Whether you first met her as Jamie’s love interest on the famed The Jamie Foxx Show sitcom or found yourself smitten by her beauty in Coming To America, Garcelle Beauvais has always been unforgettable. In an industry that can sometimes make quick work of Black talent, Beauvais has managed to stay, at once, in demand and never too far from view. There is something timeless about her presence. Her girl-like charm and charisma have not been overshadowed by the years she’s given to us all. In fact, over 30 years since we first laid eyes on her, it still feels like there is more to know about the alluring woman behind some of the most classic TV and film roles. Perhaps, that’s why the anticipation for her memoir Love Me As I Am is alive and well.
We just want more Garcelle.
That’s how it’s always been and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. The current cohost of The Real and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is ready to give her fans an inside look at the journey she’s taken to arrive here. And where is that? Well, it seems that the Haitian born beauty has found peace in absolute authenticity and altruistic commitment to helping others do the same.
We caught up with the ageless stunner to talk life, longevity and the power of owning our own stories.
Iman N. Milner: You’re sharing your journey in your upcoming book, but, in your own words who is Garcelle Beauvais at this point in her life?
Garcelle Beauvais: I love that, who is Garcelle..hmmm. I’d say Garcelle is a woman who’s resilient. I am learning more about myself even now; I am still a work in progress. There’s still that little immigrant girl inside of me who is trying to find her way and I think that’s why I push so hard. I am so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given so I keep striving. I’m a good girlfriend, a good mother—-there are days where I struggle but I think most of the time I’m pretty good—-and a grandmother now! Everything that I do career wise, you already know.
INM: How do you define this chapter of your life, in particular?
GB: I define this chapter as just being in a good place. Personally and professionally. I think I’ve made some peace with my past, finally; therefore, now is a great time for me to share my story with the world through this book.
INM: There seems to be such a clear shift towards transparency that has happened alongside the rise of social media, how much of an adjustment has it been to share so much of your life not only on reality TV but now in the form of a memoir?
GB: I’ve always been transparent. I’ve always shared my angst, my ups and my downs. I think other people are joining in on that but I have always been willing to put myself out there. I’ve talked about my struggles; from my divorce to being in an industry that didn’t value us for a long time or even trying to find the right man for me. I talk about parenting and raising Black men.
INM: What do you think people will be most intrigued by in the book?
GB: Probably how raw and honest I am. Also, some of the stories that I tell and people, sometimes, on the outside looking in, think everything is so perfect and it’s not. My relationship or lack thereof with my dad, growing up Haitian, being the rebel and the good girl at the same time because I have a little bit of both, I was brought up to be one way and sometimes that has been a struggle. I’ve tried to share all of my stories in a funny, authentic and relatable way.
INM: You’ve been part of so many beloved projects—-which of them is your personal favorite? Will we get any BTS of those in the book?
GB: Oh, that’s like picking your favorite kid! I would say, there’s different times that are highlights for me, obviously becoming a mom, but career-wise working with Jamie Foxx was a highlight. Working with Denzel Washington was a highlight. Being in a Marvel movie was a highlight. And even some of the smaller things like I did an indie film with Raven Simone and Ryan Destiny called ‘A Girl Like Grace’ and that was a highlight for me. It really depends on the experience, you know? Sometimes it’s the cast or the director, there’s different highs with different projects.
INM: The industry has gone through so many different transitions since we first met you, longevity is not always something afforded to Black women in this field, what do you credit yours to?
GB: I’m going to go back to resilience and just always persevering. I am always pushing through. But I sort of diversified before everyone else did. When I first started out, if you were an actor, you were just an actor. I branched out though because I love trying different things, I’m a Sagittarius. So I was writing children’s books and hosting TV shows, producing here and there. I was doing those things even when other people weren’t. Now, you can’t box us in and it’s beautiful to see Black women branching out and using all of their talents. We’re thriving and being the bosses we always knew we were but it’s nice to see the world coming along with us.
INM: You’re a person who has a very diverse portfolio whether it’s music videos or foundations, being a mother, writing a book—-we talk a lot about balance here at 21Ninety, especially for women at different eras in their lives. There seems to be something abut the 50s that liberates women to truly push into prioritizing themselves.
GB: Yes! I would agree with that. Hear us roar! So many times we feel like we have to do a lot of things we don’t want to do or feel like we’re obligated to do. It’s nice to know what you don’t want to or what you can simply say ‘no’ to right now. I think also 2020 taught us what’s really important. Once we were locked in and couldn’t go anywhere, which we’ve never experienced, it helped us all being intentional about what we wanted to do once the world was back. I think it weeded out people who weren’t serving you or bringing anything positive to your life and it helped us focus in on what we really wanted to do with our lives. But, yes, I think your 50s are fearless.
INM: There is so much power in owning your own narrative. As a person who remembers when we’d only learn about our favorite celebrities through magazines or carefully constructed PR statements, the world is so different now. People get to speak directly through social media and we see more of these memoirs happening. Can you speak to the courage it takes to really put your story out there?
GB: First of all, you’re right. There is power in owning it all but there’s also so much anxiety. You’re really putting your business out there. But for me and my girlfriend Nicole E. Smith, who wrote this with me, it was really powerful. Getting a hold of the narrative from my point of view—it’s not abut bashing anyone or pointing a finger at people—but it’s really my journey through my lens. I’d rather have it out there from my words than someone else’s interpretation.
INM: If you could go back and tell yourself anything at the start of this journey, what would it be?
GB: I would say ‘don’t be so scared’ and ‘hold on for the ride’. There’s been good, there’s been bad but it’s been a great journey and I am grateful everyday.