Bailey, Hello. Goodness, I don’t even know where to start, there is so much. Where do you want to start anywhere in particular or can I just throw questions at you?
Throw questions at me, you might actually spark some really interesting stories.
Let’s kick off with 2Oceans Radio, tell me about your favourite interview?
Jeeez that is a good question because I get to interview really amazing people, every single day. Just when I think I have interviewed someone really interesting, the very next day someone will come along and it will be a completely different, organic and raw interview. It is hard to pinpoint, I wish I could give you a name. Everyone from business people to people who have just dropped their jobs bought bicycles and cycled from Mozambique all the way to Paris. Derek Watts from Carte Blanche and what he goes through on a day to day basis to get stories… to your models. Really finding raw stories about what makes people tick.
The topic of hunting for happiness has been coming up a lot lately in interviews. People are no longer just accepting things as they are. They are quitting their jobs, getting out there searching and hunting for their happiness.
Absolutely, you know we are creatures of habit but we also want to make things really beautiful. This means making and having a beautiful life, a beautiful community and a beautiful family. Whatever it is, it doesn’t just have to be an aesthetic thing, it is more about a feeling. I have always said that life is really simple, it is just people that complicate it.
Yes, I agree with that. Let’s talk about your life, from where you started on this road, to where you are now?
I have had a really blessed life, some people could think that that sounds very arrogant, but it is not. It is purely a case of me being very grateful for everything that I have had, including the bad. It has taken me some time to get to the point where I am even grateful for the bad stuff. That does not mean, universe, that you can keep sending me things.
That is not an invitation.
Yes that is not an invitation. To be able to be grateful for every experience that comes along good or bad, shapes you into the person that you are today. If I think back to when I was little, I used to love entertaining. I never really realised just how important that would be in my career one day. Getting into a car and listening to radio adverts as an eight-year-old and repeating them, who knew that a decade or two later I would be recording those voice-overs. There are so many things that you do as a young child and you don’t even realize that life is training you for everything that you are supposed to be doing. I am very lucky that I have always known that I wanted to entertain. I just didn’t always know how I was going to do it. It has been a lot of hard work, my career is very, very important to me. I get an absolute rush every time that I switch on that microphone. Every time I hear the director yell “And action” there is a light inside of me, I just love it so much. I always say that the day that I don’t feel that anymore is the day that I must hang up my headphones. So far fourteen years on I am very grateful that the light hasn’t gone, it actually burns brighter. I absolutely love what I do and I love the fact that every single day is different, with it comes a lot of hard work. I think people just think “Oh you are a radio presenter, so you work two hours a day”. No, no we work really really hard. But the thing is and it is so true and I hate those cliques but it is true when people say “Find what you love and you will never work a day in your life”. I work really hard but I don’t necessarily see it as work. I love being able to make people laugh, make people feel. Especially in a world where everything is so fast and easily accessible. We have kind of forgotten to be human, to be emotional and to actually feel. It is okay to feel, good and bad things. If I can get people to think or feel then I have done a good job, in those two hours that people think that I only work a day. My family is very very important to me, I don’t know who and where I would be without them. It is the one hard thing living in a different city, living here in Cape Town when the whole family is up in Johannesburg. It gets hard. I am someone that the minute I am feeling unsettled I need to be grounded and that is family. But then I also have that with the elements and nature, the ocean, feeling the beach sand, that also grounds me. So when I am feeling a little bit.. and I cant just run home to mom, it is being out in nature that is helpful. I am going off on a complete tangent, I am sorry.
Not at all, but you are pretty much answering all of my questions which is fantastic. I am a Johannesburg girl myself and I found moving to Cape Town to be very challenging, it really taught me a lot about myself. What has moving taught you?
I think you have hit the nail on the head that moving to Cape Town was actually bigger than I even realised in terms of… well people say that your life is set out already and destined for you, so when I made the decision to move to Cape Town I almost felt like that was going to happen regardless, I wasn’t really in the control seat at that stage. I was just carrying on, on a bigger life purpose. I have learned so much about myself. I always thought that I was a very independent woman until I moved to Cape Town and then I realised that I had really and very luckily I suppose been blessed with the fact that if something goes wrong, I can lean on my parents. I need something and I know my mom and my dad will help me and not in a spoilt bratty way. In a way I took it for granted, now being in Cape Town and not really having my family around and not having a big support structure like I have in Johannesburg, I am completely on my own. If something goes wrong or I need something I have to look towards myself for that. When I thought I had been independent before, it really forced me to actually stand on my own two feet and I survived. I think that when you are taken out of your comfort zone away from everything that you know and you are able to adapt it shows a lot of strength. It is a very proud moment when you start coming into your own and I feel like I am a much better person.
I know what you mean. What entertains you about Cape Town?
I have plenty of those, from living on the Atlantic Seaboard side. Maybe people in the suburbs won’t understand what I am talking about. What I have noticed is if you live in the Atlantic Seaboard you talk in minutes whereas in Johannesburg geographically everything is thirty minutes away and I am not even factoring in traffic. So if you are going to meet someone you know to leave half an hour before and you will get there in time. Here is something is half an hour away forget about it, no-one will even visit that place. They won’t go there, that is way too far. Anything that is over fifteen minutes is way too far. This is honestly the most beautiful place and waking up every day and seeing table mountain, even if it is beneath the fog and mist it is still beautiful. It has a really special energy.
Let’s talk about your writing and your website?
So I love as you know, entertaining, but I love being creative and so a good few years ago I started a blog, before blogs were even popular in this country under a pseudonym. I had just started my career in the public eye and I thought that if I wanted to write honestly and openly I didn’t want the public scrutiny of it. It was really more of an outlet for me to be creative and for me to write and do the photography that I love so much. Eventually I found it quite hard to write a pseudonym blog when I was writing personal stuff as people started putting two and two together. So I stopped the blog and in 2010 I created Vanilla Blonde, originally when I created the blog I was creating my website and the IT guy wrote BaileySchneidersblog.blogspot, that was the URL, which was the most awful name. I mean that’s not creative. I kind of got stuck with that and I didn’t know what to call it. My readers actually gave me the nickname Vanilla Blonde because of the copious amounts of vanilla tea that I drink and write about. Then I started getting comments on my blog “Dear Vanilla Blonde”. I thought that was a great name and changed the URL and Vanilla Blonde was born. I write a lifestyle blog that I hope is inspiring. It is always very honest and very authentic, it brings me great joy. I put myself under pressure by promising that I will write every single day, Monday to Friday. I cant always measure up to that, but I will never ever blog just once a week. I want people to come to the blog and be inspired, hopefully they take something away from it. I have had to be really honest with myself with this, even if no one reads my blog I would still write it because it is for me first. But I am really happy that people read and enjoy it.
That is always the right reason to do something. You speak about inspiring others, what inspires you?
I get inspired by the small things, I like being observant. It will be the small things like driving along and seeing people laughing and singing their heads off in their cars. That brings a smile. Children’s laughter and seeing a sunshiny day. It might sound lame but it is the smallest, smallest things. I get inspired by people and what makes them tick and that in turn makes me happy. People inspire me, I want to inspire them, it is a cycle.
Future plans, what is on the cards?
Just to be happy every single day and to find the good in everything. That will always be a future plan, it sounds funny to have that as a plan but being happy is a choice which you make every day. I say this every time but I get irritated with myself for not actually doing it, I really want to write a book. I have two ideas, I have been writing my crime novel for years now. I have 60 000 words and I just can’t finish it. The other is to turn Vanilla Blonde into a book, I have great ideas for that, I just haven’t done it. I don’t want to sit at sixty years old regretting having not done it. I am so busy and wrapped up in the things that need my immediate attention that when I do have five minutes to sit down I just want to take some downtime. Future plans are to travel to New York, to hopefully get married one day and have beautiful babies.
I know my industry is very much about a shelf life, but I refuse to believe that. I want to continue doing the things that I love like my blog, TV work and radio. To just be able to entertain and broadcast.
You are associated with the Bokeh fashion film festival there is a big event coming up next year…
So among the broadcasting and entertainment I do, I also have a passion for social media. I created my own social media company called BS Media. I know what people are immediately thinking…bullshit, but actually, if you look at my name…ahem. But I love that it is a play on words, it is a funny thing, people remember it. It is basically a company that does social media for small companies or for clients that need to focus on their businesses but do not have the manpower, the knowledge or the opportunity to run social media properly. The biggest mistake companies make is getting a young intern or someone who has a Facebook or a Twitter page thinking they know how to do it. It is completely different doing your own social media and running a companies social media. So I created this company to look after smaller clients, clients who don’t have the huge budgets that big digital agencies are charging. So I started working with Bokeh film festival and I absolutely love it because I get to bring in all of my strengths. I do the social media but I also get to MC, host the awards and run the red carpet. So I am in my element. I think it is such an amazing event. It is so fascinating to see all of these creative people getting to work together. From fashion to hair and makeup, designers, cinematographers, producers and directors. Everyone coming together and bringing these beautiful two or three minute movies, oh my gosh I find that inspiring as well. Storytelling is just fascinating to me.