Tres chic or le scandale? Pixie cut controversy roils Miss France crowning

Some people may call it tres chic, but others are calling it le scandale.

Newly crowned Miss France Eve Gilles’ neat pixie cut, which stands in contrast to most contestants’ flowing locks, has set her apart with some online objecting to her “atypical” look.

After her victory in France’s biggest beauty pageant on Saturday, some online commentators called the haircut “disappointing” and her overall looks not feminine.

“Are you a Miss or Mister?” one commenter wrote under a post announcing her win on Miss France’s official Instagram account. Another said: “They absolutely want to eliminate classic feminine codes!”

Giles, who in addition to a shiny dark bob, has a pearly-white smile and big brown eyes, has her defenders and has drawn comparisons with actor Audrey Hepburn, who sported a short cut and for generations epitomized modern elegance and beauty.

Miss France Beauty Pageant Short Hair
Gilles during the Miss France pageant Saturday.Arnaud Finistre / AFP via Getty Images

Speaking on French television after her victory, the math and computer science student from the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France said she was surprised by the outcry.

“It’s a little different from the misses we’ve known before,” she told TF1 channel. “But yes, it’s changing. People always say that to be a miss, you have to fit into a box. And not at all, you just have to be the way you are.”

She also told the Le Parisien newspaper that she had been body-shamed online for not having a feminine “shape” and for being too thin when the photos of contenders in swimming suits were broadcast.

Gilles told France’s BFMTV that she is choosing to ignore all the hateful comments and focus on her personality and accomplishments, not her looks alone.

“It’s only the critics who focus on my physique,” she said. “Everyone who is with me doesn’t look at my physique. They support me for the person I am, for what I represent and not because I have this body and this haircut.”

NBC News reached out to Miss France organizers for comment.

Some high-profile women in France have come to Gilles’ defense. 

French American actor Beatrice Rosen said Gilles was feminine “despite” her short hair. “Attacking the physical is an attack below the belt,” she wrote in French on X.

French politician Karima Dalli also expressed her support, telling Gilles’ critics to “swallow your venom” and decrying the hate toward her.

Former Miss America Mallory Hagan said it was disheartening for the conversation to be centered around how the new Miss France was choosing to style her hair. 

“Many famous women, from Halle Berry to Charlize Theron, have had pixie cuts over the course of their time in the public eye,” she told NBC News. “I hate to see this conversation about her hair rather than a conversation about what she plans to do with this immense platform that she has been given.”

The pageant is watched every year by millions of people in France and is the oldest-running beauty contest in the country, according to the pageant’s website. Both a jury and viewers determine the winner from the contestants who represent different regions of France and its overseas territories.

On the streets of Paris, people also seemed to be supportive of Gilles. 

“She is gorgeous and she is really gorgeous with her short hair,” Charlotte Cousson said. “I think that this controversy doesn’t make any sense at all because every woman can be beautiful with short or long hair.”


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