Defiant Miss France winner says she is 'not just a haircut'

by · Mail Online

The defiant winner of Miss France said she is 'not just a haircut' after her stunning victory of the national beauty pageant was undermined by a bizarre 'woke' row over her 'androgynous' looks and short hair. 

Eve Gilles, 20, from Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern part of the country was crowned by previous winner Indira Ampiot in front of 7.5 million TV viewers Saturday night. 

But her win was overshadowed by peculiar backlash accusing the pageant of going 'woke' after the judges chose 'androgynous' Ms Gilles as Miss France 2024 after all previous winners featured more supposedly 'traditional' long, flowing hair and curves.

Now the defiant winner has said she is 'not just a haircut' as comments online mostly focused on her pixie cut hairstyle and her slim figure.  

'I am human, inevitably criticism affects and hurts me. My body is the way it is. Whether I like it or not, that's how I am. If people don't like it, they don't like me and that's it,' she told French outlet TF1.

'You can't please everyone and that's normal. You have to accept yourself and ignore all the criticism even if it's difficult.'

Ms Gilles previously said that pageant viewers were used to 'seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair'. 

Eve Gilles (left), is crowned Miss France 2024 by Miss France 2023 Indira Ampiot (right), at the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant in Dijon
Now the defiant winner has said on French TV (pictured above) that she is 'not just a haircut' as comments online mostly focused on her pixie cut hairstyle and her slim figure
Eve Gilles (pictured), 20, from Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern part of the country was crowned Miss France Saturday night in front of 7.5 million TV viewers
The Miss France contestants performed on stage wearing matching bodysuits with golden tassels
Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Eve Gilles, was crowned Miss France 2024 on Saturday night

In her recent interview, she also said that she hopes there will come a time when her haircut isn't the centre of attention. 

But the maths student also said it was 'important' to show that a lot of French women have short haircuts like hers and that they should be 'represented' in competitions like Miss France.

Ms Gilles had also praised her win as a win for 'diversity' and added: 'No one should dictate who you are,' she said after her victory Saturday night, adding that every 'woman is different, we're all unique.'

During a radio interview with French Fun Radio today, the charming 20-year-old said while she had been prepared for nasty comments, she was just 'human' and naturally they would affect her.

READ MORE: The cat-loving beauty queen who sparked a 'woke row': Miss France winner Eve Gilles whose pixie haircut has sparked outrage reveals she STRETCHED her body to meet the 5ft 7in entry requirements... as pictures emerge of her VERY long hair as a child

'Now that I have the crown on my head, it's too late. Whether people criticise me or not, it's too late - now I'm here,' she added.

The pageant winner is chosen half by a public vote and half by a jury. While Ms Gilles only came third in the public vote, the panel of judges pushed her into first place. 

But Ms Gilles, who wants to be a statistician, is the first winner in the 103-year history of the pageant who doesn't have long hair - much to the dismay of some viewers.

'Miss France is no longer a beauty contest but a woke contest which is based on inclusiveness,' one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

This was echoed by some others on Twitter, with one accusing Ms Gilles of 'instilling wokist values into society'.

Ms Gilles decided not to directly address the 'violent' backlash, adding that she believes 'the best response is silence'.

'Maybe when everything is more settled in my head, I would want to speak but that is not the case at the moment,' she told French outlet TeleStar

Other negative comments included one who said that she 'doesn't look anything like Miss France' and that 'we don't care about her haircut but the androgynous body is obviously there to serve as woke'. 

However, the critical voices were soon drowned out by a wave of support for the newly crowned Miss France, who is studying Maths and Computer Science at Lille University. 

One fan wrote: 'Maybe the new #MissFrance isn't gorgeous in your eyes, but seeing wokeism in her because she has short hair.... It's just ridiculous.'

Newly elected Miss France 2024 Eve Gilles reacts on stage after winning the title
She performed in a black costume with red embellishments during the final of the beauty pageant
Newly elected Miss France 2024 (centre left) poses for a selfie with President of the Jury Sylvie Tellier (centre right)
She was congratulated for her win by Miss France 2023 Indira Ampiot, who compared to her wore her hair in long waves
In a picture with other contestants shown on French channel direct5, Ms Gilles is wearing an orange bikini
Eve campaigned for 'diversified' beauty standards in the lead up to the final of the pageant, which has often been seen as sexist
Eve Gilles is pictured here with longer hair 
Eve Gilles during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant in Dijon, central-eastern France on December 16
Eve Gilles, 20, (centre) is pictured with longer hair. She was crowned Miss France Saturday night

Another added: 'Eve Gilles is the new Miss France 2024, your malicious and useless criticisms won't change that, she's sublime.' 

'Eve Gilles isn't even trans, has never claimed to be trans, but half of the comments about her are transphobic because she has short hair,' a third said.

MP Sandrinne Rousseau also came to Ms Gilles' defence and said: 'So, in France, in 2023, we measure the progress of respect for women by the length of their hair?

READ MORE: JANET STREET-PORTER: Sorry ladies, but why do modern women need BIG HAIR to prove they're feminine? Miss France and - quelle horreur! - her pixie cut shows beauty is more than just a blow-dried mane

Ms Rousseau also wears her hair in a pixie cut, which has become an important symbol as part of France's MeToo movement. 

Another MP, Karima Delli, wrote: 'Big support for Ève Gilles, #MissFrance2024, in the face of hateful tweets on social networks of incredible violence! 

'Swallow your venom, she is not only superb, Miss Nord pas de Calais is intelligent in embracing her diversity!'

Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the communist party, also jumped in and wrote: 'Support for Eve Gilles, elected Miss France, who is already suffering the violence of a society which does not accept that women define themselves in all their diversity.'

Even Marine Le Pen congratulated Ms Gilles on her victory on X. 'Congratulations to Eve Gilles, Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais who becomes our new Miss France!,' she said.

Ms Gilles, whose parents are from Réunion, an island in the Indian Ocean that is an overseas region of France, had campaigned for 'diversified' beauty standards in the lead up to the final of the pageant, which has often been seen as sexist. 

'I would like to show that the competition is evolving and society too, that the representation of women is diverse, in my opinion beauty is not limited to a haircut or shapes that we have... or not,' the contestant said during the final as the Telegraph reported.

In November, she told French news outlet BFM Grand Lille: 'I would especially like to defend the image of women, that they can do what they want, that they can be what whatever she likes.

Ms Gilles had campaigned for 'diversified' beauty standards in the lead up to the final of the pageant, which has often been seen as sexist (pictured: Ms Gilles in the final)
Miss France 2024, Eve Gilles, in front of the RFM Radio studios where she gave one of many interviews today
Runner-up and Dauphine, Miss Guyane Audrey Ho-Wen-Tsai (pictured), performs on stage during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant
Director of Miss France, Cindy Fabre (in white), and TV host Jean-Pierre Foucault (right) announced the selection of the semi-final contestants during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant
Miss Limousin, Agathe Toullieu, performs on stage during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant in Dijon
Eve Gilles, 20, was crowned as Miss France in front of 7.5 million TV viewers Saturday night
Contestants perform on stage during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant in Dijon
Ms Gilles was beaming on stage after she received her crown and a large bouquet of white flowers

'I want to break the codes, to show that women can be diverse, that we don't need to be put in boxes. That's what I want to show.' 

Ms Gilles, who was born in Dunkirk and has an Instagram page for her cat Princess Heidi, is the youngest of three sisters and said it was her grandfather who encouraged her to enter the competition. 

'My family is really very important. It's my little cocoon. We are very close, we did everything together,' she said. 

READ MORE: Who is Eve Gilles? Meet Miss France winner at the centre of a bizarre 'woke' row as short-haired contestant wins pageant

Ms Gilles is studying Maths and Computer Science at Lille University and travels back to her family in Quaëdypre, near Dunkirk, every weekend. 

She had first started studying medicine 'so as not to regret it later' but 'didn't like it', Ms Gilles said, adding that she worked in a factory to earn money.

But during the Miss France competition, Ms Gilles was criticised for her hair, her 'lack of shape' and 'thinness' online.

Actress Beatrice Rosen, who said she favoured another contestant, also jumped into the discussion online. 

'I understand that there is a real ambient fed up with the wokism that they are trying to make us swallow 24/7, BUT, in the same way that we can criticize a religion but NOT the faithful, I find the sometimes nasty criticisms regarding Eve unfair and counterproductive. 

'Attacking the physical is an attack below the belt, and putting the weight of the total ideological criticism of Wokism on a young woman of 20 is unfair.

'This young woman is pretty, and feminine "despite" her short hair. I was and still am an admirer of the singular beauty of Audrey Hepburn, Linda Evangelista, or Jean Seberg, all 3 very thin with short hair, and who nevertheless are female icons who have been adored in the whole world.'

Ms Gilles, who was already criticised for her look before being crowned, said that she 'didn't want to look like a little girl anymore' and that she wanted to set an example. 'But I'm not at all a tomboy. I feel like a woman,' she added. 

Ms Giles (third from left) was the only contestant in this year's competition whose hair was cropped short
Some of the contestants performed a dance routine on stage wearing neon-coloured skirts and socks
The Miss France contestants dazzled in sequinned dresses in the semi-final
Miss Bourgogne Luna Lacharme performs on stage wearing a colourful two-piece with long skirt
The semi-final contestants including Ms Gilles (third from left) performed a dance routine wearing gold sequinned dresses
Other contestants like Second Dauphine (third place), Miss Provence Adelina Blanc, had long hair
Miss Guadeloupe, Jalylane Maes, performs on stage during Miss France 2024 
Fourth Dauphine, Miss Languedoc Maxime Teissier, performs on stage during the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant
Supporters for Ms Gilles (pictured here during the semi-final) include several French MPs
Eve Giles has been criticised since her Miss France victory due to her short hair 

Her victory comes less than a week after a court ordered a French broadcaster and television production house to compensate two previous Miss France finalists for secretly filming them and showing their bare breasts on air.

Both women, the court found, had been filmed in changing rooms 'without their being informed'.

Alexia Laroche-Joubert, chief executive of Banijay France which owns the Miss France brand, defended the pageant as a symbol of 'success' and a 'social elevator' for contestants who have later become 'businesswomen, doctors or film directors'.

The contest's criteria have been 'modernised', she said, in that there is no longer an age limit for participants, who can now also be married or transgender.

To critics, however, the pageant's evolution has been insufficient.

Melinda Bizri of the Human Rights League in Dijon, which called for a boycott of the ceremony, called the cosmetic changes 'feminist-washing.'

'Women have been abusing themselves all their lives to achieve these phantasmagorical criteria, according to patterns that take a very long time to deconstruct,' she said.

'Miss France is still just as sexist in the way it classifies women according to beauty criteria,' added Violaine de Filippis, spokesperson the for Dare Feminism! association.