Miss France winner defends short hair amidst socio-political debate: 'No one should dictate who you are'


20-year-old Eve Gilles from Nord-pas-de-Calais took the national pageant crown while sporting a pixie cut

Éve Gilles being crowned Miss France 2024.
Éve Gilles being crowned Miss France 2024.INSTAGRAM

"She looks nothing like Miss France," is a common refrain on social media about Ève Gilles (20), the representative from Nord-Pas-de-Calais who has just been crowned the most beautiful woman in France. One might wonder what should be the necessary attributes to participate in a contest of these characteristics. The controversy stems from the fact that, for the first time in the 103-year history of the competition, a more "androgynous" representative has been chosen. Gilles sports a pixie cut and doesn't have "traditional" curves. In short, she is at the antipodes of Gisele Bündchen or Kendall Jenner.

Right from the start, Ève was clear about her stance. "No one should dictate who you are... Every woman is different; we're all unique," she confessed after receiving the Miss France 2023 title from Indira Ampiot. Aware of her luck, she let slip that, "we're used to seeing beautiful ladies with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair." In the competition held last Saturday night in Dijon, Ève ranked third in the public vote, but the jury propelled her to the top spot. A total of 7.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the program on television.

The controversy surrounding the traditional concept of beauty is back in the spotlight. Among the public faces who have expressed their support for the winner are MPs Karima Delli (44) and Sandrine Rousseau (51), the latter questioning, "So, in France, in 2023, will we measure progress in respecting women by the length of their hair?" The thoughts of the leader of the Ecologists party, a prominent feminist representative in the country who also sports the pixie style, have become emblematic within the French #MeToo movement.

Given a social event of such magnitude, criticism has flourished under the impunity granted by the anonymity of social networks. Countless individuals have seen Ève Gilles as the perfect figure to champion wokeness. Through X (formerly Twitter), several users expressed that "Miss France is no longer a beauty contest but a woke competition based on inclusion." Another vented hatred by asserting that Ève "looks nothing like a Miss France," someone mentioned that "we don't care about her haircut, but the androgynous body is obviously there to serve the woke agenda," while another comment accused the winner of "instilling woke values into society." Beauty standards are once again under debate.

Amidst all this uproar, Fabien Roussel (54), the national secretary of the Communist Party, has highlighted his support for the winner, stating, "who is already facing the violence of a society that does not accept women defining themselves in all their diversity." Even the far-right leader Marine Le Pen (55) congratulated Gilles on X.

Ève Gilles was born in Dunkirk and has two older sisters. The parents of Miss France 2024, Edith and Bruno, originally from Réunion, revealed to Gala magazine that their daughter "had long hair, but she had already cut it a lot before entering her first regional contest," and with respect to her body commented that "it's her DNA, and the fact that she has been involved in many sports since childhood like horse riding, dancing, athletics... has made her very muscular. And not only does she eat well, but she has a sweet tooth, she loves good food." Miss France 2024 is studying Mathematics and Computer Science Applied to Human and Social Sciences.