Garcelle Beauvais is booked, busy and unbothered! The actress, producer and TV personality seemingly always has a lot on her plate, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. ET’s Rachel Smith sat down with the mother of two to discuss her latest project, the Lifetime film Black Girl Missing.
Not only does Beauvais star in the film, but she also executive produced it as part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign.
Inspired by actual stories of missing women of color, Black Girl Missing centers on a mother named Cheryl (Beauvais) whose daughter Lauren (Iyana Halley) is nowhere to be found. Authorities and media dismiss Lauren as a runaway while focusing heavily on another missing girl, who is white. Cheryl and her 15-year-old daughter Marley (Taylor Mosby) enlist the help of a dedicated community of amateur internet sleuths to try to find Lauren.
When Cheryl discovers the Black and Missing Foundation, she’s horrified to discover the disparity in how missing persons of color cases are treated with a significant lack of media attention and law enforcement resources.
“It’s been a frustration just for our community, the Black community… when we go missing it doesn’t seem like people care,” Beauvais tells ET. “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.”
She adds that “the minute” the film was pitched to her, she thought of Lifetime. “They’re really doing a whole movement of movies [on] violence against women, to sort of highlight it,” she explains. “And it was just important — I’m a mom [and] the thought of one of my kids going missing and not getting the media attention or the police help that you need is just daunting.”
Derrica and Natalie Wilson, founders of the Black and Missing Foundation, serve as consultants on the film. The organization was been established as a nonprofit whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color, provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends and educate the neglected communities on personal safety.
Beauvais shares that she was surprised to learn the demographics of Black missing persons, which she assumed would be mostly children. “We partnered with [the] Black and Missing Foundation and they really [aid] families that need help in finding their loved ones and it’s not just young girls. [It’s also] young boys, older women, older men — I mean it’s across the board. And if we can bring awareness and get people to talk, if we can get a file to come across a police officer’s desk and they actually take a moment and help, if it’ll make any little difference, [job done.]”
“We wanna be seen,” the actress stresses, speaking to the film and foundation’s mission. “And we wanna get the same treatment as other people when we go missing. That’s the most important thing.”
When she’s done working hard, Beauvais has been playing hard with the ladies of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which is currently in production for its 13th season.
“We’re having fun so far,” the former talk show host teases. After the show’s fraught 12th season and subsequent dramatic reunion, they deserve it!
The end of the emotionally charged season saw the exits of long-time cast member Lisa Rinna and newcomer Diana Jenkins, both of whom Beauvais had bad blood with at different parts of the season.
Rinna announced her departure from the franchise after eight years in January, calling it “the longest job I have held in my 35-year career.”
Jenkins left the show after just one season, following the announcement of her second pregnancy. She announced her exit days after Rinna, citing a high-risk pregnancy that needs her full attention.
“You know what, I’m okay with it actually. I think it’s always great for change and I think she definitely came and made her mark on the show. But change is good,” Beauvais said of Rinna’s exit, adding that she had been “surprised” by the departure. “Bravo makes their decisions every season on who comes back and who doesn’t. So, you know, it was her time.”
The star admits there isn’t a friendship between her and Rinna but leaves space for a possible reconciliation in the future. “I don’t know what the future will hold, but it was too toxic and there’s still remnants of my son being attacked on social media and it was just not okay,” she adds. “To me [it’s time to] get away from the toxic era and come back and have some fun and really have friendships. I don’t think there’s that many real friendships there. Sutton and I are real friends, but I think it felt like it was divided — it was one group and then another group. So let’s get back to everybody really getting to know one another, that would be really fun.”
Still, there’s no doubt that the housewives are magnets for drama and no amount of camaraderie will change that. “I think the world has changed and women are supporting each other more, so it’s a tricky way to navigate these franchises,” she muses when asked how she thinks the upcoming season will go for the cast. “I think it’s important to show friendship and show support, but we still have six independent modern women, so there’s always gonna be a little drama. But I hope we can also support each other, I would like that.”
As for Rinna’s comments that she and Stacke need to “step up” their game on the show, Beauvais laughs off the unsolicited advice from her former costar. “Listen, we’re not fan favorites for nothing,” she points out. “How did we get that way? Please, we’re good.”
Black Girl Missing premieres Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m.
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