WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING HER BROOD OF BOYS, GARCELLE BEAUVAIS DOESN’T SHY AWAY FROM THE TOUGH TOPICS ABOUT RESPECT, SEX AND MORE. HERE’S HOW SHE TACKLES IT ALL.
By Stefanie Phillips/ Photography Josh Williams
YOU MIGHT RECOGNIZE GARCELLE BEAUVAIS as the lovely, gorgeous and naïve wife of a winged-villain, The Vulture in the summer blockbuster, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The 50 year-old, Haitian-American actress scored the role in what is being called the most diverse Marvel movie in history.
“It is exciting! It’s getting good reviews so I think it’s on its way.”
But starring in a Hollywood blockbuster isn’t the only thing this mother of three has got going on. She’s also awaiting the release of Lola’s House, a film about sex trafficking that this super-mom executive produced.
In her busy household in the Valley of Los Angeles, Beauvais lives with her twin boys, Jax and Jaid Nilon, 9, and her oldest son from a previous marriage, Oliver Saunders, 26. It’s under this roof that she’s built a home based on respect.
“I think being kind to one another is really important,” she said over the phone from L.A. “I think you want to show kindness, even if you disagree with someone…I hope that’s what my boys are getting (from me), that you can say anything you want, as long as you respect the other person.”
It’s the lessons on respect that Beauvais credits to raising respectful and confident men.
“I’m trying to inspire my kids to one day walk that walk.”
Beauvais opened up to INBETWEEN about raising boys into respectful men and how she’s ready to have the tough talks all over again with her tween twins.
RESPECT IS KING
The bigger conversation of respect is what Beauvais is using to lay a foundation for the conversation about sex and consent with Jaid and Jax.
“If somebody, anybody says ‘no, stop,’ they need to understand that and just do it. They need to respect the other person’s wishes,” she says.
Beauvais already had the conversation with her oldest, Saunders, when he was 15. She remembers it clearly because she was caught by surprise when Saunders brought it up to her, instead of the other way around. The night before their talk, Beauvais caught Saunders writing a letter to his girlfriend’s mother. The next day in the kitchen, the teenager explained that he was writing a letter to profess how much he cared about his girlfriend and apologized for having sex with her daughter.
“I was happy that he was taking responsibility and being kind and loving towards this girl by addressing her mom,” Beauvais said. “But I was stopped in my tracks because I was so shocked.”
But because they had previous, more casual conversations about dating and sex, this one wasn’t hard or traumatizing for either of them.
“I don’t think you should have a big talk with your kids and make it so serious. I think you should talk to them throughout [that stage].”
As a single mom, her favourite time to have one-on-one talks with her boys is right before bed when they’re getting ready to say goodnight.
“I’ll talk about something they did that day that I didn’t like or something I did that I wish I had done differently. I think if you keep the conversation open then you don’t have to have the big talk where everybody’s so serious.”
Even if the talk isn’t serious, Beauvais stresses the importance of talking about consent.
“It is of the utmost importance because boys need to understand that no means no. It is about respecting someone’s wishes, no matter what.”
REAPING THE REWARDS
While being a mom of three boys has its challenges, it also has great rewards. The biggest being the random phone calls from her boys to say, ‘I love you.’
They were at their dad’s when Jax called her to say those three magic words. Thinking he wanted a new video game, Beauvais braced herself for the request that would follow. But the pre-teen just said, “Okay, bye!”
DEALING WITH DIVORCE
This twice-divorced mother says dealing with divorce is not easy, especially in the beginning. Beauvais admits that it took more than one therapy session to be able to co-parent with the kids’ dads. But it led her to realize that putting the kids first and not bashing the other parent are the two pillars on which co-parenting depends on.
“Divorces are about the adults, not about the kids,” she said. “That’s their parent no matter what.”
Beauvais believes that the best goal a parent can have is to always try to do the best they can. Sometimes meeting that goal means finding the right balance between me time and family time.
“I have my kids a week at a time. So when I don’t have them, I try to focus on the things I want to do and focus on me. When they come back, I try to give them all the attention. [Parenting] is a balance.”
She’s also a pro when it comes to balancing her work life with her philanthropic activities. Whether she’s starring in a movie or producing another one, Beauvais always makes time for one of her favourite organizations, the Step Up Women’s Network.
The non-government organization helps urban teenage girls, living in underserved areas to graduate high school with the confidence they need to join the next generation of professional women.
“I love their message,” Beauvais said. So much so, she wishes there was something similar when she was growing up. “I had a sister, but that’s not the same thing,” she said. “Women are great together and I don’t think we should be pitted against each other.” ■
Credits: photos, Josh Williams / jbw photography, www.joshwilliamsphotography.com; makeup, Kym Nicole Oubre, www.kymnicolebeauty.com hair, Robear Landeros for robear/hair; stylist, Jenny Dayco, www.jennydayco.com; assistant, Chandra Brice