Joyce Giraud Interview with Fine Magazine
One-on-one with the TV star on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Joyce Giraud. Crush at first sight. She was taller than I thought she would be as she walked up the studio stairs with her husband and young son. Dressed in all black, draped flowing fabrics surrounding her, she might have been tall but she was every bit as graceful as one might expect from a pageant queen. Joyce Giraud is beautiful as she explains to me that she almost canceled the photo shoot because she wasn’t feeling well. But Joyce is a professional, so, into hair and make-up she went.
As she kissed her son and husband adios, her Latin accent seemed tinged with sadness—she would not be joining them on their play date in San Diego as she would have to sit around all day and be fabulous for photographer Marissa Boucher. Don’t get it twisted, it’s hard work to be beautiful, a truth Joyce knows all too well. Irony has a funny way of expressing itself in adulthood.
While most people may recognize Joyce’s big smile and even bigger hair from Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” television franchise, Joyce has enjoyed a busy career of modeling, acting and collaborating in several humanitarian projects. Somewhere in between traveling the world, being drop-dead gorgeous and working her butt off, she also managed to find true love—a story she affectionately recounts as though she has told it many times. Recently, she and her husband, German film producer Michael Ohoven, produced “Siberia,” a reality hybrid that debuted on NBC late in 2013. Joyce starred in Siberia as Carolina, a contestant on a reality TV show filmed in the Siberian wilderness.
“I love working with my husband,” she said. “We love being together.” This was very clear when they were saying goodbye to each other earlier that day.
“My husband is the only blind date I have ever been on,” she said. “We’ve been married for 6 years now and together for 10. I can’t imagine my life without him.”
She posed in the studio for her cover close-up. She moved like a model—knew how to smile with her eyes and place product in favorable positions. Sometimes it didn’t look comfortable, but she knew what she was doing.
“I was discovered at a KFC window,” she joked. “No, seriously, I was working and this guy just rolls up to the window and tells me, ‘I have the look.’”
“So how does a girl with low self-esteem learn to shine in front of a camera, on a stage for that matter?” I asked her.
She laughed and kept on posing until she had found her rhythm with Marissa, who was clicking away on her camera trying to catch every moment.
Joyce’s phone rang and she answered. We were walking though the studio and she was rolling Rs in every which way, laughing on the phone with someone she clearly enjoyed. When Joyce speaks in Spanish it’s inherently sexy. Although for all I knew, she could have been talking about children’s cold medicine—it sounded pretty seductive.
Representing her people as Miss Puerto Rico was one the highest honors she recalls receiving. “Until Miss Puerto Rico, I didn’t have a very strong voice,” she said. “The crown gives you an amazing voice to involve yourself with philanthropy—you can really make a difference,” she concluded.
Charity comes easy to this beauty queen. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work as well as in special education. Today, her primary charity focus in Los Angeles is UNESCO Programme for the Education of Children in Need.
“People are always complaining about the United States’ education system when there are places all over the world where ‘the system’ is trying to read a book under a tree,” she explained.
She is also very active in anti-bullying campaigns, in particular, Friend Movement here in the United States and Ponte Pa Lo Positivo, in Puerto Rico.
“Before I became a mother,” she said, her eyes glowing, “I did a lot of charity, but now that I’m a mom, it’s completely different. I understand things—I have more empathy.”
The experience of bearing her two boys is her happiest moment, made evident by the smile she wears as she says their names, Valentino and Leonardo. She is a mom first and foremost these days, despite the perception that she is the latest reality flavor on the Beverly Hills circuit.
Instead, she’s busy building up girls’ self-esteem with her Queen-of-the-Universe pageant, scheduled to celebrate its second year in Beverly Hills on March 16 at the Saban Theatre.
“God gave me two boys and I get all the girls I could ever want with my pageant,” she said, posing between explanations. “This pageant is totally different; we celebrate all shapes and sizes and backgrounds.”
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Typically, pageants require contestants to be unmarried, without children, heterosexual and not divorced. Joyce is opening the runway to women who would otherwise not have the opportunity to showcase their talents onstage for an audience filled with people who are influential in the industry.
“Many of my girls get discovered through this pageant,” she explained. “I’m just happy I can be here to help coach them and mentor these girls so they can make a difference in the world.”
It’s refreshing to work with women like Joyce. Yeah, she’s beautiful, but she’s got the guts to back it up with a smile 10 miles long that projects ferocity without intimidation. Delicate and poised, she leaves an impression like a crisp spring evening. The ease of her conversation was matched only by her eye for style. She played in the studio closet like a 16-year-old getting ready for prom.
“I’m obsessed with Cavalli,” she said. “The long dresses are so chic. And I wear Sherri Hill all the time.”
True to her word, she was seen several times this year in Hill’s sparkling designs throughout the filming of “The Real Housewives.” She also noted other fashion favorites, Walter Collection and David Antonio.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love expensive and beautiful pieces,” she explained, adjusting her necklace. “But I also love exploring vintage shops and small boutiques. It’s like a treasure hunt and you never know what you’re going to find. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look and feel stylish.”
In so many ways, Joyce is not at all what you might expect. What you think you know is a small slice of reality compared to the dynamic life she lives each and every day.
Her joy and passion for life are what moves her through each day as she shares it with her loving family and friends.
“I’ve stopped trying to plan so much,” she said. “I live each day to the max and everything just seems to fall into place.”
And by all accounts, it seems to be working for her.
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