Since the beginning of her career, Garcelle Beauvais has continued to win the hearts of audiences while navigating the peaks and valleys of Hollywood. Whether she's co-hosting on the Emmy award-winning talk show, The Real, making history as the first Black woman to appear on the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or hosting her weekly podcast, Going to Bed with Garcelle, the mom of three continues to show the world the power of reinvention.
Her accolades and extensive résumé speak for themselves, and to further add to her longstanding list of endeavors, the multi-hyphenate recently partnered with one of the world's leading female health + continence care brands TENA. "…there are real issues out there that we don't necessarily talk about. They're taboo. They're embarrassing, and I love keeping it real. TENA wants to keep it real, and I think we should talk about things like aging, menopause, and incontinence. Growing up in my household, we didn't talk about those things. I want us to be able to talk about sex and relationships and what's happening with our bodies because we're not alone."
There is no question that Garcelle Beauvais's legacy centers on being a champion for Black women with a unique perspective and the wit, charm, and charisma to match. Below, 21Ninety speaks with the television personality about the strong Black woman complex, defying ageism, evolution, and the best way to establish interconnectedness with your mind, body, and spirit.
Dontaira Terrell: I want to first start by talking about your upbringing in Haiti. At what age did you come to the states?
Garcelle Beauvais: I was seven years old. I didn't speak a word of English. We moved to Massachusetts in the dead of winter. I didn't know what was happening.
DT: What was your fondest memory of growing up in Haiti?
GB: Oh, there's a few! I was born in St. Marc, but we lived in Port-au-Prince, and every summer, I would go back to St. Marc, where my grandmother had her house, and she also had a store. A mom-and-pop store in the front of the house, and I remember running to her house. She always had big jars of candy, and to me, that's my fondest memory of visiting my grandmother and getting candy out of the jar. I have candy jars, too, now that I'm a grandmother!
DT: What is something about your Haitian culture you carry with you today?
GB: It's pride and hope. We are the most prideful people, whether we have everything or nothing. Haiti's been through so much, but if you meet any Haitians in Haiti, they're hopeful, and they never, we never give up. We are really resilient. The country is really resilient.
DT: Speaking of resiliency, but in another dynamic, there are conversations about the strong Black woman complex. I'm curious, what are your thoughts about demystifying this narrative?
GB: Sometimes it's to our detriment that we are so strong, and there are times when people say, 'Oh my God, you're so strong. You've been through so much.' And it infuriates me a little bit because just because I'm strong doesn't mean I don't hurt.
It doesn't mean I don't have insecurities. It doesn't mean that I don't need help sometimes, and being strong doesn't mean that you don't want other people to still be in your life and help you. We get that label, and unfortunately, it's good, and it's bad.
DT: How do you personally keep your overall well-being healthy from the mind, body, and spirit to establish interconnectedness?
GB: Sometimes it's really hard because we sometimes continually go, go, go because we want to do so much. I think now, and then, for me, I hit a wall, and that's when my body and my mind and my spirit are telling me, 'Slow down. Shift it a little bit. Take time for yourself. Reconnect with you,' whether it's going in the backyard and having my feet on the grass. Or taking a bath. Whether it's staying off social media or the phone just for a few minutes, I think those things are what I try to do to recenter.
DT: What is your advice for women on how to feel more in tune with their bodies?
GB: I think it's listening. It's really about listening to your body. I mean, when we get a headache, we know it, right? I think if we slow down enough, we'll hear it, and we'll feel it. That's a way of your body saying, 'Take care of me.'
I tell my kids all of the time to 'Brush your teeth. Brush longer because those teeth have to last your whole life.' We have to remember this is the one body we have, so we have to take care of it.
DT: As our bodies experience different stages and phases, what is the best way to continually fall in love with your own body?
GB: Oh, I love that! I think so many times when we look in the mirror, we go, 'I wish I had this,' or, 'I wish this were better,' and every now and then, I try to look at my body and go, 'This body gave me three babies!'
Find something that you like. I like my legs. They're skinny, but they're great. Suppose we can do that, even once a week, or once every other week, to look in the mirror and don't criticize ourselves. Find one thing that you can go, 'I'm happy about that.' Whether it's your neck, whether it's your wrist, whatever it is. Find something that we can reconnect and love our bodies because it's all in mindset, too.
DT: It's definitely in the way you talk to yourself.
GB: Absolutely! When I couldn't get pregnant, that was a big deal for me, and I was down on my body. I felt it couldn't perform. It wasn't doing what I wanted it to do, and I was jealous of other pregnant women. So it was great to change my mindset because I believe energy is really important in what you put out.
DT: Since you're a mom of three, for first-time mothers or mothers trying to figure it all out, do you have any parenting words of wisdom?
GB: Don't do it all by yourself. Ask for help. Get help. Whether it's so, you can take a shower while somebody's watching the kids. I feel like when we're moms, we feel like we can do it all. It's okay to ask for help and use your family or friend. That's what they're for. We don't have to do it all, all of the time, to perfection. It's not even possible.
DT: Lastly, what does 50-something-year-old Garcelle know about love that she didn't know before?
GB: Girl, I'm still trying to learn! I think what 50-year-old Garcelle knows is that you've got to love you. Relationship or no relationship, it starts with you, and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm really in a good place, and I think when you can get to a place like that, then you're open to anything, and who knows what will happen.
I am definitely much more comfortable with myself now, and I love myself. I understand when people say, 'You have to mirror what you want,' and that's what I'm trying to do while loving myself, no matter if I have a man or not.