With her two children, Jax and Jaid, in tow and the best view in New York city as our backdrop, I chatted with Garcelle Beauvais for all of ten minutes. And even in that short amount of time, I was flattered, inspired, and a bit starstruck.
To me, she’ll always be ‘Fancy’ from the WB hit sitcom “The Jamie Foxx Show.” But she’s taken her talents to the big screen now, starring in “White House Down”, rekindling her on-screen romance with Jamie Foxx. But what’s more impressive is that Garcelle found her calling in writing awe-inspiring children’s books that focus on sensitive topics, like divorce and skin tone.
So why children’s books? Well, I asked Garcelle where her inspiration spawned from, what she hoped to teach children through her writing, and I even asked her who she’d like to see Jamie dating. Check it out.
HelloBeautiful: Your book series is like… wickedly inspiring! Congratulations. Why did you decide to lead with heavy topics like race and divorce?
Garcelle Beauvais: I couldn’t find any books that had pictures of characters that looked like my kids. Pictures that they could identify with. We’d go to the bookstore, we’d go to the library–and there was nothing. So, I felt like, “okay, maybe I should create something.” So then it became kind of out of a need for us. It became a bigger issue in terms of just opening up these topics to parents and having kids celebrate what they are mixed of. You know, we are all mixed with something, so it was just starting a conversation, really.
HB: What’s the most important lesson that you would hope to teach your children through your books?
GB: It would be not only for self-esteem, and being proud of what you are, what makes you, but also having compassion for other people. I think this day in age, the fact that were in the 21st century, and there’s still ignorance, is just outrageous to me. So really compassion, and being proud of who you are.
HB: Having two children who are of mixed ethnicity, what do you think is the toughest part for them?
GB: Right now, since they’re only five, they aren’t really exposed to negativity. But I’m sure, somewhere along the line, it will happen. I just want to sort of instill the words and the confidence so that they can battle that when the time comes.
HB: How do you hope parents will react to the books when reading?
GB: I hope they’ll read it whether they’re Black, White, Chinese, Irish, Asian, whatever! I just think it’s really about showing we are all made of something and we need to support one another, and, you know, be proud!
HB: Now, you’re back on the screen again in “White House Down” working with your on-screen boo from way back when… How was it teaming up with Jamie Foxx again?
GB: It was like time hadn’t passed. It was really fantastic! He’s awesome. I am so in love with that man. We just had a good time; it was like time stood still. It’s like we had been back. He was cracking jokes, we were laughing, you know, just being silly. It was great. And Channing Tatum, come on now, I would have done it for free.
HB: Now, if you could play matchmaker for Jamie Foxx, since he’s a single bachelor, which celebrity would you have him dating? Or would you keep him for yourself?
GB: No, no, we’re brother and sister. I’d have to think about that. Well, Halle is taken now! But I know they’re fond of each other. Maybe Oprah, if Stedman wasn’t in the picture! Her and Jamie have amazing chemistry!
HB: Now, light skin vs. dark skin. What’s the big deal? Why do you think we put so much pressure on being one or the other?
GB: You know, I think, it culturally started out that way. I mean, even my grandmother, back in the day, you could tell the difference if someone was lighter they would sort of treated you better. I think it’s just silly.
HB: Do you find that being a fair skinned actress in Hollywood may have gotten a little further than a darker skinned actress? Do you think that had any impact on your success?
GB: I think probably in the beginning, yes. But I think now, you know, we have beautiful chocolate, brown women that are getting big roles. So, I think it’s changed. Thank God.
HB: Now, back to being a mommy. What would you say is your biggest mommy secret? How do you deal with these two young five-year olds?
GB: Alcohol… just kidding! Patience. It really takes a lot of patience, and like, sort of picking your battles, you know? And just picking out what are you going to worry about? Manners are really important to me. You know, addressing people and looking them in the eye. I’m raising them, and I want them to be able to listen to me, and it’s important just have manners.
HB: So, what is next for you?
GB: What is next for me?! Another book coming out, similar to divorce issues. And producing movies. I have another film that I wrapped called, “And Then There Was You,” that I starred in with Leon, Brian White and Lynn Whitfield.