Interview by Lauren Douglass
Joyce Giraud isn’t just another pretty face on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Sure, she may be a beauty queen, but her real allurement comes from heart. In her creation of the Queen of the Universe pageant, she inspires women from around the world, no matter their background, to take pride in themselves. I caught up with Joyce to hear what filming has been like for a reality show and for the NBC drama Siberia.
Tell me about the show Siberia. How did that go?
Siberia is an amazing show. It was NBC’s summer show, and I’m the lead. It’s about a group of reality contestants who go to Siberia to compete for $500,000, but once they get there, they’re told that there are no rules, nothing in the game. They realize they’re lost in Siberia because the producers and everybody abandons them. It’s kind of like Survivor meets LOST.
It’s a faux-scripted reality show, what does that mean?
It’s a fully-scripted show, but shot through a reality lens. We shot it kind of like Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, so it does feel very real. One of the biggest compliments we’ve ever received is that our audience thought they were watching a reality show – that means we’re doing our job well!
The Queen of the Universe pageant is coming up – can you tell me a little about it?
Queen of the Universe is a pageant that I created through UNESCO, which is the United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organization. I come from the pageant background, and I believe pageants provide this amazing opportunity to have a voice. Suddenly, when you have a title, people listen to what you have to say. It was for that reason that I’m able to represent Puerto Rico in different parts of the world.
I’ve always wondered, why does having a baby at a young age disqualify a girl from being in a pageant? Why can’t a woman who is married represent women throughout the world? That’s just not right, so I created this pageant where women can be single, married, divorced, have children – it doesn’t matter. The only important qualification is that they have a charity-based platform. This gives women from across the globe the opportunity to represent their countries in a charitable alliance to benefit children around the world in reaching their educational goals.
Who is the current Queen of the Universe?
Ivette Saucedo is an actress, model and philanthropist and was the first to be crowned Queen of the Universe as Miss Spain last year. Ivette works with the charity “My Sister’s Closet,” which provides clothing to homeless teens or teens who are struggling financially. Also, she formed “Casey’s Rescue,” which is a shelter that rescues and finds new homes for abandoned pets.
If women want to get involved, when and where is the pageant being held?
The second annual pageant is being held on Sunday, March 16th at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. If you want to get involved, you can go on QueenUniversePageant.com and contact us there, or you can contact our office at 323-848-8966.
On to Real Housewives, what has filming been like?
It’s had ups and downs [laughs]. Overall it was a great experience. I loved the producers and the crew. I just hope it’s portrayed true to everything that happened. Real Housewives is one of those guilty pleasures that people love watching because it’s light television you can escape into when you get home. I watched the show, too. That being said, I was surprised by some of the girls. As an audience member, I had preconceived ideas about how some of the girls would be, but it didn’t turn out that way.
What has surprised you most about either filming or the cast?
I thought that it would be really guided reality, but it’s not. What you see is what it is. The other thing, just to give you an example, I thought Kyle would be conniving and horrible – that was my preconceived notion of her – and thank God I got to know her because I really do like her and we established a great relationship. I also thought I would get along great with Brandi, but obviously you see that a lot of things happened.
Do you think your background as an actor has influenced what you allow the public to see on the show?
You know, no. I should’ve known better [laughs], and I should’ve used my background in film, but I didn’t because I wanted it to be a natural experience. I wanted people to get to know the real me. Though, I should have used my acting background in some cases. For example, I hate my tagline (“In Beverly Hills, they say you can never be too young, too thin, or too rich.“). I hate it with a passion; it’s so not representative of who I am!
Speaking of that, are you worried about the public judgment?
I’m not worried. Once they watch it and get to know me, I think they’ll start to see the real me. You’re not a hundred dollar bill for everybody to like you. Some people will like you and some people won’t. I did stay true to myself.