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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Look Back at Garcelle Beauvais' Impressive Modeling and Acting Career

From Coming to America and The Jamie Foxx Show to RHOBH and The Real, here's what to know about her resume.

By Sophie Vilensky

Garcelle Beauvais had prolific acting and modeling career — including starring roles in The Jamie Foxx Show and NYPD Blue — before taking on her toughest role yet in 2019: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 10.

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"Being able to move to New York City to model at 17 years old made me strong. I know I can handle anything — even those damn Housewives," Garcelle said during Season 10 Episode 1. "Acting was just the next step."

Besides providing her with the ability to handle it all, the entertainment world has impacted Garcelle in multiple ways. When she immigrated to Massachusetts from Haiti as a seven-year-old, she didn't speak any English. Little Garcelle picked up the language by watching Sesame Street. (And years later she appeared on the show!)

 Look back at Garcelle's seriously impressive career history.

Garcelle Beauvais' Modeling Career

Young Garcelle modeling in a brown turtleneck, white belt, and leopard print skirt.

Before there was Garcelle the actress, there was Garcelle the model.

"I knew the lead girl in a Black is Beautiful commercial and I decided to drive to Fort Lauderdale without an appointment and see if the agency she was with would consider representing me," Garcelle told Tokyo Journal in a 2015 interview discussing her roots. "As I was driving, I stopped at a red light and put on lipstick while looking out the window at the mirror. Then this hand came in the car and startled me. It was the person who had stopped behind me and by chance she was the owner of the agency that I was on my way to see without an appointment. So, it was sort of kismet. I modeled with them for about a year in Miami and then I moved to New York."

She subsequently appeared on the cover of numerous magazines including Playboy, Harper's Bazaar, and Essence. And, she walked the runway in her fair share of fashion shows, strutting for the likes of Calvin Klein, Tommy HIlfiger, and Isaac Mizrahi.

As for the advice she'd give aspiring models and actors?

"There’s a lot of rejection. You have to have tough skin, but you also have to persevere and be professional. Go to classes; learn as much as you can about the business," she shared in the Journal. "If you can be an extra on any TV shows or any commercials do it and just keep at it if it’s something you really want to do regardless of the rejections that you get. That’s part of the business."

Garcelle Beauvais on Television

Garcelle Beauvais Early Roles: Miami ViceThe Cosby Show, and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

Young Garcelle acting as a waitress standing outside.

In 1984 and 1985, Garcelle appeared on Season 1 of Miami Vice, first as an unnamed waitress (serving Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas's iconic characters, detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs) and then as a homeless girl named Gabriella. 

Over the next few years, she continued to pop up on fan-favorite programs, playing an uncredited nurse on The Cosby Show in 1986 and appearing on episodes of Down the Shore and Dream On in 1992. In 1993, she appeared on an episode of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (Season 1, Episode 17) as a character named Keeler. 

Garcelle Beauvais on Models Inc

Young Garcelle with a group of actors standing together and posing.

Garcelle was a regular on the Melrose Place spinoff, which marked her first major TV role. Running from 1994 to 1995, the show followed the lives of women connected to a top Los Angeles modeling agency.

Garcelle played a model named Cynthia Nichols in 25 episodes before the series' cancellation.

Garcelle Beauvais on The Jamie Foxx Show

Young Garcelle posing with Eddie in cocktail attire.

According to Garcelle, The Jamie Foxx Show was her breakout role. "I get a lot of guys that come up to me and go 'You were my crush,'" she shared in a Season 10 Episode 1 confessional while discussing her role as Francesca "Fancy" Monroe, the love interest of Foxx's real-life-inspired character Jamie King. "And I go, 'Were?' Come on."

The sitcom aired for five seasons, from 1996 to 2001.

Garcelle Beauvais on NYPD Blue

Young Garcelle with a group of actors standing together and posing amongst a large cake.

During her first RHOBH appearance, Garcelle noted that she loved being back in New York because of all the memories it held — including filming NYPD Blue. She first appeared on the cop show as assistant district attorney Valerie Heywood in Season 8 and stayed for 84 episodes.

During a 2001 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Garcelle was asked a question about "Black actors on TV dramas getting good titles but not good screen time." While answering, she noted she'd talked to NYPD Blue's producers about making sure that didn't happen to her character.

"I don’t want to be set dressing. I want a full rounded character, and I want to be somebody who’s going to have a chance to act and be part of the show, otherwise it’s a waste of our time," she said. "I definitely won’t sit still for my character just coming in here and there without a real purpose. What’s the point of having us on if we’re just going to fill a quota?"

Garcelle Beauvais on Eyes

Crime drama Eyes told the story of a private investigative service that promised to dig into the individuals and crimes who law enforcement couldn't handle. Garcelle played regular character Nora Gage in 12 episodes of the show, which ran from 2005 to 2007.

Garcelle Beauvais on Franklin & Bash

Breckin and Garcelle sitting together and laughing.

Running from 2011 to 2014, Franklin & Bash followed two lawyers (Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer) recruited to breathe some life into a buttoned-up firm. Garcelle played senior partner Hanna Linden during the show's first two seasons.

Garcelle Beauvais on Grimm

Diving into the world of fantasy, Garcelle's Grimm character Henrietta was a "hexenbiest" — aka a witch-like creature. She appeared in five Season 4 episodes from 2014 to 2015 until (spoiler alert!) Henrietta was killed by the spirit of Jack the Ripper.

Garcelle Beauvais' Guest Appearances on Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Chicago Med, and More

If you've ever watched TV and wondered "Is that Garcelle?" it probably was. Over the years, Garcelle has made appearances in numerous TV shows.

Early in her career, Garcelle made four appearances on Family Matters in a couple of different roles. Soon after, she portrayed two separate characters on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (and even dated Will Smith for a bit).

The actress has also appeared on NBC's Chicago Med (she played Lyla Dempsey in Season 2 Episode 19 and Season 3 Episode 7), Curb Your Enthusiasm, CSI: Miami, Psych, Arrested Development, The Magicians, and The Mentalist, to name but a few.

Garcelle Beauvais on The Other Black Girl

In December 2022, Garcelle shared the exciting news that she'll play a renowned author in the upcoming show The Other Black Girl

“What a Way to finish the year!!” she captioned an Instagram post at the time, adding that “this is a special show.”

Garcelle Beauvais' Movie Roles

Garcelle sitting and talking with Jay during an interview.

Garcelle Beauvais in Manhunter

Garcelle made her film debut in Manhunter, a 1986 thriller about a former FBI profiler (William Petersen) on the hunt for a "deranged" serial killer called "the Tooth Fairy." Young Garcelle played "Young Woman Housebuyer" — not bad for a first movie character name.

Garcelle Beauvais in Coming to America (and Coming 2 America)

Garcelle acting a scene wearing a gown and headdress.

"Coming to America was my first real movie," said Garcelle during RHOBH Season 10 Episode 1. The 1998 film featured the then-19-year-old actress as Prince Akeem's (Eddie Murphy's) royal rose bearer.

Naturally, Garcelle has plenty of stories to share from her time on set.

"Oh, every girl on the set of Coming to America was feening for Eddie Murphy,” Garcelle shared during a November 2022 episode of the If We’re Being Honest with Laverne Cox podcast. “And we dated. ... It was off and on. It was a while. He’s lovely.”

In 2021, she reprised her role in Coming 2 America albeit with a bit more power.

Garcelle Beauvais' Other Movie Roles

Besides her most well-known roles, Garcelle's name can be found in the credits of films including Wild Wild West (1999), Barbershop 2: Back In Business (2004), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Flight (2012), And Then There Was You (2013), and Small Time (2014).

She's even part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having appeared in the critically acclaimed Spider Man: Homecoming as Doris Toomes.

Garcelle Beauvais in Black Girl Missing

In 2023, Garcelle executive produced and starred in the movie Black Girl Missing. Inspired by the true stories of missing Black women, the film follows Cheryl (Garcelle) after she's dismissed by authorities when her daughter disappears. 

"When we go missing it doesn't seem like people care," Garcelle told ET in March 2023 about her decision to make the film. "The minute we're missing, it's like we're considered a runaway or 'they'll be back in a few days,' when everybody knows that the first few hours are crucial. And if no one's looking, if we're not getting media attention, we can't find our loved ones." 

Garcelle Beauvais' Other Businesses: Books, Interior Design, and Hosting The Real

Garcelle smiling in front of a purple step and repeat.

In 2022, Garcelle released a memoir: Love Me As I Am. According to the mother of three, she began the writing process after the emotional Season 10 RHOBH reunion

"When I started along the journey of penning my memoir I had no idea how much of an eye-opening experience it would be. I am deeply proud to share my journey as a woman, the struggles, and funny memories with those who have followed me throughout my career in Hollywood," she wrote in an October 2021 statement announcing the book.

Entering another creative realm, Garcelle also released a homeware line, Garcelle at Home, in 2022. These projects both came on the tail end of her time co-hosting The Real, which ended in June 2022 after eight seasons.

“I am thrilled to be joining the dynamic, bold and diverse women on the award-winning talk show The Real,” Garcelle told Variety in August 2020 when it was announced she'd joined the eighth season alongside Loni Love, Jeannie Mai, and Adrienne Haughton. “My love for pop culture and news, blended with my natural gift of gab, has always made me gravitate towards a talk show environment. It’s also exciting that it’s happening right after my amazing time joining The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

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