The art of attraction isn't just about colour or creed, it's about chemistry and a whole bunch of other things. Swirling author Christelyn Karazon discusses.
Christelyn's Exclusive with Sexy Swirling Mom, Garcelle Beauvais!
I got a chance to have a chat with one of the most beautiful black actresses in Hollywood–Garcelle Beauvais. We got to talking about her new book to help biracial children embrace their identities, aptly called, “I Am Mixed.” Beauvais is a divorced mother raising three children, two of which are a product of her marriage to Michael Nilon, who is Irish. The book follows siblings Jay and Nia as they explore their thoughts about their mixed heritage. Beauvais says the characters were inspired by her own experience discussing her own kids’ origins...
”I didn’t want them to be asked why is your mommy brown and daddy white and not have them understand it themselves,” she said in an interview with Lifetime’s celebrity parents blog. “I wanted them to know that they’re the best parts of us put together. What I wanted most of all is for them to be proud of who they are and celebrate themselves.”
Garcelle admits that she felt pressure from some in the black community when she first married her ex, but she shrugged it off. “I just want to be with a man that loves and respects me and loves and respects my children."
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Garcelle: You know, people want to say, they feel like they have to stay the same so it's great that you guys are embracing how the world is.
Christelyn: Absolutely. Now you are just … you are an idol for a lot of our readers because not only are you gorgeous and you had such a spanning acting career, but you are also a successful mom of three. You've got this great new series of books that is coming out to celebrate diversity and the first one is called I Am Mixed. Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to do this?
Garcelle: Yeah. I decided to do it because me and my boys are often at book stores or libraries and I felt like there wasn't anything that spoke about being diverse and celebrating it in a fun kid way. When I realized that and people would come up to me and say, “Hey, do you know of a book? I know you have mixed kids.” and I was like, “No, I don't.”
It planted the seed and then I met my writing partner and we decided to collaborate and put this together. It's really funny how sometimes when something is organic how it can affect other people when you didn't even think about that. Do you know what I mean?
Christelyn: Yes. Absolutely.
Garcelle: It was really out of the need to teach my kids that they need to be proud of what they are and the best of myself and their dad is what they have and to love that and be proud of it. It's amazing that it's resonated with so many people.
Christelyn: You are Haitian born and you are obviously American so what all is the composition of your kids?
Garcelle: My kids are half Haitian and half Irish.
Christelyn: Ah, very cool. What efforts do you and your ex-husband do to try to celebrate that diversity and teach it to your kids?
Garcelle: You know, for me one of them is for them to really know their heritage. Do you know what I mean? Know where mommy is from and if you ask them they will say Haiti. They know a little bit more. They know more about their dad. I think it's really important for kids to know that. Do you know what I mean? Really know where you are from.
For us, when they’re with me, we obviously talk about black history, we talk about all the things that are important growing up that you should know history-wise even though they are so little. With their dad, I'm sure he does the same thing too. When they are with me I'm playing all kinds of music and just try to give them a full experience.
Christelyn: This is the first book out of … is there going to be three total?
Garcelle: There is going to be three. We may expand. We'll see how we're going but right now, yeah. Right now we have three planned.
Christelyn: That's so exciting. I'm a mom of four and three.
Christelyn: Three of my kids are biracial.
Christelyn: This is really exciting for me because it's something that I can go out and show my kids. Here, this is what the world is turning into. You are part of this next fast growing demographic. You've got the fastest growing demographic of people claiming mixed race. It's nice that they are seeing kids like them. Do you find that as a mom you want to make sure that they are around kids that kind of look like them so they don't feel like they are the only?
Garcelle: Yeah, I mean, I want them to be around all kinds of people but definitely kids that they can identify with. When they were in preschool, I would go and look around the playground. I'm like, “Wait a minute, there is more black kids because everyone seems mixed.”
Christelyn: I know and it is starting to go that way and it is refreshing.
Garcelle: It is refreshing. You know what? Even if you are black, we're all mixed with something. Do you know what I mean? It's really about celebrating that and not feeling that you have to pick one side or another. Do you know what I mean? You don't have to feel the pressure to feel like I need to say what I am.
Christelyn: Absolutely. Tell me, do you find that because this website is primarily African American women, a lot of them have never dated interracially. Do you find that there is more pressure for black women to date interracially or be in interracial relationships? Have you as a black woman experienced that at all?
Garcelle: No. I don't think there is … I mean, the pressure is what you put on yourself. I don't feel there is a pressure that you need to be in interracial … I think these days if you find somebody that loves you and loves you back, who cares what color he is. Do you know what I mean?
Garcelle: We've gotten so far from just being so accepting and loving one another that I think we really need to sort of embrace how it comes to you. So many times we have set standards, which are great, but sometimes you have to be open to different packages too.
Christelyn: Yeah. Absolutely.
Garcelle: You know what I mean? Your goal can come in any packages so the things that are most important to you hopefully you find in whomever it is and whatever package, whether they are white, whether they already have children. I think we have to be open to all races.
Christelyn: Absolutely. I agree. Obviously.
Garcelle: Sometimes you'll get people who look at you funny because they see you with somebody outside of your race but I think that's really ignorance and not being open, not growing as a person.
Christelyn: Have you found that as an actress that people put that pressure upon you like saying, “Garcelle, why aren't you with the brothers?” Do you ever?
Garcelle: Yeah. I did actually feel that when I first got married to Mike. I definitely saw that people would question my choice and what I had to do was just go this is who I chose and yes, would I love to be. I just want to be with a man that respects me and loves me and loves and respects and loves my children.
Garcelle: At the time, I had Oliver when I met Mike so it's really about finding a person that you jell with.
Christelyn: Yeah. I agree. Just to switch gears for a minute, I see I'm looking on your huge list of resume of things that you've been involved with and I see that you've just done a couple of projects, movie projects. What's next for you in terms of your acting?
Garcelle: In terms of my acting, I just finished a film that I think they are trying to release around Christmastime. I'm slated to start one with Meagan Goode and Atari [inaudible 00:07:08] starting in a couple of weeks.
Garcelle: Yeah so that should be … and that's about … it's kind of coming of age for three women in unique ways. I play Atari's mom and my character is an alcoholic and chooses to be in abusive relationships. It's sort of like how they all evolved in their lives. It's really an interesting script and I'm looking forward to it. I've never played a character that's an alcoholic.
Christelyn: I know, I mean you've played these glamorous, gorgeous characters so this will be a challenge, right?
Garcelle: It will definitely be a challenge, yeah.
Christelyn: What do you think about … you've got this huge success of Scandal and you've got Meagan Goode also on television. Do you think that black actresses are starting to come into their own or are you still seeing those same challenges?
Garcelle: No, I think definitely we're coming into our own but I also see that the industry is seeing our value. I think people want to see us on these shows and there is an audience for us and why not explore that. You know, I think they are starting to see the value. Look how successful Scandal is and thank God it is because that will open doors for all of us.
Christelyn: Yeah. Absolutely.
Garcelle: [inaudible 00:08:29] the lead.
Garcelle: It's about time.
Christelyn: Part of our frustration is seeing portrayals of black women in one of three ways. Either the mammy, the jezebel, or the sapphire. I'm glad to see that we're moving out of those stereotypes and that Hollywood is starting to let black women be layered and have different …
Garcelle: Me too. I'm thrilled about it. I'm thrilled and I hope it keeps going and the fact that Scandal can do so well will help them green light other projects like that.
Christelyn: Do you have any interest in television at all again or are you going to stay on the silver screen?
Garcelle: No. I love TV because TV for me I get to get a set schedule. I know when I'm working ahead of time so I can plan. Being a mom is the most important thing for me but I also have to support my family.
Being on TV, you get to have a schedule where I know if I can make this event or if I can be there. Like today, I had parent orientation. Those things are important to me. Movies, you are gone for a few weeks or months at times so for me TV I love. If the right project comes along, I'm thrilled.
Christelyn: Well, we're going to be a rallying for that and when you do, we will be behind you 1000%.
Garcelle: You're the best. Thank you so much and thank you for what you do, really, seriously. I mean, I think it's wonderful that you can have a website like yours and that's exploring and growing with the time.
Christelyn: Absolutely. Now I just have two questions for you because the women ask me. They are like, “How do you stay so gorgeous?”
Garcelle: Oh gosh!
Christelyn: What do you do?
Garcelle: The genes that I was born into and the other one is, I'm just really lucky. I do take care of myself but I'm not rigid about it. I really need to work out. I haven't worked out in … I hurt my ankle so I haven't worked out in a couple of weeks and that's … it's hard when you don't because it's like, “Oh God, I see things slipping.”
Christelyn: Things going south. Do you have a beauty routine? How do you keep your skin so gorgeous?
Garcelle: You know, I have eczema so I really have to stay on my skin. I exfoliate a couple of times a week. I use really rich moisturizers and the rest is really what I was given. Do you know what I mean? That's really how I lucked into most of it. I definitely take care of my face and my skin. That's important to me.
Christelyn: Well, thank you so much. Where can people get the books? Are they are Barnes and Noble, Amazon, wherever books are sold?
Garcelle: At Barnes and Noble, Amazon. Those are the perfect places to get them.
Christelyn: Well thank you so much. This has been such an awesome honor that you took some time out to talk to us and we are going to send a bunch of people to buy the books today.
Garcelle: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Christelyn: We totally support you.
Garcelle: I appreciate that so much.
Christelyn: All right, well you have a good rest of your day.
Garcelle: You too. Bye.
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