Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Joyce Giraud is certainly keeping us all glued to the reality series. There are catfights galore, nasty confrontations – you name it, we love it. From growing up in a little town in Puerto Rico to now being firmly in the spotlight as one the show’s biggest stars, the former Miss Puerto Rico feels blessed and she’s not taking anything for granted. As well as being a loving wife and mother of two beautiful boys, Joyce has created her own pageant: “Queen of the Universe” and is a top prolific fundraiser. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
“I love being with my family, taking baths & watching movies”
What was life like growing up in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico?
Aguas Buenas is a little town in the mountains of Puerto Rico and I’m extremely honored and proud to call it home. Growing up in Puerto Rico was the biggest blessing! I have a very big family, so life was one big party. Even though many would’ve considered us “poor,” I felt extremely rich because I had all the love in the world and that’s what matters. My mother taught my brother and myself amazing values and that respect is the key to any relationship. She also raised us going to church and I remember one of my favorite things was family day after church on Sunday, no ifs, ands, or butts. We would all go to a restaurant and eat together. It is a memory I will always cherish.
After I grew up, I felt an incredible sense of pride being from my little Puerto Rico. I have been blessed to travel the world, but my favorite place will ALWAYS be Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is definitely the best of both worlds. We have everything you can think of, but what makes us special is our people. The warmth you feel from everyone is incredible. Everyone is very welcoming and loving. I guess we all see life as a big gift so we don’t take it for granted and we love to enjoy each moment.
By the age of 19, you had completed two B.A. Degrees, that is a great achievement. What was it you wanted to be when you grew up?
I studied Social Work and Special Education. I finished both degrees by the time I was 19. Social Work is something I use on a daily basis no matter what path life has taken me in.
You have multiple pageant titles to your name, including Miss Universe Puerto Rico. How did you get into the Beauty Pageant industry and how has it affected your career?
I was “discovered” in Puerto Rico while I was working at a drive-through at KFC. Then, I started modeling and was able to pay for my university studies with the income that modeling generated, becoming one of the Top Models of Puerto Rico. Then one thing led to the next. In Puerto Rico, as in all the Latin countries, pageants are a big deal. I wasn’t the type of girl that dreamed it her whole life, for me it just happened. I guess I was lucky and blessed. I do think pageants are a powerful platform and give you a great voice. It’s up to you whether you use that voice to do amazing things or you simply prove the typical stigma about beauty queens having no substance. I made the choice of using those titles to work on my charities and help others. It was for sure my favorite thing to do. When you could go and make someone that has been in a hospital smile just by being there, or when you can go to schools and speak to the youth about your experience and have them listen is priceless. That was the most rewarding thing of any of the pageants did. The most overwhelming and beautiful experience was being called Miss Puerto Rico. To represent the Island where I was born, my people, and my culture is something I will think about and treasure even when I’m on my death bed. It’s such a pride and joy that I’m short of words to express it.
Tell us more about “Queen of the Universe.”
I thought pageants were very different than what they really are. That is why I decided to make my own pageant called “Queen of the Universe”. I wanted a pageant that doesn’t judge women based on their circumstances in life. The most important thing is that they all must have a charity-based platform.
“Queen of the Universe” is a pageant I created in which I changed all the rules and the things I didn’t like about all the other pageants I competed in. If a woman had a baby at a young age, why would she not be allowed to represent her county? A baby is the biggest blessing in the world. Or if a woman is married or divorced or has a particular gender choice etc. I think these are all things that woman should never be judged on, but sadly, many pageants are stuck in the past. Women come in all shapes and forms and I hated how the girls had to be super skinny or a certain height in all the other pageants. To me, all those things were ridiculous so I changed the rules and added the most important rule. The only thing that is VERY important is that all the girls must have a charity-based platform or a charity ambition because at the end of the day, that is what matters the most.
I do the pageant to give these wonderful women a platform and use my charity to benefit the UNESCO foundation for children in need. We complain a lot about our education system in America, but at least we have one. There are places in the world where education is two people under a little tree trying to read a book. It is unfathomable to me! I know it sounds cliché, but the reality is children are our future. If we don’t give them the proper tools, how do we expect them to have a better future? I firmly believe that it’s our social responsibility to give our children the tools they need, and those tools are education. My mother-in-law has dedicated her life to do this and with her UNESCO foundation for children in need, she has built almost 500 schools worldwide in places that don’t have access to education. I want to continue her legacy.
I firmly believe that it’s our social responsibility to give our children the tools they need, and those tools are education
You have recently served as executive producer for the television series Siberia, working alongside your husband, Michael Ohoven. Is working together something you enjoy?
Lots of people tell me they don’t know how we can be together all the time, but the reality is I LOVE working with my husband. I am blessed to say that I married my best friend and my soul mate. When you are lucky enough to be with that person you love day and night, you see it as a blessing.
You have joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the 4th Season. What is it like to be working alongside such feisty, strong-minded women?
It was quite an experience. I wish they were all strong and feisty. That I can respect and deal with any day; what I don’t respect is the backstabbers who try to play the victim any chance that they can.
How do you handle all the conflicts with the other Housewives? Do you find it hard to bite your tongue at times?
I do. I always speak my mind so it is very hard to stay quiet and let go of certain things.
As a busy working mother of two beautiful children how do you find the time to stay in such great shape?
I am not one of those hardcore working out girls. I have a lot of friends that work out like crazy, but I’ve never been the type. I have taken up hiking and I love to go with my husband. It gives us time to talk about our day so I love it, but I think my main workout is having to run after my two title boys. That is a work out!
Your hair is amazing! Have to ask, is it all real? What are your secrets to keeping it so beautiful?
Thank you, it is real. It’s funny because I’ll be at the grocery store and someone will come up to me and just touch my hair to see if there are any extensions in there. It cracks me up every time. I have two secrets that I live by: one is a mask that my grandmother taught me how to do and the other is that I wash my hair only once a week. I tell all my girlfriends and the ones who have tried it love their hair and see the difference fairly quick.
What do you like to do to relax and unwind?
I love being with my family, taking baths and watching movies.
What’s next in the pipeline for Joyce Giraud for us to look forward to?
Right now I am focused on the “Queen of the Universe.” I am also producing a couple of movies with my husband, working on a nail polish line and most importantly, I’m a mommy 🙂
Do you have anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I just want to thank everyone for all the love and support. It really means the world to me.
Where we can follow you?
Model: Joyce Giraud
Photo: Daniel Zahoul
MUA: Paul Anthony
Stylist: Steve Galindo & James Maclean
Location: Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive
Naluda Magazine: Natalia & Summer