The Stunning Transformation Of Garcelle Beauvais From 18 To 55

You might be familiar with Garcelle Beauvais from her role on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," as the only cast member to defend Denise Richards amidst her infamous Brandi Glanville scandal. Or, perhaps, you watch her give her opinions on pop culture every day on "The Real." Maybe you've been a fan of her career since her days on "The Jamie Foxx Show." However you know Beauvais, you probably love her, and have been a fan since you learned who she is.

Haitian-born actor and model Beauvais has been working since she was a teenager. After moving to the United States as a child, Beauvais took it upon herself to find a career as a model, and has been working steadily ever since.

Now a multi-hyphenate, Beauvais was just a teenager when her modeling career began. Decades later, she's just as beautiful and beloved, and she's still appearing on magazine covers, of course. From her first magazine shoot for Essence at age 22, to a 2020 Vogue spread in her 50s, here's the stunning transformation of Garcelle Beauvais.

Inside Garcelle Beauvais' career beginnings

Garcelle Beauvais was meant for stardom. After moving to Miami as a teenager, and hearing encouragement from others that she should pursue a modeling career, Beauvais drove to Fort Lauderdale to meet with an agency, despite having no appointment. In a stroke of luck, Beauvais, while stopped at a red light, was approached by a representative of the agency she was on her way to see.

"It was sort of kismet," Beauvais told Tokyo Journal. "I modeled with them for about a year in Miami and then I moved to New York where I lived with Eileen Ford and started my modeling career." Beauvais moved to New York with next to nothing, recalling to The Cut's "In Her Shoes" podcast, "All I needed was a toothbrush."

Beauvais kept modeling in earnest, and in true '80s rising star fashion, the talent spent some time on "Star Search." She eventually transitioned into acting. Her first major gig was a role on the short-lived "Models, Inc.," per her Bravo bio, and soon after, she was landing roles on some of the biggest projects in Hollywood, with huge stars.

Garcelle Beauvais transitioned into acting

After modeling for several years, before starring in "Models, Inc.," Garcelle Beauvais made her acting debut as a guest on "Miami Vice," a role which she reprised a year later. The young star was just 18 years old at the time. In addition to her work on "Miami Vice," Beauvais appeared on the "The Cosby Show," before landing an audition for the iconic movie "Coming to America" starring Eddie Murphy. Following the feature film, she stayed busy with guest spots on other celebrated '90s sitcoms, including "The Fresh Prince of Bel-air," "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," and "Family Matters." 

Beauvais recalled her inexperience to Glitter magazine in 2021, sharing that she didn't even know film vernacular when auditioning for "Coming to America." But a little inexperience didn't stop her, and she was given a part in the movie to learn more about the industry. "It was truly an experience that, at the time, I was just so happy to be learning and to be around, so many Black faces working on a movie," she said of filming.

In the midst of a budding career, Beauvais also found love. The model married her first husband, Daniel Saunders, in 1991, and the two had a son together, Oliver.

She landed a role on The Jamie Foxx Show

Clearly talented in multiple industries, Garcelle Beauvais landed the role of a lifetime and was cast as Francesca 'Fancy' Monroe alongside Jamie Foxx in "The Jamie Foxx Show," which aired for an impressive 100 episodes.

Beauvais was still learning as an actor and was a novice when it came to comedy, but she attributes her newness to her landing the role at all, noting that she wasn't competing with Foxx for laughs but was instead supporting his comedic excellence. She also told Glitter, "It was the most amazing experience because I hadn't done a sitcom, and I had just taken an improv class. So that improv class set me up to work with Jamie Foxx... he thrived on the energy of the audience, so he would, you know, do improv." Beauvais added, "I really feel like everything leads me to where I'm supposed to be."

While "The Jamie Foxx Show" was her main gig at the time, Beauvais kept working, finding roles in other projects, modeling, and starring in music videos. In fact, before landing her part on "The Jamie Foxx Show," Beauvais was featured in an R. Kelly music video, which is where Foxx was first introduced to the model, later telling her he watched the video several times.

Garcelle Beauvais also starred in NYPD Blue

After "The Jamie Foxx Show" ended, Garcelle Beauvais began looking for new projects to be a part of. As she told Entertainment Weekly, she had a few offers on the table, including "Titans" and "NYPD Blue." After guest starring on "NYPD Blue," Beauvais was offered a role as a series regular, and stayed on as assistant D.A. Valerie Heywood.

Beauvais' switch from comedy to drama wasn't easy, but it made her a better actor. As she told Zora, "Going from comedy to drama, I felt I had to prove myself. It was such a transition coming from 'The Jamie Foxx Show,' which was more like an improv class, where we could play around, to 'NYPD Blue,' where we had to go exactly by the script. It was a different mindset and I had to adapt quickly." And adapt quickly she did, as she remained with the cast for four seasons.

Beauvais, clearly a hard worker, was taking every opportunity that came her way at the time, even continuing to star in music videos. The actor featured in Luther Vandross's video "Take You Out," which she filmed the week before her wedding. "I wasn't going to miss it — would've done it for free," she told Zora.

Inside her second marriage

In 2001, Garcelle Beauvais married Mike Nilon, a producer and agent who's had a successful career in Hollywood, as well. The two share twin boys, Jax and Jaid, whom they welcomed in 2007 after years of fertility issues, per People. As her sons grew up, Beauvais continued acting steadily in a variety of television shows and movies.

Unfortunately, after nine years of marriage, Beauvais discovered her husband was having an affair that allegedly began five years earlier. The actor divulged her then-husband's indiscretion to the world through an email with the subject line "Tiger Woods/Jesse James/Mike Nilon" (via People), asking what the three men had in common. "I am devastated!!!! And I have been duped!!" the email read. Though it was sent to a circle of people the couple knew, the email was leaked for all to see.

"I was really in shock ... he was the perfect husband to me, so it was a real shock," she told Wendy Williams about sending the email to Nilon's agency. Beauvais managed to forgive Nilon for his behavior, and the two began co-parenting.

Modeling and acting came naturally to Garcelle Beauvais

Post-divorce, Garcelle Beauvais continued modeling and moved into what would be one of the biggest eras of her career. In 2011, mere months after filing for divorce, Beauvais was featured on the cover of Jet magazine, donning a gray dress and show-stopping jewelry.

Beauvais was enjoying her career, and for good reason. Some of the actor's major credits during this time included "Flight," starring Denzel Washington, and "White House Down," where she got to work again with former co-star Jamie Foxx, as well as Channing Tatum. In 2014, she starred in one of her favorite projects to date, made-for-TV movie "Girlfriends' Getaway." "Shooting this movie was pure joy," she told Zora. "This was one of the projects that makes you go, 'Oh, you're paying me on top of it?!'"

Beauvais kept adding to her resume and was cast in 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," with superstar actors Donald Glover, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Garcelle Beauvais joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

In 2020, Garcelle Beauvais made history as the first Black woman to join the cast of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," per Bravo. "I am honored and humbled by this awesome opportunity to exemplify the fact that Black Girl Magic lives and thrives in every zip code!" she said of her casting on the reality series.

Her time on the show has led to other opportunities, including modeling gigs and a podcast, "Going to Bed with Garcelle." Beauvais opened up to The Cut's "In Her Shoes" podcast about managing all her projects, noting that it is difficult, but doable. "We put a lot of hats on as women, and we can do most of it," she shared. Beauvais has shown that she can definitely handle life's balancing act.

The star has gotten lots of much-deserved attention from her role as a Housewife, too. As she told Vulture, "Obviously, I've been in the industry a long time. I've done some incredible things here and there and worked with incredible people, and I've never gotten more attention than the announcement that I was joining 'Beverly Hills.'"

Inside her role on The Real

Garcelle Beauvais took on another great job in 2020 by becoming a talk show host on "The Real." As she told Variety, "My love for pop culture and news, blended with my natural gift of gab, has always made me gravitate towards a talk show environment." Beauvais joined the cast in the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was unable to film in-studio due to social distancing guidelines, so her debut was virtual.

Now fans can see Beauvais on set with her "The Real" co-stars, discussing nearly every topic imaginable, which she loves. "I've always wanted to be a journalist, and entertainment is much more fun than news. This is the stuff that I would talk about or read about even if I wasn't on a talk show," she told The Cut for the "In Her Shoes" podcast.

Beauvais has been in Hollywood for decades now, finding success in many realms. And to what does she attribute her success? "I don't give up. In an industry where you get a lot more rejections than you get a 'yes,' I think for me, one, I've been able to diversify what I do ... the fact that I've been able to write books and host television shows and produce has given me sort of the longitude and the boldness to do whatever it is that I want to do or want to create," she told Glitter. We can't wait to see what she does next.