Garcelle Beauvais is a classic beauty crush. She has consistently served flawless face beats and hairstyles that have stood the test of time. And with a career that now spans across four decades, we are hard-pressed to find any missteps.
It seems like she–and her career–continue to drink from an ageless fountain of youth. She stays booked and busy and her red carpet slay is impeccable.
In recent years, she has heated up the screen with Ghost on an episode of Power, starred on Freeform’s Siren, appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming and was tapped as co-host for Hollywood Today Live. She is also the author of a children’s book, reprising her rose-bearer role in Coming 2 America, and getting ready to make her reality television debut.
But she will forever be ingrained in our hearts as “Fancy” from the late ‘90s sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show.
“As an actor, you want what you do to resonate with someone, somewhere, somehow. And, the fact that there are millions of people who see me as Fancy, I mean, I’ll take it all day long. That was a really big part of my career,” she says in a phone interview with Hype Hair.
Now we’re getting ready to tune into her debut as the first Black woman on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Her manager’s first thought was to pass on it. She had other thoughts. “I like to push myself and do things out of my comfort zone.”
With her two youngest getting close to their teens (the twins are 12, and her eldest is 29), she says she liked the idea of being able to work closer to home. She is also a huge fan of the Housewives franchise—“especially Atlanta.” But, she shares, “I would never do Atlanta cause they would eat my alive. I know and love those women, but I wouldn’t last a day.”
Beverly Hills seemed more up her alley,” she says. “It’s a huge platform. Also, being the first African American [cast member], I get to put my stamp on it. And who I am, I am a hands-on mom, that’s the most important thing to me. I’m an actor, I’m a friend.”
Does she have any apprehension now that she’s started shooting? Sure, but not because of anything she’s done. She just hasn’t seen herself in that lane before. “And, then I don’t know what they’re saying behind my back!”
Her journey in the spotlight has also helped her fall in love with her hair. It is because of go-to hairstylist Kim Kimble insisted that she “stop relaxing” that she transitioned to her natural tresses.
“I didn’t realize that I had ‘good hair’ until I was in my 40s!” she says.
“At first, I thought, ‘Oh, my god, what am I gonna do?’ We come out of the womb and they’re already putting relaxers and all kinds of stuff in our hair and you don’t know your hair,” she says half-jokingly. “But, then I discovered that I liked my curl pattern. It’s what helps when I say to my kids that you get your curls from me—because they’re mixed. It redefined what I think of my hair.”
Garcelle has also witnessed first-hand the change in how Black beauty is celebrated in the industry. “Before it almost felt like we were forced into extensions and longer hair and really covering up our natural hair,” she says.
“What is really interesting to see is the evolution of hair, in the sense of texture versus non-texture, wigs versus extensions. Now, we can do twists, we can do a ’fro, we can do braids. Now, you could see a beautiful woman with natural hair on the cover of a magazine.”
She is clear though that change isn’t just about outsiders. It’s also about how we as Black women view ourselves.
“I can’t speak for all Black women, but I think many thought negatively [about our hair],” she shares. “We can’t just jump into the pool and shake our hair like the White girls do, so we had a stigma about it. So, learning to love our hair is a big deal. That’s who we are. That’s self-love.”
The Ultimate Accessory
For her, hair is an accessory. “If you can’t have fun with fashion and hair, then it’s a wrap. Being an actor and model, I typically have to keep my hair ready to transform into other characters.” So, her go-to looks stay fairly simple: either a long and wavy look or long and kinky straight.
But the change in perception of Black hair has made her feel freer to play with her tresses. That includes our March cover shoot. Styled by Kim, Garcelle rocked everything from a pumpkin-spiced beachy bob and wind-swept blond tresses to a chic tapered bowl-cut bob and kinky lioness afro accented with cornrows along the crown.
“It was really fun!” she says. “When you’re working with Kim, she will bring a truckload of hair. We had so many different styles!”
The shoot also opened her up to trying colors outside of her traditional deep chocolate and natural black hues. “I didn’t know if I can get away with blonde, but once I had those looks on I was like, ‘Wow, I can actually do that!’”
It’s hard to believe she questions her ability to slay anything. At 53, she appears to be drinking from a magic fountain of youth (and we want in). However, she attributes her ageless glow to good genes, a good dermatologist and finding a healthy balance in life. That includes working out, drinking water, and moisturizing. “I’m trying to stay at it as much as I can.” She also cut out sugar and dairy to help with her eczema. “That was really hard.”
Now, she’s readying for her next chapter of success, which includes film production and raising her twins. Last year, she produced Lalo’s House, an award-winning short on sex trafficking shot in her home country of Haiti. Now, she is in pre-production for her next film. “It’s a psychological thriller that my producing partner and I have written and marketed. That’s really another thing I wanna do is more. Obviously still acting, but producing something that I love.
And, she loves cooking for her kids and recently discovered the joys of shopping at Walmart. A good friend of hers, however, advises that when Housewives drops this spring she can’t be seen there. “I was, like, why?!”
“I know people see the glamour and what I do but, but I feel like I’m just a regular girl who gets to do really cool stuff every now and then,” she shares. “That’s how I see myself.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo. Check local listings for season 10 premiere date and time.
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