Garcelle Beauvais’s Blog: Learning to Love Our Bodies

08/14/2013 at 02:00 PM ET

Please help us welcome back celebrity blogger Garcelle Beauvais!

Best known for her roles on The Jamie Foxx Show and NYPD Blue, the actress, 45, formerly starred on TNT’s Franklin & Bash. Her new movie, White House Down, is in theaters now.

Aside from acting, Beauvais just published her first children’s book, I Am Mixed.

Mom to three sons — Oliver, 22, and 5½-year-old twins Jax and Jaid — Beauvais supports the Step Up Women’s Network and is also active with March of Dimes, Children Uniting Nations and Yéle Haiti Foundation.

She can be found on Twitter @GarcelleB.

In her latest blog, the actress shares her thoughts (and hopes) on how women view their bodies — and says beauty isn’t just about being skinny.

Garcelle Beauvais Blog
Me and my boys with my book! – Courtesy Garcelle Beauvais

Recently, I posted a picture on Instagram of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. In it, she’s lounging back in a yellow bikini.

Ms. Monroe didn’t have steel arms or abs. Her stomach was soft. Her thighs were luscious. Her breasts responded to gravity, and she was known as one of the most beautiful women in history. The note with the picture encouraged women to celebrate this type of body and embrace their own figures.

So today I want to ask: Where did the wonderful appreciation for natural, womanly curves go? Why are we all trying to be skinny skinny skinny? I mean, really, who decided this was the only way to be beautiful or worthy? Seriously, I’d like to talk to them.

As an actress, I portray characters that are supposed to resemble real people. But I have to ask: In what version of real life is every woman a size 2?! Shouldn’t characters — like people — come in all shapes and sizes?

The pressure to look trim and taut all of the time is getting worse. Women aren’t even cut some slack for being pregnant. In a very disturbing trend, all of these body-after-baby ads heap pressure on new moms to lose the weight as quickly as possible. The messages in the media seem to tell women that they should head directly from the delivery room to the gym.

I’d like the message to become: How to get healthy after baby!

I must admit that I bought into it and succumbed to the pressure, too. Just eight weeks after giving birth to my twin sons Jax and Jaid, I was photographed in a cutout bathing suit, saying, “Look what I did!” As if losing the pregnancy weight so rapidly was just as important as the birth of my precious babies.

I’ve always loved Drew Barrymore, but I admire her even more since she’s given birth to her daughter Olive. I loved when she recently told PEOPLE, “It took nine months to build it, and it will take nine months to unbuild it.” She’s taking her time to lose the weight, and she’s not falling for the societal demands to do it quickly.

Garcelle Beauvais Blog
The lovely Marilyn – Earl Theisen/Getty

In my line of work, appearance matters. There’s no way around it. I show up for a job and immediately meet with the wardrobe person. Within two minutes of walking on set, I’m stripping down in front of her and maybe a couple of her assistants.

Actors have to try on clothes and be photographed in them so the director can see the selections. So every time I go to work, I feel utterly exposed. God forbid if I’ve gained five pounds — under the prying eyes of a film crew, it feels more like 30! Coupled with the fact that the camera adds 10 pounds, this can really make you insecure.

I read somewhere that Gwyneth Paltrow works out for two hours a day, but who wants to do that? Yes, she’s beautiful and she looks great, but personally, I’d rather spend that time with my kids, or go shopping, or eating or seeing friends. I’d pretty much rather spend two hours doing anything but grunting and sweating at the gym!

When I was growing up, I went to the movies and saw women onscreen who had curves, butts, and soft edges. Unfortunately, the term “curvy” in this business has come to denote anyone who is not bone thin and flat. I’ve even heard models who could probably wear a size zero refer to themselves as “curvy.” Yikes!

It’s funny to me when I see actresses transform from the way they look when they first started working to how they begin to look as soon as the skinny seed is planted in their heads.

Now it seems that everyone who is on TV or in magazines is toned to the max with firm arms, hard tummies and a defined six-pack. Just once, I’d like to hear one of Jennifer Aniston’s characters say she’s having a FAT day.

I grew up in a Haitian household where we ate rice and beans and plantains (fried bananas) every day. We feasted on chicken and beef cooked in rich sauces. I’ve always thought that carbs were my friends, but now of course, I know better.

I can’t help but wonder if there’s a double standard when it comes to weight? Because it seems that men such as John Goodman, Kenan Thompson and Kevin James can have great careers and still be on the heavier side. Don’t get me wrong: They’re great actors and I’m glad that they’re successful. But why can’t it be that way for women?

When you think about it, it’s ironic because when you’re working on set, there is so much delicious food around. Craft service provides tons of tempting selections for lunch, dinner and extra meals for longer shoots. Food is always available. So what are we supposed to do? Just walk past the tables or just pick out a carrot and water? I think not.

Garcelle Beauvais Blog
One of my work “glam” shots – Russell Baer

I know that I have chosen a profession where looks are extremely important. But I see this message — that being skinny is of the utmost significance — spreading well beyond the confines of Hollywood. This worries me.

For someone who always wanted to have a daughter, in a way I’m happy I don’t because the pressure starts early for little girls. Recently, a 6-year-old little girl at my sons’ school asked me if the box of raisins in her hand was fattening. That broke my heart because this cycle of weight obsession continues and affects girls who are so young.

Ladies, I think we’ve done this to ourselves. We never spoke up and said, “Enough.” Instead, we started competing with each other to see how skinny we could get.

Whenever someone loses weight we say, “Wow, you lost weight…” And even before you finish the compliment the person says, “Thank you!” We base our success on our size. When you think about it, doesn’t that seem ridiculous?

I wish we would say to each other, “Wow, you look healthy!” And not just say it when we think someone has lost weight. Why not say it when we see someone with glowing skin and a big smile?

My first step in changing my own mindset has come in the dressing room. I no longer care what size the label says in my clothes. If the jeans or dress or bathing suit that I try on fits and looks awesome, there is no number or letter on the label that will influence my decision about whether or not to buy it.

So I have an idea: Let’s start a trend and put our health above just being skinny. Let’s support each other. Let’s demand roles in film and television for women of all shapes and sizes. Let’s not talk about our obsession with dieting in front of our kids. And let’s build each other up rather than use size to compete and tear each other down. Change is possible. But it has to start with us.

Be confident girls: you are HOT, you are sexy — you are a Marilyn. So don’t let any man, media or moment of judgment ever take away your confidence!

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on spreading the word.

— Garcelle Beauvais

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Showing 59 comments

blessedwithboys on

This is hands down THE BEST blog ever posted here!

ebonyjo87 on

Soo true. Body image is tough. Got to love yourself first no matter your size.

Kait on

I think this is an ahhh mazing blog. Wonderful. But can I just point out that Marilyn Monroe was a size 6, 120 pounds, and 5’5″ with a 23″ waist? I think she was gorgeous, and by no means the skinniest thing… she certainly isn’t as voluptuous as people paint her out to be. I think the waist size is tiny and her bosom is large but otherwise she IS a realistic portrait of body image. Women pin men on having unrealistic views on what a woman should look like… I am the only person who ever thought I had to look like a Victoria’s Secret model in order to be wanted by men. That isn’t even true.. not one guy has had a problem with my weight – even more surprising, I am the only one who cares.

As for men being a little bigger, I don’t have any problem with it. I’ve had boyfriends chiseled like Ryan Gosling and some with beer guts. My concern is health. If they’re focused on exercise and eating moderately healthy, I do not care how they look. They’re healthy, even if they may not appear so to the naked eye.

I wish people were more realistic about body image and those issues, but at the same time I think the United States needs a reality check as a whole when it’s one extreme or the other in accordance to their weight.

I am so happy to read your blog and you are gorgeous inside and out. Thank you for covering such a tough subject Garcelle!

Raini on

Amen sista!

Jen S on

I have to agree that the obsession with being skinny has gone way past Hollywood. Even news media people, radio personalities, chefs, designers, authors, people behind the scenes, etc. have to look skinny in order to do their jobs. Women with arms the size of a 12 years old’s and perfectly tanned and toned legs who can fit into their teenage daughter’s jeans have become the ideal for what is beautiful. It makes me so sad to see this. It’s like if you don’t look perfect you don’t deserve to live, let alone wear a swimsuit.

sachanikoll on

I always refer to her as a Haitian Princess. She truly is one .

Anonymous on

You inspire me garcelle et je suis haitienne comme toi.

Anonymous on

loved it

Toni on

My daughter is eight years old. She is active and loves swimming and gymnastics. One little girl in her gymnastics class called her fat. She told the gym instructor and she made the little apologize and say to my child that she is beautiful they way she is. I thanked the instructor for her gentle way of handling the situation and for not allowing my child to not feel special or beautiful. I love your blog. Keep up the good work!!!

Anonymous on

Becoming skinny has become an obsession. Also people on blogs, Facebook, etc feel its their right to tell people they are fat, need to lose weight, etc. It’s a hard world kids are growing up in. I didn’t grow up in it and I will not let my kids either. I don’t let them hear those words. I also don’t let them hear the,…ugly, nasty, etc.

Anonymous on

OMG thank you for saying it, Garcelle! I too am tired of every woman trying to look athletic! I like the curves and softness better.

Jillana Esposito on

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

Anonymous on

why didn’t you say that when you were a model at size 2? did you care then? now that your larger sized, you see what many have to deal with.

Theresa Kemp Frazier on

I love what she said,it’s about being healthy!!!

etoile on

thank you garcelle! i could not have said it better. Let us enjoy our shape this is who we are.

Elena on

I loved what she said about not mentioning the need to diet in front of daughters. The thought hadn’t occurred to me but it’s definitely something I’ll remember now.

GT Binney on

Garcelle… t’aime beaucoup! I am Guyanese and totally relate to the sentiments set out in this piece. Garcelle is a 10 at any size and at any age. LOVE you girl!

Dawn on

How refreshing! Thank you for writing such true words! Just wish the industry would practice this philosophy so that women would have an easier time of learning to love their bodies. Pictures of Hollywood starlets and celebs back in bikinis two weeks after giving birth infuriate me! Not normal, not healthy and certainly not a goal for all women and little girls to strive to achieve.

Lisa on

Great blog. Totally agree on all counts. I don’t think it’s men who want women to look like boys. Women compete with each other and the “ideal” is created by advertisements designed to make women feel less than good about themselves. Let’s change the “standard”. It’s unachievable and maybe not so attractive.

Lisa on

Great book called “Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver – a favourite author. She deals with society’s attitude about food, size, body image. Love dit.

Robin P. on

It was a great article and she made a lot of good points. We need to stop going off what Hollywood is doing or what they call “normal” because it’s not. Too many new moms focus on losing the weight quickly instead of enjoying that precious time with their baby. “Babies don’t keep” so as new moms, and moms with kids of all ages, we new need to soak up and enjoy the time we get our children because before long they will grown.

My only issue is that she looks like the Hollywood norm. She doesn’t look like she is carrying any extra weight. Kudos to her for saying she doesn’t care about what her number but what if she gets turned down for roles then what? I bet she drops that weight as quick as she can. I have problems with actresses that speak out about loving your body no matter what weight, just as long as you are healthy but when you look at them they are small, skinny and aren’t carrying any extra weight.

I still haven’t lost all my baby weight (and stop smoking weight) and my baby will be 2 soon. Between having almost 2 year old and 2 other children, one of whom has medical problems requiring lots of doctors appts, I don’t have much time to myself to work out. And I’m sorry to say hearing this from someone who doesn’t look like she has weight issues, it doesn’t make me feel better about my weight. By just looking at her I feel worse about myself. Let the mean comments begin!

guest on

You are a very wise woman and beautiful! Inside and out.

Society objectifies women and classifies them as possessions worthy of love and admiration only if we appear to be a certain way.or reach certain goals ..I kn ow ive done what I can..I’ve taught my sons to respect women as people. human beings just as worthy as themselves.. to show respect. and last but not least, not to be shallow human beings..Mothers can do lots to help this objective along, but its kind of hard when the mother cant see past her own insecurity, because she lives with a man who doesn’t show her very much respect and then some.. All in all its a multi faceted problem..wont be much improvement overnight..children learn what they live. they really do.

BBB on

People really like to cite Marylin as an example of a better time but it’s not entirely true. Women in that era certainly watched their weight! They made sure not to eat in excess and the pressure to have a small waist was there. The only difference is that going to the gym wasn’t popular in that time–for men or women. So they didn’t focus on rock hard abs, but they did focus on lean bodies and the “curves” just came from not excessively toning through exercise, not because they carried extra weight. Go to any fashion museum and you’ll see that the clothes from that era and many before it are TINY.

Dawnn on

Great blog…Hopefully we are all growing and learning when enough is enough. Healthy should be the focus…lets create a revolution. That’s what I like about my Zumba instructors…they encourage you the dance, move, have fun and not obsess about the image…

geetz on

I thought the older son is her boyfriend. she looks amazing.

Holly on

Love it! Great message.

desireejwriter on

I love this post!!!! It’s amazing and truly reflects one of the growing demand and pressures we as young women feel in society. For awhile I thought the idea of being skinny was a way to go, but it wasn’t until the past 2 years I told myself I want to be healthy, not skinny. I want my curves, my breasts, hips and all the things that make me a woman.

Mandy on

I loved every word that was said! My body didn’t go back to the way it was aonce I stopped nursing my child. I lost all my baby weight after I had her, but once I stopped nursing her, I gained as I was used to being able to eat more. I am still in a healthy BMI range, so I try not to let it get to me. I am not going to spend 2 hours a day working out either. I already work 8 to 9 hours a day. I don’t want to be away from my baby any longer than that.

Deb on

I agree with Kait. Garcelle, and this isn’t her intent, kind of makes it sound like if a toned woman “let herself go” she’d look kind of like Marilyn. Marilyn was one of a kind with a perfect hourglass figure. Not every woman has an hourglass figure or Marilyn’s beautiful face. She was also a fabulous musical comedy star and could do a great job on any drama. Marilyn looked beautiful and people still can’t take their eyes off her.

L on

Being a young actress myself, I understand going into wardrobe, being stared at, and feeling like a cow. I’ve been turned down for roles because I’m 5’6″ and a size 4, which is “too curvy”. Seriously. It’s made me do stupid things like starve myself.

Thank you, Garcelle, for posting this. When can this change start? When can we start appreciating women and their real sizes? Can this revolution begin?

fanofboardwalkempire on

just a great blog- thank you for posting. So well written and expressed- just loved it!

Gayle on

Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 ladies!!! Not a damn thing wrong with that! This has got to be the BEST blog I’ve read in ages. All these anorexic Hollywood actresses need to read this blog. You go girl, made my day!!!

Kenji on

Totally agree Garcelle. I think the impossible to obtain body image of a female and ideals of beauty that are propagated by mass media is insane. Not only does it put so many pressures on women, there are so many other collateral damages and implications that it causes in such an insidious way.

Look at art of a century ago and the women that were painted back then, and compare them to the women that you see in ads, movies, etc. Unfortunately women have been beaten with this message of beauty for so long now, that they are putting so much pressure on themselves. Men like me don’t like skinny and waifish bodies. Real women have curves. We appreciate the beauty of all shapes and sizes.

But even though I tell my girlfriend that she is perfect and I mean it with every fiber of my being, she still wants to be thinner.

This archetype of feminine beauty must stop. It is insidious and harmful in so many ways. Women are guilted into depriving themselves, killing themselves for vanity, and their self-esteem is being tugged at. Why are we so superficial and vain? I see girls damn near a nervous breakdown from a zit or for eating a skittle. Ever seen someone with bad burns on their face out in public? That is real strength and that is real beauty. I admire someone that accepts what they have, and goes out with their head up high in public.

I’m all for self-improvement, and who doesn’t want to dress nicely and get “prettied” up. But it’s a fine line. WOmen come in all shapes and sizes, and Kate Moss’s body is not the ideal body type for women. If women stopped the incessant brainwashing buzz on feminine beauty by mass media, and listen to what their man liked, they’d realize that most of the effort and money going in to keep up with the Jones’s is all for not. And ladies, stop competing with yourselves. Be happy with what you’ve got and stop comparing yourself to others.

Sorry, my comment is a little ADHD but I could go on and on about this topic, and I’m a man! I am just passionate about this subject. It is insane what woman go through.

Angela on

from a woman that has struggled for years with eating disorder and body image problem, I can tell you that it is not men that promote this. Most real men, especially the man that I am lucky enough to have love me, is happier with me being healthy and some softer curves than me unhappy and miserable that I have to work out non stop and eat next to nothing to fit in a size 2 and still look in the mirror and see a 12. There comes a point where you have to learn to be happy, enjoy the food, family, friends and everything else around you. Dress to fit you body and not base your happiness on you can put a size 2 on your body but as soon as you eat the smallest of anything feel guilty.

NatAnt on

As a Haitian-American woman, I truly agree with Garcelle. My mother cooked from scratch 5-6 days a week and Haitians love our carbs!

While I could lose a few pounds for my overall health, I am truly loving and embracing the hips, butt and thighs I was blessed to be born with. Beauty is not just a size 2, but rather how you carry yourself and work it day in and day out.

Nad on

This isn’t going to happen until the women in Hollywood wake up.

Ricki on

Thank you Garcelle! It seems that it is impossible to be a size 0 or 2. Women need to empower themselves and realize they have more to offer, then T and A. Sadly, it seems like it is getting worse, not better. You really touched on what I’ve been thinking for years. It’s important to take care of yourself, but this male dominant culture of how a woman is supposed to look, has got to ease up! Great article!

Neenah on

I find this completely disingenuous although I’d imagine this actress didn’t intend it this way. But she hows a picture of a slender Marilyn Monroe and say we’re all Marilyns? In that photograph, Marilyn Monroe is about 50 pounds lighter than the average American woman — who still would be considered at a healthy weight by the doctors chart. What’s wrong with a picture of a size 12 or 14 woman in regular clothes, not with her body hanging out? Or women ranging in sizes from 0 to 16/18? Those sizes can all be healthy depending on the frame of the woman. Garcelle, what are you talking about? You’re probably the size of Marilyn Monroe now so this blog is all about women your size vs. the size 2 woman.

Brooke on

I am so happy you wrote this article. Thank you. The key is why is it OK for men to gain weight and grown old but for women is not OK? I am so tired of mainstream actresses not aging and looking the way they should according to there age…this confuses the women of the world how we should look at certain ages. Own who you are, what size you are and it IS about being healthy, living a long life. Not filling your forehead with poison – AKA Botox and fillers – to try to look 20 years younger.

Marilyn was a REAL woman. Back in the 1950’s she may have been called a size 12 – but that size today is considered a size 4 for her height of 5’6. I know because I was a size 4/5 in high school 20 years ago – and those same jeans today are the measurements of a size 0/2 for today. Today I am size 6 at 5’6 and feel like I am not thin enough living in LA as an actor. I have curves, boobs (real), hips, muscular legs. I have a real woman’s body. I am not perfect. I have stretch marks and a muffin top. I do workout everyday doing the Tracy Anderson Method and I feel STRONG and healthy because of it.

Sizes have changed so many times over the years it plays mind games with women and puts tremendous pressure on them. People forget height with woman is a factor in there sizes too. I saw Kim K when she was 6 months pregnant and she looked AMAZING – they were ruthless to her in the tabloids. Seriously pregnant woman are off limits. Period. I will say I do think the thin, skinny, tall and beautiful models and actresses probably do not know – nor will they ever know what it feels to hounded about their weight.

I hope people think about this article and pay it forward. I hope we can all embrace who we all are and let our inner selves & happiness shine through – that is true beauty. No matter what your jean size is.

Cmorales on


mks on

You rock, Garcelle! What great insight. A healthy, kind, confident woman is sexy. That should be the focus.

dsfg on

Kait, if you look at Marilyn in her later career, like in the Misfits, she was a lot bigger than in this picture. During her earlier career, she was very thin. While she was never fat, she didn’t look like she spent a ton of time in the gym and she certainly didn’t look like actresses today look. Looking at the picture above, though, I’m sure that more guys would be attracted to someone with a body like that than most of the skinny actresses of today. I think the film industry prefers skinny skinny women, but I don’t think most men in real life find that attractive.

dsfg on

“I’ve even heard models who could probably wear a size zero refer to themselves as “curvy.” Yikes!”

Curvy means you have hips, a butt, and a chest, It has nothing to do with your pant size or whether you are fat or skinny. So yes, there are curvy people who wear a size zero, just like there are plenty of non-curvy people who wear a size 20. Since when did the definition of curvy change to mean fat? It’s definitely one of the most misused words right now, and it’s so annoying.

dsfg on

“Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 ladies”

Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 in the 60s, which is the equivalent of a size 8 in today’s world. It’s called vanity sizing. Not that it matters. One person can be skinny at a size 14 while another can be fat at a size 2–clothing size is based on body frame size and weight; it is not based just on how fat or skinny you are.

Who cares what size Marilyn Monroe was? The right size for her isn’t going to be the right size for everyone.

Sherley on

I don’t want to be a size zero I just want to be healthy, happy and content.

Momof5 on

This is an amazing blog. Extremely realistic and true.

Serena on

I’m haitian means I understand her point. But Garcelle was successful cause she was tall, skinny not cause she was curvy or voluptuous. Don’t make it wrong her career now is over and posted that 20 years ago.


I love this article. Helped me become more confident. Thank you. 🙂

Avis on

Thanks…I’m sharing this with my 18 years young niece. A freshman in college who is beautiful and a curvy girl. She needs your Words of Wisdom.

Annie on

Thanks for the thought provoking blog post!!

My thoughts are this ~

We are ‘society’ ladies. We have the power to change things. Start loving yourself & everyone around you & things will begin to change.


Bill on

She was not a size 6 – she was a 12 my dear.

Anonymous on

AMEN!! GB!! I agree with you 100% great blog! I have been saying the exact same thing to my friends for years now! Its fine if someone is naturally skinny, its fine if someone is curvy, we are ALL beautiful in all our different shapes and sizes!! Women need to definitely stop obsessing with wanting to be skinny! Its about being HEALTHY!

Love you mamas, keep being amazing! P.S I know how it feels to have twins, I have b/g 2 year old twins, a 14 year old, and a 6month old and just found out God is giving us another, full house, but we are soo Blessed!

So I know Super Moms when I see them! xoxox!

Anonymous on

wow, amazing blog

Dee C on

Garcelle, you sure have come a long way since your painful divorce. You don’t even mention your ex-husband anymore, you’ve shown you’ve got class. I know exactly where all this “thinness” came into play – in the 60s and the Twiggy look – it changed the whole perception of being skinny. I know you’ve chosen to be in a professional where looks are extremely important 24/7; however, as time has went by – Hollywood is like a Human Amusement Park – everyone is plastic looking and not real. If everyone in Hollywood that has plastic surgery, hair extensions, etc., and they went on vacation – there wouldn’t be anyone left in town.

Finally, the woman who plays Joan Harris on Mad Men has finally brought the voluptous look back into the stereotype of being skinny.

amy on

we haven’t done this to ourselves…the media has fed us so much stuff over the years that it’s hard not to get brainwashed about what we’re supposed to look like and be like. If you haven’t done so already, check out the organization ‘campaign for a commercial free childhood’ it’s really great and allows you to see what we’re up against. at least there are organizations like this fighting the system!

Amber on

Wow…… such a refreshing change from the usual… Love u ladyyy… u speak our mind.. hats Off!!!

Chi on

I needed to hear this…I had my daughter 13 months ago and am overweight. I’m 5′ and 130 lbs, and struggling to lose 15 lbs. Dieting, trying to exercise, work full time and be supermom…I keep beating myself up because I have this belly and it is ridiculous. That belly nurtured 2 babies that are healthy and happy. I have to be kinder to myself…

africa on

Thank you! s much for this post so many need to hear this message! we need to see more full figured women in the media! and I do agree we need to stop being so obsessed with talking about this in front of young girls! on

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