Garcelle Beauvais, the complete package.
We are all on our own path, we’re all on a journey so just because you see someone else doing better than you doesn’t mean you can’t do well or you’re not moving forward. So many times we compare ourselves to other people, you can’t because we’re all on our own journey and whenever we are going to get to it we’re going to get to it.. Every step along the way is bringing you closer to where you want to go.” – Garcelle Beauvais
Garcelle Beauvais has over the decades become a successful model, actress, mother, and overall well-rounded since her move to the United States from her homeland St. Marc, Haiti. She was born on November 26, 1966 to Marie-Claire Beauvais and Axel Jean Pierre and was one of seven children who made the move with her mother after her parents divorced.
“The transition was surreal…In Haiti, it’s tropical, 90 degrees at night. We moved to Massachusetts in the winter, I didn’t speak a word of English, I did not see that many white people before so I was like ‘What is going on?’…I was an adjustment, I couldn’t go to school right away, I had to watch Sesame Street to learn enough English to go to school then went to school and immersed myself in the culture and everything.” Garcelle Beauvais, interview with CCTV News.
One would think that persons in the minority population, especially Caribbean women, would have to struggle through their career and life, but not this spirited woman—she has done the complete opposite.
At the age of 17, Garcelle went to New York to pursue a career in modelling fashion and was later signed with Ford Models and Irene Marie Models in Miami where she modeled print ads from Avon, Clairol and Mary Kay. She also modeled for the Lerner New York Clothing Line, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus and walked on the catwalk for Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi. She made appearances in Ebony and Essence and was a cover model for Jet’s June 6th, 2011 issue.
She was married to Daniel Saunders in 1991, but divorced in 2000. However, they had a beautiful baby boy from the union, Oliver Saunders. She later married Mike Nilon in 2001 and six years subsequent had twin boys Jax Joseph and Jaid Thomas Nilon. However, the marriage did not last forever as she had hoped since they divorced in 2011, keeping joint custody of their sons. She continues to make strides despite her past relationships, and tries to be a positive force and support in the lives of her children and also her fans.
Garcelle took acting classes and moved to Los Angeles to focus more on her acting career. In 1996 through to 2001, she co-starred in the Jamie Foxx Show as Francesca “Fancy” Monroe, the love interest of Jamie King. In 2001 she was voted one of “The Ten Sexiest Women of 2001” by Black Men Magazine. She later played Valerie Heywood on NYPD Blue (2001-2004) and also another character in the TNT Drama Franklin and Bash (2011-2012). She found her way back to co-staring with Jamie Foxx in 2013, where she played his love interest, the First Lady in the movie White House Down.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to do journalism when I was younger but I would perform and sing and dance at a young age for my family, so I think it was always in me; I just never knew that you could do it as a living.”
In 2010 she partnered with Fonkoze, an organization which offers financial services to help Haitian women succeed when she got news of the Haiti earthquake which devastated her homeland.
“Haiti has had a tough go at it for centuries and decades, so for this to happen where you never thought about earthquakes in Haiti, I knew it was really bad… You just can’t imagine that something so bad can happen to this little island that I love so much that I’m so proud of. To know that so many people have died, I think in a way it has helped put Haiti on the map for a lot of people who didn’t know Haiti and they were able to raise money for them.” – Garcelle Beauvais, interview with CCTV News
Garcelle launched her children’s jewelry line called Petit Bijou in 2008, and published a children’s book entitled ‘I am Mixed’ in 2013 to identify children more with their diversity and unique races. She went on to publish two more books ‘I am Living in Two Homes’ and ‘I am Awesome’.
“When I would take my kids to book stores, they could never find any books with characters who looked like them and celebrated their diversity… My kids are half Irish, half Haitian and so I had this idea…So a publisher, Sebastian, and I got together and we made the ‘I am’ book series…The first book is ‘I am Mixed’ celebrates what makes you different and who you are..I didn’t want my kids to have to choose, am I white or black, I want them to embrace what makes them and it’s half of each…The second book is when I was going through my divorce – ‘I am living in two homes’ – for kids who go back and forth and really letting them know that it’s not their fault that no matter what we’re still a family unit and to love and respect the family.. ‘I am awesome’ is the third book, which just celebrates you being awesome if it’s not afraid of being in the dark, or helping a friend who is being teased…” – Garcelle Beauvais, interview with CCTV News.
She appeared on talk shows, like Wendy Williams Show, and other episodes of popular television series, like The Cosby Show and Miami Vice (See Filmography below) as well as music videos such as R. Kelly’s “Down Low” and Luther Vandross’ “Take You Out”. In 2013 she received the MPAH Haiti Movie Awards Honorary Award for the Motion Picture Association of Haiti.
She is now one of the co-hosts on the discussion series Hollywood Today Live. She is also shooting a movie with Bella Thorne “You Get Me”.
“I am at peace right now with my life. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve come out on the other side of it and I think it’s how I’ve been able to forgive and grow and empower and be aware…” – Garcelle Beauvais, interview with People.
|1988||Coming to America||Rose bearer|
|1999||Wild Wild West||Belle|
|2004||Barbershop 2: Back in Business||Loretta|
|2007||I Know Who Killed Me||Agent Julie Bascome|
|2009||Women in Trouble||Maggie|
|2010||Eyes to See||Marie||Short film|
|2013||White House Down||Alison Sawyer|
|2013||And Then There Was You||Natalie Gilbert|
|1985||Miami Vice||Gabriella||Episode: “The Maze”|
|1991||Family Matters||Lulu||Episode: “Old and Alone”|
|1992||Down the Shore||Liat||Episode: “Schwing Time”|
|1992||Dream On||Danica||Episode: “Red All Over”|
|1992||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Veronica||Episode: “That’s No Lady, That’s My Cousin”|
|1993||Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper||Keeler||Episode: “Boy Don’t Leave”|
|1993||Where I Live||Terry||Episode: “Married… with Children”|
|1993||Family Matters||Garcelle||Episode: “Scenes from a Mall”|
|1994||Family Matters||Young Mother Winslow||Episode: “To Be or Not to Be; Part 2”|
|1994–1995||Models Inc.||Cynthia Nichols||Main role (25 episodes)|
|1995||The Wayans Bros.||Rachel||Episode: “Fatal Subtraction”|
|1995||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Herself||Episode: “For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll”|
|1995||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Sandra||Episode: “Not, I Barbeque”|
|1996||Family Matters||Nicole Moses||Episode: “A Ham Is Born”|
|1996–2001||The Jamie Foxx Show||Francesca “Fancy” Monroe||Main role (100 episodes)|
|2000||Opposite Sex||Ms. Maya Bradley||Regular role (6 episodes)|
|2001||Titans||Tina||Episode: “She Stoops to Conquer”|
|2001–2004||NYPD Blue||A.D.A. Valerie Heywood||Regular role (81 episodes)|
|2002||Second String||Larissa Fullerton||TV film|
|2003||The Bernie Mac Show||Vicki||Episode: “Bernie Mac Rope-a-Dope”|
|2004||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Renee||Episode: “The Surrogate”|
|2004||Life with Bonnie||Dr. Gamz||Episode: “Therabeautic”|
|2005–2007||Eyes||Nora Gage||Main role (12 episodes)|
|2006||10.5: Apocalypse||Natalie Warner||TV miniseries|
|2006||CSI: Miami||Katrina Iverson||Episode: “Death Pool 100”|
|2007||The Cure||Trudie Ericson||TV film|
|2009||Maneater||Suzee Saunders||TV miniseries|
|2009||Crash||Connie||Episode: “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline”|
|2010||Human Target||Vivian Cox||Episode: “Lockdown”|
|2011||State of Georgia||Gwen Dressel||Episode: “Foot in the Door”|
|2012||The Exes||Kendra||Episode: “Shall We Dance”|
|2011–2012||Franklin & Bash||Hanna Linden||Main role (20 episodes)|
|2013||Psych||Miranda Sherrod||Episode: “Dead Air”|
|2013||Arrested Development||Ophelia Love||Episode: “Off the Hook”|
|2013||Necessary Roughness||Lana Langer||Episode: “Swimming with Sharks”|
|2013||Playing House||Dr. Jay||Episode: “Let’s Have a Baby”|
|2016||Hollywood Today Live||Co-host|
By Alexandra Daley