Cynthia Bailey on Possible 'RHOA' Return amid Divorce: 'I Truly Feel I'm in My Next Chapter'

After announcing her divorce from Mike Hill this week, Cynthia Bailey tells PEOPLE if she'll ever return to The Real Housewives of Atlanta — plus what's up next in her career

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 19040 Pictured: Cynthia Bailey
Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Cynthia Bailey isn't planning a return to reality TV any time soon.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta alum tells PEOPLE she's looking forward in her career — and, for now, that doesn't include a return to the Housewives franchise.

"I really am 100 percent happy and focused on my acting career," she says. "I love that I still get to be a part of the Bravo family by even being invited to be a part of BravoCon — the NBC family with some of the other shows that I've done. I do consider them family."

Even with a close Bravo relationship, the 55-year-old model and entrepreneur is choosing to pursue other avenues. "For now, I really truly feel like this is my next chapter. I'm in my next chapter. This is where I'm at."

Bailey isn't closing the door though."I always wanna leave that door open. I don't know how I'll feel in a year, you know," she adds. "The show is still around in a year, I'll never say never — always live in my truth, definitely not right now. I'm good."

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 19124 -- Pictured: Cynthia Bailey
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Bailey announced her divorce from husband of two years, Mike Hill. In a statement to PEOPLE, Bailey revealed she has kept a close friendship with Hill — though the pair had decided they were no longer romantically compatible.

"Although that journey has come to an end, I am so grateful for our continued friendship, and the beautiful memories that we made together," she said. "God willing, I will find love again. Whatever is destined to be, will be; and I could not be more excited for my next chapter!"

Since the announcement, Bailey has felt an outpouring of love from her RHOA friends and fans. She spoke with gratitude for where she's at in life — even while processing her divorce.

"I'm just so blessed and grateful that I've had this life. I wake up every day and I pinch myself," she says.

"The love that I've gotten along the way, like even in the wake of a divorce. My phone has been ringing all day. The texts have been coming all day. You know, my Instagram's been blowing up all day. So I feel very blessed," she shares. "It feels good to have people want to see you win and want to see you happy and, and that are rooting for you. So I'm not slowing down any time soon. I'm going to continue to focus on my acting career, and I'm going to continue to love myself and welcome love however it comes to me."

Cynthia Bailey and Mike Hill Confirm Divorce
Cynthia Bailey and Mike Hill. Nick Roses

Bailey stepped away from RHOA in 2021. Since, she's appeared in a handful of acting projects, including the Lifetime film Cruel Instruction, film The Stepmother and TV series Terror Lake Drive and Single Drunk Female. Bailey is also slated to appear in the upcoming BET films Blossom and Under the Influence, she told PEOPLE.

Before leaving RHOA, Bailey also appeared in Peacock's 2021 Christmas film Housewives of the North Pole starring Kyle Richards.

"The last time I did Watch What Happens Live, I was laughing with Andy [Cohen] and he was saying that he sees more of me now as an actress than he did as a Housewife on the show," Bailey laughs. She added she's "incredibly humble and grateful for the opportunities that being apart of The Real Housewives of Atlanta platform has given to me."

From the Bravo series, Bailey gained support in her other endeavors. "The seeds that I planted before I went on ... I've been working a long time, and I think as long as you continue to stay the course and do the work, doors will always continue to open for you, especially if you respect and cultivate relationships along the way. People actually root for you."

Through it all, Bailey has appeared as herself. Reality TV gave Bailey the opportunity to introduce the world to her personality. Through it, she's shared the highs and lows in her life.

"You guys had Cynthia Bailey the model, Cynthia Bailey the reality star, and now you guys have Cynthia Bailey the actress," she adds. "And I feel so blessed to be able to keep writing these chapters of my life. You know? I mean, the book is still written. Like, I feel like I'm always talking about my next chapter. Now I'm going into even, even into another chapter, you know, you know, this love chapter has to be completed at some point."

Bailey added she'll focus on writing a book in the near future, to capture all of it on paper.

Cynthia Bailey-Hill attends the 15th Annual Headies Awards at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

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Now, though, Bailey is stepping into the shoes of anyone else. As Bailey reaches a new type of fame, she's ready to leave parts of her TV persona behind. Her "new chapter" starts with the ability to mold her on-screen presence — in this case, via acting roles that let her step entirely into fiction.

"I love that I don't have to be me," she says. "You know, the reality star, the model, both of those careers I still had to be me. And it's just so fun to just escape myself and be able to transition and transform into somebody else — live as a character — as a completely different person. It's so exciting to transform in that way."

Bailey says she didn't expect her success to come so quickly and is in awe of her opportunities.

"So I'll already be going into 2023 promoting two projects," she says. "It's happening. And the crazy thing is I haven't been doing it that long. Like, I literally, you know, I just remember pushing send on my phone to post my announcement that I would not be doing the Housewives. And then I got on a plane the next day and I flew to L.A. and I just never looked back."

Bailey was even willing to start over entirely, saying, "I honestly was prepared to, you know, stay in classes for, you know, about a year. I was really prepared to just be this struggling actress for a year and get a part-time job at the Starbucks if I had to. I was really ready to do that if I needed to do that."

However, she probably won't be slinging coffee beans any time soon — she's already feeling the successes from her time in Hollywood. "I was just met with was so much excitement and love. People were excited to work with me. And that is a blessing."

Part of the reason for her acceptance in Hollywood may be Bailey's attitude about fame. "Again, I think humility is the best thing. I'm not a diva. I've never been a diva. I come ready to do the work, and I respect the process. And I think that goes a long way."

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