Spotlight Guest Contributor: Cynthia – HR Professional by Day, Jazz Singer by Night

By Cynthia Simmons Taylor


Turning 51 was more significant to me than last year’s 50th birthday. No particular reason, it just resonated more that I’m in my “50s.” I was headed out to a gala the day after my birthday. When I looked in the mirror, I took a rare selfie and thought with a smile “This is 51.” Not bad, if I say so myself. I really don’t take a lot of pics of myself and am awful at selfies most days, but this particular day, the selfie gave me a much needed boost. Sometimes we women in our 50s need to remind ourselves that we are fabulous.

Photo by Blue Arden Photography – Tiffany Wills

While my day job keeps me pretty conservative with the way I dress, when I’m in full “jazz singer mode,” I have SO much fun. This was from a photo shoot in my house. The photographer has an incredible eye. She has always found my inner “sexy diva” and brings it out in photos. I’m always amazed at how glamorous she makes me look. 

Photo by Blue Arden Photography – Tiffany Wills

My first professional photo shoot a few years back… I smile when I look at this photo because that “sexy diva” oozed out again. This is so much more fun than dressing as an HR director. When we were posing for this, I was thinking of an album cover. I still need to record one.

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This year I remarried. I had sworn I would never get married again, then I met John. It took us eight years to decide to marry but we found love very quickly. John and I are both very decisive when we make a solid decision. So we planned a wedding in two weeks. We got married in our home with our children and my parents there to witness. My daughter was my witness and John’s youngest son was his. It was a wonderful day.


This is me dressed as an HR director, btw. We attended an event right after work. Very simple but a classic style. Gotta love pearls, right?



These are photos from “The Color Purple,” a recent foray into musical theater. That show was so much fun. I’m still friends with many in the cast. I was the infamous Shug Avery. That character fit my personality better than many realized. Those that know me more intimately absolutely knew that it was the perfect role, though.

I’m very fortunate that I found a way to make music I enjoy and have a fulfilling professional career. I describe myself as an HR professional by day and a jazz singer at night. I’ve found that my worlds collide and fully living both of these makes me a well-rounded “woman in her 50s.” I try to bring out my own level of “bad-assery” as I go through life.


This is a pic of me and my three best friends, each of them a badass in their own right. Four women in our 50s, enjoying life and each other.


Another selfie taken before a private singing gig. The dress is a floor-length sheath. It was a good hair and makeup day. My necklace was commissioned by a friend who makes beautiful jewelry. I love it because it reflects such a large part of who I am. Music is a part of me. I honestly can’t remember any of my life without music. I sing to share my music with others. In the process of sharing, I often find my own healing.

The Real-Real Behind the Scenes


This is my husband’s background photo on his phone. I took it the Monday after we were married.

A Little Background Music

(This is one of Cynthia’s live performances uploaded to youtube, and her website can be seen here. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dark nightclub, wearing a diva dress, dripping in jewels… a handsome man is eyeing you from across the room…)

Shopping Links

Cynthia passes on links for her favorite places to shop.


Where she purchases her formal gowns – IGIGI Designer Plus Size Clothing.

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Where she purchased her wedding dress – Avenue. This company has an exciting section for fall trends such as this velvet bell sleeve top.


Ashley Stewart.




Friend Liv’s jewelry page, WrapZilla Designs. Liv specializes in wire-wrapped jewelry.



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