hard to say, ‘You can show this aspect of my life, but not this part.’ It’s very dangerous.
Reality TV is going to show painful parts of your life. That’s the deal when you sign up for a reality show. It’s something you’ve got to consider.
You’ve covered a lot of stories on bullying. Is there anything that can legally be done to stop bullying?
There are some laws being proposed in Congress right now. Many parents complain that they’ve gone to the schools and complained, and nothing was done.
There needs to be something universal across the board, so it’s not up to every little principal to come up with rules on the fly. It needs to be treated far more seriously.
Kids are getting hate, and often it’s from adults.”
Sometimes it’s a life or death matter like we saw with Tyler Clemente who committed suicide. The principals need to have some muscle to say, ‘This has to stop now or you’re going to juvenile court.’
We have to get to the point where we treat homophobia the same as racism. Kids are getting hate and often it’s from adults.
The funeral for Jorelys Rivera was held yesterday, the little girl who was raped and murdered then found dead in a trashcan in Georgia. Do you believe in the death penalty?
Personally I would like to not believe in the death penalty, but every so often a horror, horror, horror comes along – a crime so terrible and unimaginable that you have to wonder. I go back and forth on it, I really do.
The problem is, you can’t take credit
for a crime that never happens.”
Instead of the death penalty, I wish we could focus on how to intervene early. That’s what I talk about in ‘Addict Nation‘.
The problem is, you can’t take credit for preventing a crime that never happens. But we need to focus on preventing these crimes in the first place.
What do you think is the biggest addiction in America today?
What about for the gay community?
I don’t like to take the gay community and separate them out. People are people, for the most part. I always become a little concerned when we do these studies.
I know a lot of straight people who are drug and alcohol addicts, and I know a lot of gay people who are in recovery.
You also wrote ‘Secrets Can Be Murder‘ with Nancy Grace. How dangerous is staying in the closet?
There are a lot of dangers. I lived in the closet for many years. I was closeted to myself and others. Someone once described it to me as ‘walking around in a vertical casket.’ That’s exactly what it’s like.
Being in the closet is like
walking around in a vertical casket.”
If you can’t be who you are at your core, then you’re a big phony. I was trying to be something that I wasn’t.
I’m not pointing fingers, because I came out very late in life. Other people have come out much younger.
When did you come out?
I got sober 16 years ago, and was living with a man at the time. Whenever I became uncomfortable with my feelings, I would drink.
After I got sober, I couldn’t ignore my feelings anymore. I met my partner in 2003, so about 10 years ago I acknowledged it privately. After that, it was a gradual process of coming out.
I came out around the time the Larry Craig scandal occurred. I was on a show with an outwardly gay co-host. We were talking about Larry Craig and what a hypocrite he was, and I started to feel really bad.
I called my girlfriend and said ‘turn on the TV.’
After the commercial break, I came out.”
So during the commercial break, I said to the cohost, ‘There’s something I’ve got to say. I’m gay and living with a woman right now, and I have to share it with the audience.’
I called my girlfriend and said, ‘turn on the TV.’ And after the commercial break, I came out.
What was the reaction from the public?
Here’s the thing, nothing changed. No one cared!
You’re one of the few openly-gay journalists on TV. Do you believe other gay anchors should come out publicly?
40% of LGBT employees are not out at work. We’re going to talk about this on Wednesday. It’s kind of disturbing. I think most of the fear is self-generated. But I can only speak from my own experience.
40% of LGBT employees are not out at work.
We’re going to talk about this on Wednesday.”
Do privately gay journalists have a responsibility to come out to viewers?
One of the things I’ve learned from my 12 steps is not to take on other people’s inventory. I just want to keep my side of the street clean.
I’m not going to sit here and castigate anyone, but my experience has been wonderful. I haven’t experienced anything negative by coming out – I would tell you if I had!
- Jane Velez-Mitchell moderates CNN Dialogues Presents: LGBT on Wednesday, December 14th at the Grady High School Theater (929 Charles Allen Drive, Atlanta) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the public, $15 for students with valid ID.
* Photo of Jane Velez-Mitchell: Toky Photography
“This is who I am, take it or leave it.”
Now that Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 4 is in full swing, we thought we’d catch up with model/reality star/entrepreneur …
Along with starring on RHOA, Cynthia’s also busy with other ventures – opening The Bailey Agency School of Fashion, helping with husband Peter Thomas‘ new lounge barONE, and volunteering with various philanthropic causes…
Why did you decide to get married at Fernbank?
Because it felt right. I’m not a traditional person, and I always do my own thing.
I love that I got married
underneath the belly of a dinosaur.”
I love that I got married underneath the belly of a dinosaur. I’m part of a small elite group that can claim that!
How do you like Atlanta compared to New York City?
I love Atlanta, and I love New York. I love the quality of life that I have in Atlanta, and I love the energy of New York City. The two cities are very different – I enjoy the balance of both
After all the drama, are you still glad to be on the show?
I feel very fortunate to be a part ofcast. It is an incredible platform, and has given me a voice. I think my cast mates are smart businesswomen, and we all bring something different to the table.
I don’t play a character on the show,
I play myself – take it or leave it”
I never take any of the negativity on the show personally. I don’t play a character on the show, I play myself.
This is who I am, take it or leave it. It will always be more important to me to be a good person and a good mother over good TV.
I will never fight or scream profanities at my cast mates. It’s not who I am, however warranted. It will never happen.
How did you become such good friends with NeNe?
I meet NeNe before I was cast for the show. We met for drinks, but didn’t really connect. I was a little intimidated by her at first because she was just so ‘real’ and bigger than life.
I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe
I’m hanging out with !’
The whole time I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m hanging out with NeNe Leakes!’
I had watched ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ a couple of times, and NeNe was the one that stood out to me. We ended up hanging out again and had a blast!
Once I was able to get to know her as a person, and not a reality star, we just bonded.
I love NeNe. She has been a good friend, and has been very helpful as a cast mate. She is supportive, smart, and has given me great advice. I’m very grateful to her.
What can guests expect at barONE?
barONE is a small bar and lounge, with a sexy Miami feel. The menu has a variety of tapas such as jerk chicken salad, shrimp fritters and turkey sliders.
The food is incredible. We’re already famous for our lychee martinis.
Our DJ rocks, and our crowd is mostly 30s and up. It’s already become Atlanta’s new hot spot.
We’re already famous for our lychee martinis.”
, Monica, Keri Hilson, Young Joc, Dr. Jay, Jill Scott, Marsha Abrosius, RL, Nelson Ellis and Tami Roman have all come through.
My cast mates NeNe Leakes,and Derek J have also shown us their support. There is no cover at the door.
What are some of the events you’ve held at barONE?
It’s great for birthday parties. We host a lot of those. We had an amazing party after the Soul Train Awards. Our Halloween party was also great.
On Sunday nights, Peter and I
watch the show with our fans.”
On Sunday nights, Peter and I watch the show with our fans. It’s a lot of fun. I’m hosting a cancer benefit for my friend April love there as well.
barONE recently held a Halloween party. What did you dress as?
I dressed as a Geisha. I’m not that into Halloween, so I never really go all out. My daughter doesn’t really eat a lot of candy either, but we always give it out.
I just happened to have a kimono lying around the house, so it worked out. I looked pretty convincing!
What was your proudest accomplishment as a model?
Shooting with Annie Leibovitz for a Vanity Fair shoot for Iman’s beauty book alongside veteran greats such as Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks.
I felt so validated and proud to be among them. I kept pinching myself, because I thought I was dreaming. It’s one of my favorite photos.
Why did you decide to open a modeling agency in Atlanta?
Because this is where I live. Also, I believe there is a need for The Bailey Agency School of Fashion.
There’s a lot of talent in Atlanta, but most are uninformed or misinformed about how to get into the fashion industry.
I would have benefited from a
school like this when I was starting out.”
As a dream builder, it’s important for me to give proper information and guidance to my students. I would have benefited from a school like this when I was first starting out.
Are you going to represent models as their agent, or just teach them how to model?
The Bailey Agency School of Fashion is a school, not a modeling agency. However, in some cases, I will offer model placement with agencies and model management.
This will be based on the students’ potential, dedication, ambition and my discretion. I fully support the agencies that are already here, and look forward to bringing them talent.
How can models apply to your school?
They can go to our Web site, TheBaileyAgencySchoolOfFashion.com and fill out an application. Or they can stop by the school:
The Bailey Agency School of Fashion
924 Garrett Street
Atlanta, GA 30316
How did you and Peter enjoy doing the AIDS Walk with the LemonAIDS?
Peter and I really enjoyed it. We’re both fairly new to Atlanta, and it was our first time doing the walk. I always did the AIDS Walk in New York.
I’m passionate about lending my support to AIDS, cancer and anti-bullying causes. These are issues that affect my life and the lives of my friends and family.
What can we expect for the rest of the season?
You’ll continue to see Peter and I start our new businesses, barONE and The Bailey Agency School of Fashion.
Even though I am still closest with NeNe, I spend more time with my other cast mates than I did last season. My 12 year old daughter is a singer and actress, so you’ll get to see her career unfold as well.
I want to be an example to others
to be fearless and follow your dreams”
Did you ever think the show would get this big?
Real Housewives of Atlanta is the number one show on Bravo, and is very entertaining. We are household names!
I never thought as a little girl growing up in a small town in Alabama that I would ever reach this kind of success.
I feel very blessed, and want to be an example to others to be fearless and follow your dreams. If I can do it, you can, too!
- To learn more about Cynthia Bailey, visit CynthiaBailey.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Follow The Bailey Agency School of Fashion on Facebook and Twitter and barONE on Facebook and Twitter.
“I’ve moderated a lot of crazy in my day!”
You’ve seen anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien on CNN hosting series like ‘Black in America‘ and ‘Latino in America.’ Now Soledad comes to Atlanta on December 14th to moderate ‘CNN Dialogues Presents: LGBT.’
The forum’s topic is ‘Has More Openness Led to More Acceptance?’, and will be held at the Grady High School Theater in partnership with Emory University, the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Panelists will include US Champion figure skater , ESPN writer and CNN contributor Liz Granderson, transgender speaker and author Donna Rose, and Deputy Director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Robin Brand (click here for tickets).
We caught up with Soledad O’Brien to ask about the ‘CNN Dialogues: LGBT’ forum, her new morning show, and moderating Johnny Weir…
Why did you decide to moderate CNN Dialogues: LGBT?
I thought it was a really interesting topic, and a continuation of what I’ve done at CNN – having conversations and putting them on TV in the form of documentaries. We did one the other day about working women at CNN on our staff.
The LGBT topic fits under the umbrella of conversations not usually had, and I don’t think it can be done in two minutes. There is a lot of research and nuances surrounding this topic – it needs a moderator so we can talk about change.
Does being of mixed race help you relate to LGBT people?
I just did a special for CNN called ‘Gary and Tony Have a Baby‘ and I got asked that question a lot. I always find it a very interesting question, because I do find value as a reporter having grown up an outsider.
I grew up of mixed race in Long Island – my mother used to say ‘we do not blend!’ I mean we had afros and a VW van.
As a journalist, we have our perspective, but we’re always looking for another voice. I’m always looking for another take on a subject.
I would never say that growing up of mixed race in Long Island that I know what it’s like to be gay. But I get your question – there is a value in reporting.
Are you worried about moderating Johnny Weir? He can get a little crazy!
I’m actually not. I’ve moderated a lot of crazy in my day! He’s crazy and talented, which puts him ahead of being crazy and mean like some people I’ve moderated.
He is on the panel and it’s a high school environment where there is an audience. So my job is to moderate!
Tell me about your new morning show.
We don’t have a title yet. I’m thinking about going on Twitter and asking people for suggestions! We’ll be on the air in January, so the show will launch in the first quarter.
Will it be mostly interviews or conversations with the other hosts?
It will be conversations with people in the news. Not just the big news makers, but people who are actually living the news that we don’t normally get to hear from.
Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin will host the first two hours, then I’ll have a bunch of people on the next two hours. It will be a diverse mix of everything from every which way.
I’ll cover topics I’m interested in, so I can say ‘all next week will be devoted to this topic.’ Then we’ll cover it every which way Monday through Friday. I can say ‘this is a really important issue so we’re going to cover it five times this year.’
That’s why I was so excited about doing this show, because we can cover a topic in-depth for an entire week if we want.
As a mom, will you still have time to do your documentaries and specials like CNN Dialogues?
I’ll probably do a couple of documentaries next year because it will be a political year. I won’t do as many. I traveled a lot last year – so much that my children called me by my sitter’s name instead of mommy! So I won’t be traveling as much.
Yesterday was World AIDS Day. You host the series Black in America - I saw on your blog that African Americans are eight times more likely to contract AIDS than white people.
It’s terrible. The people on twitter were great talking about that, although sometimes the story would shift to Africa. This is happening in the United States. It’s a huge problem that’s worthy of having a documentary.
The upside of me having a new daily morning show is that I can cover topics like this.
In your book ‘The Next Big Story‘ you talk about the importance of telling stories. What do you think is LGBT people’s most important story right now?
That’s a great question. It’s going to be a political year, so I think it will be a political story. ‘The power of politics.’ In a minority community we have a head count, but who is really in a position to make change?
- ‘CNN Dialogues Presents: LGBT‘ will be held on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grady High School Theater (929 Charles Allen Drive, Atlanta). Tickets are $25 for the public, $15 for students with valid ID.