There probably aren’t too many psychics, mediums or spiritual advisers in Goldsboro, and there are probably even fewer people there who believe in their abilities.
Hailey Best, perhaps better known as Miss North Carolina 2011, is learning things are a little bit different when you’re out chasing big-city dreams.
Best left her rural hometown of Goldsboro almost a year ago to pursue a singing and acting career in New York City. Right away, she began looking for a day job to cover expenses while auditioning.
That day job – as assistant to Tia Belle, a psychic medium to “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” – is what has landed her again in the show business spotlight. Best is co-starring in Belle’s new A&E reality series “Psychic Tia.”
Working as a psychic’s assistant on a reality show was not even close to Best’s grand plan. Having studied opera performance at Meredith College and the UNC School of the Arts high school program, Best went to New York intending to audition for musical theater gigs or find work as a singer or host.
“It is pretty funny though, because most of my friends are waitresses or nannies or they cater as their day job,” said Best. “And I’m like, ‘I work in a psychic shop, OK, cool.’ ”
Belle owns a store called The Craft in Totowa, N.J., where she sells sage, candles, healing jewelry, spells and bath salts. In the back, Belle offers her clairvoyant services as a tarot card reader and psychic who can “cross over” and speak to the deceased.
“She’s very different,” Best said. “Unlike anyone I was used to in North Carolina, that’s for sure.”
A&E caught wind of the mystic and created a show around her business. It airs Saturday at 10 p.m.
Best’s responsibilities include scheduling Belle’s appointments, collecting client information and “saging” the store, which requires burning a roll of sage and waving it around to get rid of bad spirits and negative thoughts.
“True skeptics are not going to change their minds, and you’re not going to be able to change their minds, so I don’t even waste time on that,” Best said of nonbelievers.
Best, who recently recorded a country music album, was once skeptical of “the outer realm” and all things New Age, but working with Belle has swayed her.
“The more that I watch Tia, and the more change that I see in her clients, from when they come in the door and when they leave, has made me believe that she does have some sort of gift,” she said.
“Now, do I understand exactly what her gift is and do I believe wholeheartedly that she can see the future and those kinds of things? Not necessarily yet, but I do believe that she definitely has a gift to talk to the deceased because her medium abilities are just amazing.”