One of Haiti’s most famous Hollywood actresses, Garcelle Beauvais, was recently interviewed by Haitian blogger Kreyolicious.
The former model and music video starlet comes from a large family; Garcelle has five brothers and two sisters. According to the interview, The St. Marc native didn’t have it easy from the beginning. Her father Axel and her mother Marie-Claire divorced when she was a little girl. Not too long after, Marie-Claire moved to the United States—Massachusetts specifically—and one by one, she brought her kids with her.
Garcelle got her start in modelling when she was signed to the Ford agency in New York at 16. She then broke into film, (she’s one of the rose bearers in the classic comedy film Coming to America), struck gold as a star cast member on “The Jamie Foxx Show” and has sinced starred on “NYPD Blue”, followed by “Eyes” and more recently “Franklin & Bash.” Currently, she has a role on “Psych”
Check out excerpts of Garcelle’s interview with Kreyolicious below:
You’re the most well-known Haitian actress in Hollywood. At one point, you weren’t the only one, and actually there were some that started before you—that no one knew were Haitian. But you’ve always been—in your interviews, bio and everything—-you’ve always been forefront about being Haitian. What is the difference between you and these other ladies?
I can’t speak for them. But for me, I was always taught to be proud. I never shy from that. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be proud of where you’re from. For me, there was never a shame. There was never a, “Oh my God. I can’t say that I’m from Haiti.” It’s like I’m proud that I am from Haiti. Everything about me—good and bad—made me who I am. No regrets. No shame. It’s part of my makeup. And I’m proud of it. If you come to my house, as soon as you walk in the door, I have a Haitian vodun flag, a vodun king, kids wearing uniforms in Haiti.
Back when you started, there was this negative stigma with being Haitian. How did you navigate through that?
You know what? It was never in my home. My mom toujou di, “Fò’w fyè”. You should be proud. I think you get that stuff if you’re taught that stuff. It wasn’t in our home. I never thought of it. It never crossed my mind. We were always proud. Haitian dishes. Matter of fact, I had some friends over the other day, and I told them, “The next time you come, I’m cooking a Haitian dish.” I never took it upon myself—that negativity—was part of who I am.
Some people are wondering…would Garcelle date a Haitian man?
Um. [Tremendous laughter] I am open to dating a good man, so whatever forms he comes in, then great. I would have to date a Haitian man who’s more Americanized. A traditional Haitian man would probably not go for the way my life is…in terms of what I do. I’m only speaking of that in terms of my sisters’ husbands. I’m open to all nationalities. It would actually be fun to date somebody Haitian. We can speak in Creole. He’d understand my background and culture. Yeah, I’m totally open.
God, I hope this doesn’t come out wrong. Has the fact that you’ve dated two men who were outside your culture and “race”, made you more open to dating a black man?
I’ve always been open to dating black men. Oliver’s dad is black. I’m not opposed to it. It’s that the right people have to approach me. I love who loves me; I love who comes to me. I’m accessible to everybody. I’m receptive to everybody. I can’t just go out and look for only one type of man. Life is tough enough. I love who loves me; who approaches me.
Do you ever think about moving to Haiti someday, starting a business there, staying there on a permanent basis?
I can’t move to Haiti because of my kids, because of my divorce. They have to be close to their dad. That’s not even—I can’t entertain that. Plus my career is in the United States. Maybe someday. Maybe I’ll start an organization. But my life is here. My kids are here.
Now in terms of your kids….do you teach them Creole?
They know some. Oliver knows some. Jaid is much more interested in learning. Jaxson has no interest. He only wants to play. They know certain words. Sometimes, they’ll do something; I’ll get frustrated. I start speaking Creole. I’ll crack them up, and they’ll know what I mean.
Have you ever taken your kids to Haiti?
No, no, no, not yet. When the earthquake happened, the boys were too young. The next time I come, Oliver’s definitely coming with me.
You and your mom were so close. She raised you and your siblings by herself. What are some of the things you learned from her about life, love, and marriage.
I definitely learned strength from her. Being a strong Haitian woman. Having integrity. My mom was working—she was trying to take care of us. And I just feel like I didn’t see a working relationship between a man and a woman. So that’s what I aspire to do with my kids.
If you could give advice to all the girls out there about love, relationships, and marriage, what would you say?
First of all, I would say, be true to you. I don’t think you should have to give up part of you just to be with somebody else. I think it’s important if you can start with self-love. Loving yourself, you will not allow other people to hurt you unnecessarily. Love yourself. Have boundaries for yourself [so] that you won’t let anybody hurt you. I think that it’s also finding a good person, who has the same morals, the same goals with you. Relationships are tough no matter what. If you have somebody who has a lot in common with you, that’s half the battle. Obviously, I don’t know. I have two divorces. I’m not an expert. I think self-love is where you can start off with.
Read the full interview at Kreyolicious.com