If you stumble upon a photo of Joyce Giraud, your first impression will most likely be awe. She is gorgeous. And accomplished. And did we mention gorgeous? A former Miss Puerto Rico, pageant star and model, it’s clear that she has a lot of outer beauty. But she is so much more than just a pretty face. This actress, producer, passionate philanthropist and perhaps her most important role, mother, has a lot to offer and is working hard to make the world a more beautiful place by spreading positivity and joy. Her optimism is infectious, and after learning about her life, her experiences, and her work and how she helps others, you start to appreciate Giraud for the beautiful human being she is, inside and out.
From growing up in Puerto Rico to her pageant days, her acting jobs, her beauty elixir business and her years on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Joyce Giraud has done it all. And arguably one of her most impressive and inspiring accomplishments, she dedicates much of her time and energy to give back to her community. Her roster of talents and achievements seem impossible for any one person to master in a lifetime, and yet Giraud has done it (and continues to do it) with ease, grace, and of course, beauty. Plus, she’s one of our favorite Instagram follows.
We had the opportunity to chat with this incredible woman, and trust us when we say she’s a force of nature. Here’s what you need to know about this Puerto Rican entrepreneur, philanthropist, model and mother who is the perfect combination of beauty, brains and heart.
Born and Raised in Puerto Rico, She has Always Been Driven to Succeed
Joyce was born and raised in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, a city in the central mountain range south of San Juan. She was raised by a single mom who always encouraged her to strive for the best and never give up. “She inspired me to always be my best and she taught me that with Papito Dios todo es posible. (Everything is possible with God),” Joyce said. She also drew inspiration and strength from her grandmother, who “gave me so much unconditional love and taught me that love is the only thing that truly matters.”
While she explains that she grew up with very little (what some might now consider to be poor), she never felt poor, rather she felt extremely rich because she had love. This important life lesson is something she teaches to her own children, making sure to focus on the importance of not only appreciating what you have, but also giving back to others and sharing love whenever you can. “I think this has been the foundation that has helped me accomplish so many of the dreams that I’ve been fortunate enough to make a reality.”
Those life lessons also carried over to her schooling and ultimately her career. As a self-professed nerd, she worked hard and graduated high school when she was just 16 years old. To help make ends meet and pay to further her education, she began working at a local KFC, which as chance would have it, is where a photographer discovered her and gave her an opportunity to model.
And so began her modeling career, which afforded her many opportunities to travel and see the world, while earning money to pay for her schooling. During that time, Joyce was able to complete her studies (by the age of 19!) and earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, one in Social Work and one in Special Education. She accomplished more during her teenage years than most people accomplish in a lifetime. And while life took her in a different direction after school, she believes that her studies have helped her in all aspects of her life. “It taught me to never lose my essence and to always have empathy towards my peers,” she explained.
From Model to Pageant Queen
Her years of modeling, while also studying at university, afforded her many opportunities to see other parts of the world, but perhaps the biggest opportunity came from competing in local beauty pageants in Puerto Rico. Eventually she was crowned Miss Puerto Rico and she went on to represent her island in numerous competitions, winning Miss Venus International, Queen of the Atlantics International, Miss World Puerto Rico and she was 2nd Runner-Up in the Miss Universe Pageant in 1998. It was one of her greatest honors representing her country, a country that is always in her heart. “Growing up in Puerto Rico has inspired every single step of my entire life journey. I’m so proud of my little island. I love my people! I love EVERYTHING ABOUT PUERTO RICO!” she exclaimed. And while the fame and fortune from those pageants were rewarding in their own way, it was an eye opening experience because it exposed her to the power of pageantry and the world of philanthropy.
In an interview with Redbook Joyce recalled being a very unique kind of pageant participants back in the day. “I wasn’t the typical pageant girl—I was a little more nerdy, and they gave me a voice,” she explained. Competing in pageants provided Giraud, and all participants, with an international stage where she could raise awareness for the causes that mattered to her. And she could represent her country and the wonderful people of Puerto Rico. She was able to exemplify the caring, strong, Latina woman that she is and use her voice and her fame to give back.
And that’s exactly what she did and continues to do. That’s why she started her own pageant competition where women could embrace their own charitable ambitions and make a difference in various philanthropic causes around the world.
“I created the Queen of the Universe pageant, which is charity-based, to benefit UNESCO. For me, the most important thing is that contestants have a charity-based platform or charity ambition. I want the girls to use their title to help their peers, themselves, and the people around them,” she said.
She Created the Charity-Based Queen of the Universe Pageant to Make a Difference
Inspired by her experiences in the beauty pageant circuit, Joyce created her own international beauty pageant called Queen of the Universe so that other women like her could promote their charity work and pursue their life’s goals. “Queen of the Universe is a charity-based pageant for women to be able to highlight their platforms. I believe it is our responsibility to give back. We can’t be self-centered in life, we must think about our peers and if we are in a position to help we must always help!” Joyce explained.
She recognized the incredible platform that pageants provided her to embrace her passion for helping others, and she was on a mission to afford that same opportunity to others. This pageant, while similar to other pageants in terms of its format and content (a swimsuit competition, an evening gown competition and an on-stage interview), was unique in that it did not discriminate. Joyce always dreamed of hosting a pageant where any woman could participate, regardless of whether or not she was married, single, divorced or had children.
From 2013 – 2017 Queen of the Universe helped showcase women who dedicated time, energy and efforts to charitable appearances and worthy causes. Joyce found her years hosting this pageant extremely rewarding, and she continues to feel proud of that work. Even today, Joyce is proud to share that “most of the girls have continued with their charities and I always say it: if you can inspire one person in life then you’ve done your job.”
Thanks to her work with Queen of the Universe, Joyce and her charity team were able to open her first school with the YOU Foundation for Children in Need in Senegal, Africa. “This has been one of the most valuable accomplishments of my life because I truly believe education is the foundation for a better future and we must never ever forget the less fortunate.”
In addition, after hurricane Maria, with the help of the YOU Foundation Joyce was able to help four schools and an orphanage in her beloved Puerto Rico. “Being able to help in my hometown where I grew up and seeing the smiles of the children in all the schools, receiving the love from the little kids in the orphanage was priceless. We have a saying in Spanish that says: “Si todos ponemos nuestro granito de arena podemos juntos hacer un gran cambio.” It means if we all do a little, together we can do a lot. If we all give our little grain we can create an ocean of change.”
It’s hard not to be inspired by this beautiful soul.
A Talent On Camera and Behind the Scenes
Joyce has had her fair share of roles in Hollywood, from actress to producer, reality star and everything in between. As an actress she appeared in Joey, Slayer, Heist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and House of Payne, just to name a few. From 2013-2014 she appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and she also produced several shows including the Spanish-language reality show Rica Famosa Latina. Of all her roles, she says her favorite was her time acting and producing the drama TV series Siberia, a project she loved because she got to work with her husband, Hollywood producer Michael Ohoven. To say that Joyce has been busy over the years is a severe understatement, and yet, she shows no signs of slowing down.
She’s Also an Entrepreneur, Tackling the Business World One Elixir at a Time
Influenced by her youth and her relatives, especially her grandmother in Puerto Rico, Joyce developed a line of beauty elixirs that are plucked from nature and are inspired by love and natural ingredients. She recalls her grandmother sourcing oils from the mountains, because that’s what they had in abundance in Puerto Rico. She remembers her grandmother making potions from various fruits, leaves, and natural ingredients, and she continued using those kinds of homemade elixirs for her whole life. Over time, her travels introduced her to other ingredients such as argan oil and moringa oil, which are also incorporated into her products. Clearly, these magic potions are working, because Giraud hasn’t aged a day since she was crowned Miss Puerto Rico. We’ll have what she’s having. Finally, after years of keeping the potions to herself, she went to a lab and asked if they could bottle her elixirs.
“My entire line is based on love and nature,” Joyce explains. “Those are the two things I received the most growing up in my island.” Her work on her line of elixirs is definitely the role where she feels most creative, she admitted. She is extremely passionate about her elixir collection, not only because it allows her to reconnect with the beauty traditions and natural practices from her youth, but also because it allows her to spread the secret with others. No longer reserved for spa days with her girlfriends or secret potions she only used with family, she is finally sharing her miracle elixirs with the world.
The first product she made was her miracle oil, a 100 percent organic, no-compromise solution that nourishes all skin types. And so began the Joyce Giraud Miracle Elixir Collection, a passion project turned business that is helping other women look and feel beautiful inside and out.
Family Above All Else
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Despite her incredible successes and positive impact on the world, Joyce prioritizes her family above everything else, calling her family her greatest gift. She is married to Academy-Award nominated producer Michael Ohoven and together they have two sons Leonardo and Valentino. In life, being a mommy is the biggest blessing and best role I could ever dream of,” she explains. “My two boys are literally a gift from God. I had very tough pregnancies but it was all worth it and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again because they are my everything.”