Miss France breaks silence on pixie crop haircut that sparked national furore

Miss France has laid bare the pain sparked by thousands of sexist trolls claiming her “boyish” pixie crop haircut failed to meet traditional French beauty standards.

Eve Giles faced a deluge of online abuse following her victory, which turned into a symbol of “wokery gone made” among the far-right in France.

The seismic reaction to winning the national beautify competition stemmed primarily from one thing: In its 103-year-history, Gilles was the first winner to have the tiara placed on a head with short hair.

Many of the 9.1million people that turned into the contests final took to social media to personally critique Gilles’ win. Some questioned whether it was a “prank” while others asked “Do the people who voted for her have shit in their eyes?”

The Maths student herself and her pixie-haircut at the centre of the country’s ever-growing culture wars as some called her a “win for diversity” while others complained of the competition “no longer [based on] beauty… [but] on inclusiveness”.

Trolls targeting the young woman’s appearance didn’t stop at her hair. The 20-year-old also faced criticism for her body as some called her “skin and bone” and “flatter than a breadboard”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

For any young woman, one or two of these passing comments would crippling, but Giles had to deal with a “tsunami” of them.

“I wasn’t aware [of criticism] straight away because I didn’t have my phone with me, but then friends started to tell me,” she told The Times.

“It was like a tsunami coming up behind — you don’t see it but you know it’s right here. And sometimes it’s been very difficult. I’m human and in the beginning especially it was very upsetting for my mother.”

Gilles addressed the comments around her hair at the time, describing her look as “androgynous” and a departure from the previous “beautiful Misses with long hair” the French public were used to.

She said: “No one should dictate who you are... every woman is different, we’re all unique.”

From Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France, Gilles added that it was the body-shaming comments that impacted her more than the furore over her hair, saying: “I chose my hair. I didn’t choose my body or metabolism. It was body shaming.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Eventually, Gilles made peace in the fact that that she, nor any woman, will be good enough for sexist voices on the internet and has instead decided to “seize” her life.

“[The abuse] is like a wave. It’s stop, start, stop, start,” she told the paper. “I have to just let them do what they want to do, because if I focus on them I won’t be focusing on what I want to do.

“In any case, according to them, no woman is good enough: your hair’s too long or too short. Whether your eyes are blue or brown, there’s always something that doesn’t work. But you can’t listen. You just have to seize your life.”

Gilles cut her hair at 16-years-old, much to the dismay of her mother who spurred her on by complaining about her tresses ending up on their family sofa.

She has spoken on her love for the short, blunt haircut which she still sports now.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Her hair may be the least interesting thing about her however, with her having been appointed maths “ambassador” by President Macron to boost interest in the subject among French girls.

She had been studying maths and computing at the University of Lille when she was launched to fame by the beauty pageant, but still has dreams of becoming a statistician.

Speaking about how this intellectual side of her translates to her beauty pageant success, she said: “Miss France gives a woman a chance to speak out on whatever she wants — for me it’s cyberbullying and maths. Before I was a girl in a little village, working in a factory, that nobody cared about.

“Now for one year I have a voice and people listen to me. Everyone knows who Eve Gilles is. Next year I’ll pass on the crown, like a fairy godmother, and another Miss France can speak about what she wants.”