Meet Miss France winner at the centre of a bizarre 'woke' row

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

  • Eve Gilles, 20, is the first woman with short hair to win the Miss France pageant
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Miss France winner Eve Gilles has found herself at the centre of a bizarre ‘woke’ row after being the first contestant in history to scoop the prize while sporting a pixie haircut. 

The 20-year-old won the beauty pageant on Saturday night during a televised broadcast that was watched by 7.5m viewers.

The mathematics student – who previously said she cut her hair to make her feel ‘strong’ – appeared visibly emotional as the pageant’s previous winner Indira Ampiot placed the crown on her head. 

In her acceptance speech, the social media star – who boasts 276,000 followers – said her achievement was a ‘win for diversity’.

Describing how ‘every woman is unique’, Eve added: ‘We’re used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair.’

Pictured: Eve Gilles, 20, was crowned Miss France on Saturday night after the judging panel pushed her into first place

However in the hours that followed, Eve’s stylish hair and petite frame sparked backlash from unimpressed viewers – who accused the judges of going ‘woke’ in their decision. 

Although Eve only came third in the public’s vote, her support from the panel of judges pushed her into first place.

But who exactly is Eve Gilles? Here FEMAIL delves into the star’s humble beginnings – and how she waited years to compete in the pageant after being too short to make the cut.

Early life and dropping out of university

Born in February 2003, Eve grew up in the small village of Quaëdypre, which is just a stone’s throw from Dunkirk, in France.

Eve’s mother is from Réunion – an island in the Indian ocean – and met her partner Bruno when she moved to Northern France for work. 

The beauty pageant winner – who also has a younger brother and two older sisters – started dancing from the age of four and is also a keen equestrian. 

Speaking to the French publication Gala, Eve’s father Bruno, who works as a surveyor, said that his daughter has always had an ‘adventurous’ spirit.

Since winning her local beauty competition, Eve has travelled the world competing in pageants 

Eve pictured with her beloved cat Princess Heidi, who has her own Instagram account boasting 200 followers

The proud parent said Eve was ‘very sporty’ but also liked to play in her ‘princess dress and crown and star-studded wand’. 

Meanwhile, Eve’s mother Edith said her daughter was also fascinated by her older sisters Lisa and Lucie’s makeup collections. 

Speaking to The Voice of the North, Eve said: ‘My family is really, really important. It’s my little cocoon.’

Alongside her passions for dance and horse-riding, Eve was also a gifted student – and set her sights on studying medicine at university.

Growing up, Eve was ‘always’ chosen to represent her class and ‘was not afraid’ to stand up to teachers for her peers in school, her father recalled.

After leaving school, Eve embarked on a degree in medicine – but later decided that it wasn’t the route she wanted to go down.

In June 2022, Eve Gilles posted a picture on Instagram of herself posing with an equestrian trophy 

Halfway through the academic year in 2021, Eve returned home and decided to apply for a place on the mathematics course at the University of Lille.

While waiting to pick up her studies again, Eve worked in an egg factory near her parents’ home – which involved doing shifts at all hours of the day.

Bruno told Gala: ‘She insisted on working staggered hours like everyone else.’

On her Instagram account, Eve has previously shared photos from horse-riding competitions she’s competed in.

The star also has an entire Instagram account for her beloved cat Princess Heidi, who is currently being cared for by her parents. 

Rejected from pageant 

During her time working at the factory, Eve decided she would apply for the local Miss Hersin-Coupigny pageant.

In an interview with the French publication The Voice of the North, Eve said she didn’t want to ‘waste’ the year and explained how the pageant appealed as it would give her a ‘lot of opportunities’. 

Eve Gilles, 20, was crowned as Miss France in front of 7.5 million French TV viewers on Saturday night

The star said her grandfather was the one who encouraged her to apply for the pageant. 

According to the publication, Eve – who says she grew up watching the televised pageants –  couldn’t originally apply for the pageant for being too short.

Pageant rules state that contestants must be at least 1.7m (5″6) to compete.

When she originally wanted to apply, Eve measured at 1.695m tall – meaning she narrowly missed out on the minimum height.

However, the star told the French outlet that she was able to just get herself over the threshold by ‘stretching’ in the lead-up to her next application. 

Luckily, this approach seems to have worked and Eve went on to win the local Miss Hersin-Coupigny pageant.

This win then eventually led to competing in Miss France – against 48 other finalists from around the country – after travelling around the globe with the pageant. 

Chopping off her ‘fairytale’ hair

After having long hair as a child and teen, Eve decided to cut it into a pixie cut on a ‘whim’.

During the Miss Nord-Pas-De-Calais competition, Eve discussed her short hair with the judging panel.

Before drastically chopping off her hair, Eve had ‘fairytale’ locks and said her hair went down to her waist

‘We’re used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair,’ a defiant Ms Gilles (pictured) said during the pageant

She is reported to have said: ‘I decided to cut my hair on a whim.

‘It brought something out of me, it changed me and makes me appear more like a strong woman. This is what I want to show.’

According to her father Bruno, Eve had cut her hair short a ‘long time’ before she applied for the competition.

What’s more, Eve previously told The Voice of the North: ‘I cut my hair first for myself, not to be a miss. 

‘Because I wanted myself like that. I see myself as a strong, determined woman, regardless of the size of my hair.’

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)

Eve Gilles (left), is crowned Miss France 2024 by Miss France 2023 Indira Ampiot (right), at the Miss France 2024 beauty pageant in Dijon

In 2020, Eve said she had ‘fairytale’ hair that reached all the way down to her lower back.  

However, the star said she decided to have a drastic haircut as a sign of her ‘independence’.

Speaking during the Miss France pageant, Eve said: ‘We are used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, with beautiful curls. Whereas I don’t. 

‘I chose an androgynous, more masculine side, which nevertheless makes me feminine.’

As the Miss France ceremony drew to a close, Eve joked that the ‘crown would hold very well, even on her short hair’. 

The beauty Queen said that her victory was a win for ‘diversity’, before adding: ‘Every woman is different, we’re all unique.’

Speaking after Eve’s win, the Mayor of Quaëdypre told France Bleu: ‘The whole commune is happy, seeing the reactions of all the people present at the broadcast. 

‘I didn’t sleep much, but we’ll sleep tomorrow. It’s a source of pride, I’m 74 years old and it’s the first time I’ve had a Miss in Quaëdypre.’

Subjected to cruel trolling 

Eve, 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. 

During the Miss France competition, Ms Gilles was criticised for her hair, her ‘lack of shape’ and ‘thinness’ online. 

Speaking to The Voice of the North, Eve admitted: ‘The words and the body shaming that I suffered hurt me.’  

‘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’.

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’. 

The Miss France contestants performed on stage wearing matching bodysuits with golden tassels

Eve Gilles (pictured), 20, from Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern part of the country was crowned Miss France last night in front of 7.5 million TV viewers

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.’

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?’ 

She performed in a black costume with red embellishments during the final of the beauty pageant

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!’

Eve 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.

‘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.’ 

Supporters for Ms Gilles (pictured here during the semi-final) include several French MPs

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.’

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