Garcelle Beauvais has been holding our attention for decades, first as compelling characters in shows and films then as herself on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The 55 year-old star continues to be a fan favorite as one of the seemingly most authentic, easy-going of the group and one you’d have an easy time holding a conversation with. I was lucky enough to chat with her and ask some of my burning questions about all things Real Housewives, beauty and her recent book release Love Me As I Am.
What are you hoping to say in your new book that you feel hasn’t been expressed in the show?
“I think for me, it’s really [about] telling my story in detail and diving deep and letting people get to know me a little more. Also, I hope it inspires people. I’m living the American dream, although I didn’t know I wanted the American dream, you know, being from Haiti.
There are different inspiring stories, but I think the through-line is trusting your instincts and also pushing through regardless. In my late 40s, I got divorced, and you know, it happens. I think if anything, hopefully I can inspire a woman to say, ‘That’s not the end of the chapter,’ like there’s more. I feel like I’ve been able to thrive and do more despite that setback, which was a huge setback in my life.”
Were you a Real Housewives fan before joining the franchise yourself?
“Yes, Beverly Hills and Atlanta were the ones that I watched the most.”
If you could bring one of your famous friends on to join the show—who would it be?
“I’d like to see Kelly Ripa. She would be so good. She would tell it like it is. She would take no bull.”
Which fellow Real Housewife have you found to be the most supportive on your journey?
“I would say Heather Dubrow. Definitely Heather. She’s great. We were friends prior to me joining, and we’re still friends now. We were just on Watch What Happens Live together. She’s been great. I can reach out to her and ask her anything.”
What have you learned about yourself while filming the show that surprised you?
“That I’m not always as tough as I think I am because they can really get to me. It’s harder than it seems, and I know when people are at home watching, they’re like, ‘This is how I’d handle this,’ but when you’re in the moment, you’re in the moment. It’s been an interesting ride, but I feel like, for me, forming some of the friendships [has been challenging] because it’s tough to be friends with someone that you don’t trust completely. I think that’s what I have a hard time with.”
How do you feel when you’re watching it all back? Do you get emotional all over again?
“Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s funny. Some things that hurt you then can re-hurt you again.”
Let’s talk a bit about Real Housewives glam. What is prepping for filming like? Who has the biggest glam team?
“Listen, although the show is about drama, beauty and glamour and fashion rank even higher than that. I don’t think we get enough credit for the work that we put in to make it as glamorous as we do. Prepping involves lots of water, working out, hiring the best teams.
I have to say prior to the incident with Dorit [Kemsley], Dorit always takes it to a higher level. She gets a videographer or photographer, and I have my assistant or my kids take a photo. Some go overboard, and some meet the criteria, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Are there any Haitian beauty practices that have been passed down within your family that you still practice?
“My mom was a big fan of castor oil for anything and everything. It’s almost like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the father always had Windex. My mother, that was castor oil for her, so she would put it in our scalp and our hair for hair treatment, she would put it on our skin if we had a rash.
I do a little bit of that, but I tend to do it minimally only because I have eczema, so I’m not huge on trying a bunch of products. I try to stay true to everything that I use that works because I’m always nervous of an outbreak. So moisturizing is definitely a huge part of my beauty routine. And also exfoliating at least twice a week.”
Are there any products that you’ve found work for your eczema?
“I try to use like Cetaphil. There’s a cream that I love, it’s called First Aid. That seems to work really, really well, and I love that product. I definitely see improvements when I use it.”
What makeup makes you feel your best and most confident?
“I think it’s a really great foundation that gives you enough coverage for blemishes or marks but [it’s] not too heavy where you feel like you’re wearing a mask. For the longest time, I loved Bobbi Brown, and I still do, but then I found this company called Becca, which, unfortunately, I just found out that they’re going out of business, and I’m like, how much can you store? But I just love a great moisturizing foundation that’s not too heavy that you can use it in the winter and you can also use it in the summer. So, now I’m on a hunt for a new one. I may go back to Bobbi Brown.”
Are there any in-office treatments or procedures you’ve been loving lately?
“I definitely do the microdermabrasion. I try to do it twice a year to get a deep exfoliation. Just making sure that the skin is clear and smooth because, I think the smoother your skin is, the better everything lays.”
You were very popular in the ‘90s. Do you have any past beauty regrets or ’90s trends you hope don’t come back?
“In the ’90s, I had blue eyeshadow. But I love that, so now instead of doing a blue eyeshadow I’ll do a blue liner. You don’t have to have all-over blue where it looks a little, you know, ‘70s, but eyeliner I love doing. I do blue or I do green depending on what I’m wearing, and that gives you a great little pop without being too much.”
Are there any beauty hacks you’ve picked up recently that we should know about?
“You know what I did, I bought one of those little portable fridges from Amazon, like a little mini-fridge, and I have that in my bathroom, and I put my creams and under-eye patches in there and then when it’s time to use them they’re nice and cool and refreshing. It just feels great. It wakes up your skin. It takes away inflammation just because it’s cool and calming. I think they’re like maybe $40 on Amazon, and they come in different colors.”