Before Anedie Azael, before Sarodj Bertin, and before Gerthie David, there was the stunningly beautiful Claudinette Fouchard, Miss Haiti 1960. Ms. Fouchard was made a cover subject of the magazines Jet and Ebony in 1960. Her father was none other than the very respected Jean Fouchard, an anthropologist and writer, and former ambassador to Cuba.
Ms. Fouchard’s beauty was legendary even locally, winning lots of beauty pageants, before being crowned Miss Haiti. Ms. Fouchard left Haiti to study in France and eventually at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She was also a gifted pianist, showcasing her talent in Colombia a the Miss World Sugar pageant, for which she won the title.
A woman of beauty and brains, she could switch from her native Kreyol, to French to Spanish to Italian, among other languages. One of the first known films made in Haiti by Haitians Mais Je Suis Belle, a short directed by Edouard Guibaud, chronicled her participation in the Miss World pageant.
She paved the way for so many Haitian beauty queens, and is the representation of kreyoliciousness, so much so that some like designer Marie Claudinette Pierre of Fusha (also known as Wyclef’s wife), were named after her
Ms. Fouchard practically retired from the social scene, making only occasional appearances, one of which was an appearance at a gathering with Haitian journalist Carl Fombrun, with her husband Reynold Bonnefil. She also blessed the grand opening of the Parc Historique in Haiti with her presence.
Today, she is the benchmark by which all other Haitian beauties are judged. There may be lots of other Miss Haitis to come, but Claudinette Fouchard will always be known as the first.