At the age of thirty, Candace Bailey has covered a remarkable amount of ground in the entertainment business. She believes "thirty isn't young anymore", but with her upbeat attitude and perky good looks, she could hardly be considered over the hill.
Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Bailey started out as a child model, appearing in national ad campaigns for companies like Gap and Levis. From there she developed an interest in athletics and went on to become a Junior Olympic gymnast. After moving to New York and then Los Angeles, she scored roles on TV shows like The Ghost Whisperer
and The Sopranos
, was a regular on the CBS drama Jericho
and hosted Nickelodeon’s U Pick Live
for three years. Currently Bailey co-hosts G4 TV’s hugely popular Attack of the Show
. I caught up with her by phone recently to discuss her career and what it’s like working daily on live TV.
You started your career as a child model for major ad campaigns like Gap and Levi’s. Do you feel you missed out on a portion of your childhood by entering an adult world at such a young age?
I definitely don’t feel I missed out on my childhood. I didn’t start going to New York [to work] until I was twelve [which was only] in the summers and that was like my dream. I had tons of friends there and it was amazing. I feel very fortunate.
Why did you decide to change careers from modeling to acting?
When I turned eighteen, I went to college in New York and I had my manager. So I was able to go out when I wasn’t in school on auditions and things. I ended up getting the hosting job for Nickelodeon and I stopped the modeling. I didn’t want to be a model and I don’t think I was really tall enough to be a model. Acting was more my passion.
You were a Junior Olympic gymnast.
I was second alternate on the Junior Olympic national team.
Thanks. It was cool. I quit shortly after since I ended up moving. I figured I could either stay where I was and not get too much better or quit and have a life. So I quit (laughs) and went into ballet and modern [dance].
For such a young woman, you’ve had a remarkably varied career. You’ve acted in shows like The Ghost Whisperer, The Sopranos and had steady gigs on Nickelodeon’s U Pick Live, Jericho and now G4 TV’s Attack of the Show. What made you decide to become a TV show host?
It just kind of happened. I had never auditioned for a hosting job before and this job at Nickelodeon came up and I thought, “Oh, I’ll go on it. Why not? Read the teleprompter.” I actually ended up being very fortunate to get that because it opened a whole new path to my career, something that I never really knew was out there. After I left New York and came to L.A., I decided I was going to pursue acting more and I got Jericho
and some other things. Then I was like, “Why did I ever give up hosting in the first place? I can do both.” I always thought it was one or the other. Then I started auditioning for hosting and G4 came along. I was very lucky to get the job.
So G4 was just another in a long line of auditions?
Exactly. I can’t even count how many auditions I’ve gone on that I haven’t gotten. Hundreds. But that’s what makes these jobs so great when you actually do get them.
You have a positive attitude.
I try. I think you kind of have to otherwise you could get very jaded in this business.
On Attack of the Show you and (co-host) Kevin Pereira have a kooky kind of chemistry.
We do. I love that kid. I feel like he’s kind of like a brother. He’s so silly and I love just hanging out with him on set. My job, I feel like it’s a dream job because I love to laugh and that kid just cracks me up 24/7. I am laughing throughout the show just because I am having a blast. I get to do very silly things on the show.
Like drinking the Sprite and Skittles cocktail?
That was so mean of them. Last year for Lent, I gave up soda and sweets and that day I tweeted it out. I came in and they’re like, “So, we’re going to have you drinking Skittles and Sprite martinis.” So I did and I [gave sweets up] the day after. It’s very strange, quirky stuff like that that makes me love the show so much.
Your relationship with Kevin on the show reminds me of those those screwball comedy duos of the ‘40s and ‘50s.
That’s so funny. Nobody’s ever said that.
How much preparation goes into those bits you two do?
We start off with the table read. We run through the whole script. If something doesn’t work or we don’t get a laugh in the room, we’ll pitch other ideas or the writers will come up with other ideas until it kind of works. Then we go to set after hair and makeup, an hour before the show starts, usually. We’ll do a run through of the first block and if we have any skits in the show, which are usually in the first block, we’ll do those as well and make sure that they work, make sure our timing is on. Sometimes we’ll spend one run through on it but usually it’s at least two or three. A lot of times we run through it and it still doesn’t work. That is the beauty of live TV.
In January, you reached your one year anniversary on the show. Did you think you’d be with Attack that long and what do you enjoy most about your hosting duties?
When I signed my contract I hoped I’d be there for a few more years. I love it. It’s just such a fun gig. I don’t think there’s a lot of TV out there that’s like this, that’s live, that let’s us do all these crazy things but can still be serious. It has so many different aspects to it. I really love the live aspect. I think that’s probably my favorite part of it. I also like to see my co-host. He’s not too bad. Like I said, he cracks me up all the time. From everyone who works on set to hair and makeup and wardrobe to all the writers, everyone who works on that show is amazing. I feel like that doesn’t happen very often. The fact that everybody works together and it’s a great environment makes it a lot of fun.
Attack occasionally focuses on video games. Do you play video games?
I do sometimes. But the thing with me is that I’m a very energetic person. I love those dancing video games because I grew up as a dancer. They’re fun and I can get my energy out. I feel like I’m doing two things in one.
Do you enjoy social media like Twitter and Facebook?
I do. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. I tweet a lot more just because it’s easier for me. I try to constantly update people on what’s going on. I tweet a lot about the show, tweet a lot of behind the scenes pics. I try to post behind the scenes videos, just to let the audience see what goes on. We didn’t have that when I was growing up and I totally wish I had.
Can you give us a hint of some surprises that might be coming up on Attack of the Show?
You know what’s funny? I honestly don’t know [that sort of thing] from day to day because it’s a live show. But I do know that in a couple of months we have Comic-Con. In June we have E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and July we have Comic-Con and those are our huge months on Attack
. We do live shows from the convention floor. It’s really, really awesome. We did Comic-Con last year and it was to this day my favorite day that I’ve had on Attack
, just because I got to interact with the audience and we did a panel and we did a live four-hour show. The energy is the most incredible thing. I know we have that to look forward to.
This week we were promoting Morgan Spurlock and his new documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
. So this is a Comic-Con week even though it’s three months before Comic-Con, which felt a little funny but his premiere came out this week so we were doing all sorts of Comic-Con stuff this week.
What are your goals for the future?
I kind of want to do it all. I would love to do comedy. I feel like I should do comedy but I’ve always done dramas. I have some ideas that I’m writing with my friend and I’d love to create an actual comedy. Get a bunch of my friends together and have them all be a part of it. That’s the dream.
Follow Candace Bailey
on Twitter @candacebailey5